October 18, 2021 – New York City-based recruitment firm Occam Global has placed Emile Nuwaysir as president, chief executive officer and member of the board of directors of gene therapy company Ensoma. In conjunction with the CEO appointment, Ensoma executive chairman Paula Soteropoulos will transition to the role of chairman of the board, and Kush M. Parmar, managing partner of 5AM ventures, will continue to serve as a member of the board.
“Since launching Ensoma earlier this year, we have assembled a talented and diverse group of academic, scientific and clinical experts, initiated a strategic partnership with Takeda and have made significant progress on our platform and initial programs,” said Ms. Soteropoulos. “Now, we are thrilled to welcome Emile to lead the team as we advance our platform and expand our strategic focus across multiple therapeutic areas ranging from rare genetic diseases to complex diseases of the immune system, such as oncology and autoimmunity disorder.” She added: “With more than 20 years of industry experience, a deep understanding of the gene and cell therapy landscape and as an entrepreneur with a track record for building successful life science companies from the ground up, Emile will be a tremendous asset to Ensoma as we seek to fully realize the power and promise of our platform to precisely edit and modify a patient’s own specific cells with a one-time in vivo curative medicine.”
Dr. Nuwaysir is currently chairman of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, an international advocacy organization comprised of 400-plus member companies dedicated to advancing cell and gene medicines. He joins Ensoma from BlueRock Therapeutics, an independently operated subsidiary of Bayer Pharmaceuticals, where he was CEO and continues to serve as chairman of the board of directors. As CEO of BlueRock from inception, he helped build a platform company at the intersection of cellular and genetic medicine, develop a pipeline of first-in-class therapeutic programs, and managed the company’s acquisition and operation with Bayer.
Prior to BlueRock, Dr. Nuwaysir served as president and chief operating officer of Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), a Fujifilm Company. He played a leading role in growing CDI and its stem cell therapy efforts from its inception, including its early efforts as a pre-revenue startup, to its successful IPO on Nasdaq and ultimate acquisition by Fujifilm. He was also president of Opsis Therapeutics Inc., CDI’s retinal cell therapy subsidiary. Before CDI, Dr. Nuwaysir was the first employee of NimbleGen Systems, serving as a member of the senior management team that built a successful company and orchestrated a dual-track IPO process leading to the company’s acquisition by Roche Diagnostics. After the acquisition of NimbleGen, Dr. Nuwaysir was chief technical officer of the Roche NimbleGen subsidiary.
“I am simply thrilled to join Ensoma,” said Dr. Nuwaysir. “The company is poised to deliver on the full promise of genetic medicine, with the ability to precisely engineer the cells of the hematopoietic system through a single, simple, in vivo process. The elegance of the platform, combined with its unprecedented payload capacity, will enable applications of genetic medicine that are simply undreamed of today. We will create an entire new class of smart immune cells with the power to provide cures for hundreds of genetic diseases, as well as complex diseases like cancer and autoimmunity.”
Boston-based Ensoma is a gene therapy company that advances medicine through precision in vivo engineering of blood and immune cells. Founded in 2019, the company’s Engenious gene therapy platform is the first to precisely engineer any or all hematopoietic and immune cells with a one-time, off-the-shelf in vivo treatment. Ensoma is supported by top-tier investors, a strategic collaboration with Takeda and a passionate team committed to a bold, global vision for gene therapy.
Another Key Placement
Also this month, Occam placed David Lynch as chief business officer of Menlo Park, CA-based Strateos, a pioneer in the development of remote access laboratories and lab control software for life science discovery.
Prior to his new role, Mr. Lynch was vice president of business development at Premier Research, a global clinical research organization, where he was tasked to develop, and implement commercial strategies to drive growth.
Founded in 2012 by William Holodnak, Occam Global offers a strategic approach to senior-level recruiting and organizational development. The firm employs a disciplined and comprehensive method for the sourcing, selection, and integration of executive leaders, involving in-depth research and rigorous due diligence. In addition, Occam Global provides sophisticated advice on organizational structure and development at the C-suite and board levels.
Mr. Holodnak established his reputation by starting, building, and running an international search firm servicing leading companies and entrepreneurial organizations in the asset management, financial services, global health and biotechnology sectors throughout Asia, North America, and Europe. Prior to founding Occam, Mr. Holodnak created J. Robert Scott, a multinational executive search firm under the umbrella of Fidelity Investments. He specializes in recruiting C-level executives and board of director searches for the financial services and healthcare sectors, with clients including MIT, Ameriprise, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, AstraZeneca, Venrock, New Enterprise Associates, and SingHealth.
John Holodnak is Occam Global’s president. He specializes in healthcare executive recruiting and technology executive recruiting, calling on nearly a decade of experience in C-level executive search and his extensive experience in the financial services sector. Mr. Holodnak previously worked as an equity analyst at Crédit Agricole, a fixed-income analyst at Western Asset Management, and a currency trader on Wall Street.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media