CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 04, 2022
eGenesis, a gene-editing and genome-engineering company developing human-compatible organs and cells, today announced the appointment of Eliezer Katz, M.D., FACS, as Chief Medical Officer (CMO).
“We believe Dr. Katz is an ideal fit for eGenesis because of both his clinical experience as a transplant surgeon and his successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, leading the development of therapeutics in transplant and immunology,” said Paul Sekhri, President and Chief Executive Officer of eGenesis. “His knowledge and expertise have the potential to help us accelerate our progress into clinical trials for our human-compatible organs and cells.”
Dr. Katz is an experienced transplant surgeon and a leader of clinical development in the pharmaceutical industry. He oversaw the development of therapeutics to modulate the immune system in autoimmune diseases and organ transplantation. Most recently, he was Vice President, Clinical Development at Horizon Therapeutics following its acquisition of Viela Bio, Inc. At Horizon and Viela, Dr. Katz led the clinical development of inebilizumab, including the regulatory submission and approval of UPLIZNA® (inebilizumab) to treat neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder in adults.
Prior to his tenure at Viela and Horizon, Dr. Katz served as Senior Director of Clinical Development at MedImmune Inc. where he oversaw the clinical development of three different biologics. Before that, Dr. Katz served as the Senior Director of Transplantation with the Medicine Development Group at Pfizer, Inc. At Pfizer, he worked across business divisions to oversee multiple research programs with rapamycin, an anti-rejection drug, strengthening his relationships with the medical and surgical transplant community, and conducting key advisory boards. Dr. Katz participated in the planning of Phase 3 clinical trials for tofacitinib, a JAK3 inhibitor and a novel immunosuppressive drug. He was instrumental in the regulatory submission and FDA approval in 2015 of rapamycin as a treatment for lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), a rare and fatal lung disease.
Dr. Katz’s first position in the pharmaceutical industry was at CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services where he served as the VP of Medical Affairs and supported all stages of drug development and clinical trials in transplantation, immunology, and other related areas.
Before joining industry, Dr. Katz had an almost two-decade career as a transplant surgeon, including the directorship of two transplantation programs. He was director of the abdominal transplantation division at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City, and an associate professor of surgery and the director of the liver transplantation division at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, MA. In both positions Dr. Katz implemented techniques related to liver transplantation and was actively involved with policy making in organ donation and allocation.
Dr. Katz earned his M.D. at Hadassah Hebrew University Medical School in Jerusalem. “As a transplant surgeon and drug developer, I have seen the huge impact that organ transplantation can have on patients’ lives,” said Dr. Katz. “However, I have also seen the despair of patients who would benefit from a transplant but are unable to access the life-saving surgery due to the significant shortage of available organs. eGenesis’ human compatible organ and cell platform has the potential to address this shortage and radically improve how we treat organ failure. I look forward to working with the eGenesis team to make this mission a reality.”
About Transplantation and Xenotransplantation
The demand for lifesaving organs far outnumbers available supply. In the U.S. alone, more than 100,000 people are on the national transplant list. Twenty people die every day due to lack of available organs for transplant and every 10 minutes, a new name is added to the national transplant waitlist.
The concept of xenotransplantation (the transplantation of organs and cells from one species to another) has been explored for decades, with the pig considered the most suitable donor for humans. However, virology and immunology hurdles prevented the field from advancing beyond early preclinical research. With the advent of cutting-edge gene editing technologies, addressing these historical challenges is now within reach.
eGenesis’ goal is to transform the field of transplantation by offering safe and effective organs and cells to patients in need. The company harnesses gene editing technology including CRISPR to address the key issues that have impeded xenotransplantation to date. eGenesis’ development pipeline includes lead programs for kidney and islet cell transplant as well as earlier-stage programs focused on other solid organs. Learn more at egenesisbio.com.