Codiak BioSciences Names Benny Sorensen, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President and Head of Clinical Development
Woburn, Mass., Oct. 13, 2016/PRNewswire/ — Codiak BioSciences Inc., a leading company in the field of exosome biology, today announced the appointment of Benny Sorensen, M.D., Ph.D., as Vice President and Head of Clinical Development. Dr. Sorensen serves on the executive leadership team, reporting to Douglas E. Williams, Ph.D., President and CEO. In this new position, Dr. Sorensen will lead clinical drug-development and medical strategy.
“Benny comes to Codiak at a particularly exciting time as we build broad capabilities and strengthen our management team,” said Dr. Williams. “We will benefit greatly from his experience leading translational research, clinical trials and regulatory affairs.”
Dr. Sorensen joined Codiak from Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, where he was Senior Director of Clinical Research since 2013 leading preclinical as well as clinical, regulatory, medical affairs and commercial development strategies for hematology products. He has more than 15 years of experience in clinical and translational research and management. Before joining Alnylam, Dr. Sorensen was a Global Medical Director at Baxter Healthcare Corporation advancing phase three pivotal development of Adynovate® and Vonvendi®. Prior to Baxter he was the Director of the Haemostasis Research Unit and Honorary Lecturer at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital & King’s College London School of Medicine, where he led basic translational research and advancement of several clinical trials across Phases I, II, and III. Dr. Sorensen has published extensively in hematology translational and clinical research.
“I am thrilled to be joining the Codiak team at a pivitol point in the company’s life,” said Dr. Sorensen. “I believe exosome biology constitutes an exciting platform for a new category of medicines that target hard-to-reach tissues and organs, propelling research for a wide range of diseases with high unmet medical need and lack of effective therapies.”
Exosomes are tiny membrane sacs, or vesicles, that are released by all cells. Virtually all bodily fluids contain exosomes, and it is estimated that there are 1,000 times more exosomes than cells in our bodies. For much of the three decades since their discovery, exosomes were thought to be waste receptacles, eliminating unwanted matter from cells. Exosomes are now known to be an ancient system of intercellular communication, through which they carry various molecules (DNA, RNA, proteins, lipids) from cell to cell, and once inside the receiving cell change its biology. Moreover, exosomes do not randomly distribute; they appear to seek specific cellular targets, offering the potential to deliver diverse therapies to specific cells, modulating their function to achieve therapeutic benefit. Codiak BioSciences seeks to take advantage of the natural propensity of exosomes to transmit macromolecule payloads between cells.
Codiak, founded in 2015, is a leader in the rapidly developing field of exosome biology. The company was formed on the basis of research from Flagship VentureLabs; the research of Jan Lotvall, M.D. Ph.D., Chairman of the Krefting Research Centre at University of Gothenburg, Sweden; and from the seminal work of Raghu Kalluri, M.D., at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Codiak was founded by an investor syndicate led by ARCH Venture Partners and Flagship Ventures, with participation by Fidelity Management and Research Company, the Alaska Permanent Fund and Alexandria Venture Investments.