CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Casebia Therapeutics, the joint venture founded by Bayer and CRISPR
Therapeutics, today announced that James W. Burns, Ph.D. has been
appointed President and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Burns brings to
Casebia Therapeutics nearly 30 years of R&D experience in the
biopharmaceutical industry and a proven track record of leading R&D
organizations that have successfully delivered therapeutics to patients.
Prior to joining Casebia, Dr. Burns spent the bulk of his career at
Sanofi-Genzyme. First joining Genzyme in 1986, he had several leadership
roles with increasing responsibility. Most recently as the Head of
Sanofi’s North American R&D Hub, Dr. Burns was responsible for
coordinating R&D operations across key therapeutic areas.
Dr. Burns is a former board member of MassBio, a member of the U.S.
National Academy of Engineering and is Chair of the External Advisory
Committee for the Biomedical Engineering Department at Boston
University. He served from 1996-1999 as the Industry Representative for
the Food and Drug Administration General and Plastic Surgery Panel.
Dr. Burns earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Purdue
University, and Master of Science and Doctorate degrees in
Bioengineering from the University of Illinois-Chicago, where his thesis
work focused on drug delivery. Following his graduate studies, Dr. Burns
was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Florida.
“Jim is a strategic leader and uniquely qualified to lead Casebia with
expertise spanning a wide range of rare diseases and technology
platforms, and he will provide a great background to build and position
the company as a strong force within the industry,” said Dr. Rodger
Novak, currently Chairman of the Casebia Board and Chief Executive
Officer and Founder of CRISPR Therapeutics. “I would like to thank Dr.
Axel Bouchon for his leadership and commitment to lead the initial
building phase of Casebia, serving as the interim CEO.” Dr. Bouchon will
continue his work as Director of the Board of Casebia.
“Jim has demonstrated comprehensive effectiveness in building and
retaining a premium team of top talents – a quality absolutely crucial
for Casebia,” said Dr. Axel Bouchon, Head of The Bayer Life Science
Center and Interim CEO of Casebia. “We have great expectations and are
convinced that Jim is the perfect leader to execute the mission of this
powerful joint venture by cultivating a strong presence and influence in
the life sciences and biotech communities in Boston and in our San
“I am thrilled to join Casebia and spearhead the company towards
creating novel CRISPR/Cas9-based therapies,” said James W. Burns, Ph.D.
“With access to cutting-edge gene-editing CRISPR/Cas9 technology,
protein engineering expertise, a strong financial foundation, and with
Boston’s incredible network of talent and partners, we have all the
tools needed to create a potentially transformative new class of
therapies for patients.”
In August, Casebia announced a sublease agreement for its primary base
of operations in Cambridge, MA. The headquarters will be approximately
33,000 square feet of laboratory and office space, and will be
co-located with CRISPR Therapeutics. The company will enter its new
location in early 2017. Hiring is underway to fully staff Casebia’s
research and development organization, which has begun research efforts
on its initial therapeutic programs.
About Casebia Therapeutics
Casebia Therapeutics is a novel
joint venture between Bayer and CRISPR Therapeutics, focused on
discovering, developing and commercializing new CRISPR/Cas9-based
breakthrough therapeutics to treat blood disorders, blindness, and heart
disease. Formed in the first quarter of 2016, the company began
operations in the U.S. in August of 2016. Casebia has access to
gene-editing technology from CRISPR Therapeutics in specific disease
areas, as well as access to protein engineering expertise and relevant
disease know-how through Bayer. Casebia is a free-standing entity,
equally owned by Bayer and CRISPR Therapeutics, with its own scientific
leadership and management team. The company’s Board of Directors has
equal composition from Bayer and CRISPR Therapeutics. Casebia’s primary
base of research operations is in Cambridge, MA, with a second site in
San Francisco, CA.
For more information, please visit www.casebia.com.