Casebia Therapeutics Expands Leadership Team

Joint venture between CRISPR Therapeutics and Bayer fills three key leadership roles in pursuit of breakthrough medicines

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Casebia Therapeutics, the joint venture founded by Bayer and CRISPR Therapeutics, today announced the addition of three new members to its leadership team. Ellen Ridge has joined as Senior Vice President of Operations; Abraham Scaria, Ph.D., has joined as Vice President of Ophthalmology; and in July, Andrew M. Scharenberg, M.D., will join as Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President of Hematology. These additions reflect Casebia’s ongoing commitment to transform the lives of patients with a wide range of inherited diseases.

“Ellen, Abraham, and Andy all bring deep expertise and talent in critical areas,” said James W. Burns, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Casebia. “Given our ambitious objectives, I am confident in these new executives’ abilities to push this vital research and further scale our company in our quest to help patients.”

Casebia was founded to harness the potential of CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology and develop new medicines for people with inherited diseases. The company is concentrating its early efforts on making an impact in the areas of ophthalmology, non-malignant hematology, and autoimmune disease, followed by cardiovascular disease and hearing loss. The addition of these three senior leaders, with their diverse talents and expertise, will help move those research programs closer to human clinical trials.

Ridge is a seasoned executive and veteran of the Cambridge biotechnology community. She joins Casebia from Intarcia Therapeutics Inc., where she served as Vice President for the Project Management Office. Ridge spent more than 20 years at Genzyme, where she rose through several different management positions before becoming Vice President of Enterprise Risk Management. In this role, Ridge designed and implemented Genzyme’s initial enterprise risk management process. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Massachusetts and holds a Master in Business Administration from Bentley University. In her role as Senior Vice President of Operations, Ridge will leverage her extensive experience with drug development, general management, and matrix management.

Scaria has more than 20 years of experience in gene therapy, ranging from discovery research to clinical trials. For much of his career Scaria has specialized in viral vectors and ocular gene therapy, having served as Senior Scientific Director of Gene Therapy and Ophthalmology at Genzyme, and subsequently Sanofi. He most recently served as Head of Gene Therapy Research at Sanofi. He earned his Master of Science from the University of Bombay, India and his doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from Indiana University School of Medicine. As Vice President for Ophthalmology, Scaria will oversee Casebia’s efforts to develop breakthrough therapies for inherited retinal diseases.

Scharenberg—who will join Casebia on July 1—is a widely respected physician-scientist with expertise in gene therapy and gene editing. Currently, Scharenberg is an attending physician at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Principal Investigator in the Center for Immunity and Immunotherapies at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. In addition, he also serves as Co-director of the Program in Cell and Gene Therapy at Seattle Children’s Hospital, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics and adjunct professor in the Department of Immunology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and a member of the Transplantation Biology Consortium Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He earned his Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Indiana University and his medical degree from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. As Chief Scientific Officer, Scharenberg will direct research strategy and innovation. Additionally, he will lead Casebia’s hematology research group.

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 the genetic causes of bleeding disorders, autoimmune disease, blindness, hearing loss, 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.

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