DURHAM, N.C., July 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Atsena Therapeutics, a clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on bringing the life-changing power of genetic medicine to reverse or prevent blindness, today announced the appointment of Jennifer Wellman to its board of directors. Ms. Wellman, a biotech executive with more than 20 years of gene therapy development experience, will serve as an independent director.

“Jen’s extensive U.S. and EU regulatory expertise and impressive track record in the clinical development of AAV-based gene therapies are valuable to Atsena as we progress cutting-edge gene therapies designed to overcome the hurdles presented by inherited retinal disease,” said Patrick Ritschel, MBA, Chief Executive Officer of Atsena. “We’re thrilled to welcome Jen to Atsena’s board of directors and look forward to leveraging her strategic insights.”

Ms. Wellman is the Chief Operating Officer of Akouos, Inc., a precision genetic medicine company. Prior to Akouos, Ms. Wellman was Head of Product Development Strategy at Spark Therapeutics, Inc., now a subsidiary of Roche Holding AG, where she was also a co-founder. At Spark, she led the regulatory and clinical development for LUXTURNA® from the pre-IND phase through the filings of the marketing applications to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency. Previously, Ms. Wellman was the Director of Regulatory Affairs for the Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; there, she directed multiple AAV preclinical programs and clinical trials for inherited retinal diseases, as well as other therapeutic areas. Earlier in her career, she served as an Associate Scientist at Avigen, Inc. Ms. Wellman received her M.S. from the University of New Haven and B.S. in microbiology and immunology from Queens University (Canada).

“Atsena’s clinical program for LCA1 and novel AAV capsid technology position the company to deliver potential life-changing treatments uniquely suited to prevent or reverse blindness and vision loss,” said Ms. Wellman. “I’m delighted to join Atsena’s board and support the team in the development of therapies for individuals living with inherited retinal diseases.”

Benjamin Yerxa, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Foundation Fighting Blindness, has moved from Atsena’s board of directors to its scientific advisory board.

About Atsena Therapeutics
Atsena Therapeutics is a clinical-stage gene therapy company developing novel treatments for inherited forms of blindness. The company’s ongoing Phase I/II clinical trial is evaluating a potential therapy for one of the most common causes of blindness and vision loss in children. Its additional pipeline of leading preclinical assets is powered by an adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector technology platform tailored to overcome significant hurdles presented by inherited retinal disease, and its unique approach is guided by the specific needs of each patient condition to optimize treatment. Founded by ocular gene therapy pioneers Dr. Shannon Boye and Sanford Boye of the University of Florida, Atsena is based in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, an environment rich in gene therapy expertise. For more information, please visit atsenatx.com.

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