FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pure Communications, Inc.
Genetix Pharmaceuticals Renamed bluebird bio;
Announces Appointment of Nick Leschly as Chief Executive Officer
Cambridge, Mass. – September 9, 2010 – bluebird bio, an emerging leader in the development of innovative gene therapies for severe genetic disorders, today announced that it has changed the company name from Genetix Pharmaceuticals, Inc., to bluebird bio, Inc., effective immediately. In addition, bluebird bio has also announced that Nick Leschly, formerly interim president of bluebird bio and partner of Third Rock Ventures, has been appointed the company’s president and chief executive officer.
“I am excited to lead the exceptional team we have assembled at bluebird bio,” said Mr. Leschly. “This has been a year of change and forward momentum for the company with the successful completion of the Series B financing in March, positive patient data for both our ALD and beta-thalassemia programs and the addition of several senior leaders to the team. This name change exemplifies our intent to set a new, bold course for the future. The Eastern Bluebird is known to be a symbol of transition and renewal as well as a competitive and disciplined bird – all traits that are well aligned with our culture and passion for transforming the lives of patients and their families.”
Mr. Leschly brings a wealth of industry experience to bluebird bio. A partner of Third Rock Ventures since its founding in 2007, he became the interim president of bluebird bio in March 2010 in conjunction with Third Rock’s investment in the company’s Series B round. Mr. Leschly has played an integral role in the identification, formation and business strategy of several of Third Rock’s portfolio companies. Mr. Leschly serves on the board of directors of Edimer Pharmaceuticals and was the former interim chief business officer of Agios Pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining Third Rock, he worked at Millennium Pharmaceuticals leading several early stage drug development programs and was the product and alliance leader for VELCADE™. Mr. Leschly was also the founder and CEO of MedXtend Corporation. He holds a B.S. in molecular biology from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from Wharton Business School. Mr. Leschly is the founder and chairman of The CAVU Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to improving the health of underprivileged children.
“Nick has been a tremendous addition to bluebird bio and has the unique blend of operational experience, vision, passion and strategic insights necessary to lead the company forward as we prepare for a number of important clinical and business milestones,” said Geert-Jan Mulder, M.D., member of the bluebird bio board and general partner at Forbion Capital Partners. “We believe bluebird bio is well positioned to transform the current treatment paradigm for severe genetic disorders with its innovative gene therapy platform and robust clinical development programs.”
In conjunction with Mr. Leschly’s appointment as CEO, Robert Tepper, M.D., partner at Third Rock Ventures, will join bluebird bio’s board of directors on behalf of Third Rock. Dr. Tepper is a distinguished scientist with over 25 years of experience building and operating leading R&D operations. He co-founded Third Rock Ventures in 2007. Prior to joining Third Rock, Dr. Tepper was president of R&D at Millennium Pharmaceuticals and was vital in its expansion from a drug discovery company to a fully-integrated biopharmaceutical company. Prior to Millennium, he co-founded Cell Genesys/Abgenix. Dr. Tepper holds an A.B. in biochemistry from Princeton University and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He serves as an adjunct faculty member at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital and is an advisory board member of several leading health care institutions including the Partners HealthCare Center for Personalized Genetic Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Tufts Medical School. Dr. Tepper is a board member of Cerulean Pharmaceuticals and Constellation Pharmaceuticals, and is also on the board of overseers at Tufts University.
About bluebird bio
bluebird bio is developing innovative gene therapies for severe genetic disorders. At the heart of bluebird bio’s product creation efforts is its broadly applicable gene therapy platform for the development of novel treatments for diseases with few or no clinical options. The company’s novel approach uses stem cells harvested from the patient’s bone marrow into which a healthy version of the disease causing gene is inserted. After being grown in culture, those cells are given back to the patient. bluebird bio’s approach represents a true paradigm shift in the treatment of severe genetic diseases by eliminating the potential complications associated with donor cell transplantation and potentially presenting a one-time transformative therapy. bluebird bio has two later stage clinical products in development for childhood cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy (CCALD) and beta-thalassemia/sickle cell anemia. Led by a world-class team, bluebird bio is privately held and backed by top-tier life sciences investors, including Third Rock Ventures, TVM Capital, Forbion Capital Partners, Easton Capital and Genzyme Ventures. Its operations are located in Cambridge, Mass. and Paris, France. For more information, please visit www.bluebirdbio.com.