Paris, France, October 25, 2017, 7.30am CET – GenSight Biologics (Euronext: SIGHT, ISIN: FR0013183985, PEA-PME eligible), a biopharma company that discovers and develops innovative gene therapies for neurodegenerative retinal diseases and diseases of the central nervous system, announced it has appointed Barrett Katz, M.D., M.B.A., as Chief Medical Officer, effective November 1, 2017. Dr. Katz replaces Mohamed Genead, M.D., who resigned from the position for personal reasons.
He brings extensive years of experience from both academic medicine and the industry as a neuro- ophthalmologist, including his most recent role as Professor of Ophthalmology, Neurology and Neurosurgery at Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
Dr. Katz will oversee clinical development and medical affairs at GenSight Biologics. He will be part of the Executive Committee and will report directly to Bernard Gilly, PhD, Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Katz will be based in New York.
“Barrett’s tremendous experience as both a recognized clinician and a seasoned biotech executive is a fantastic addition to the senior management team at GenSight,” said Dr. Gilly. “As we are now 6 months away from first Phase III topline results, he will play a central role in moving GS010 forward to regulatory filing in Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. Barrett will also be instrumental in leading clinical development of GS030 as we move to the clinic in Retinitis Pigmentosa later this year.”
Prior to joining Montefiore and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Katz had been engaged in the biotech industry and drug development space for several years. He served as Chief Executive Officer of Danube Pharmaceuticals, Chief Medical Officer of Fovea Pharmaceuticals and Vice President of Medical Affairs and Strategy at Eyetech, which brought the first medical therapy for macular degeneration to market. Prior to that, he had a distinguished career in academia, recently as Francis DeJur Chair of Ophthalmology and Executive Director of the Office of Clinical Trials at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In over 35 years, Dr. Katz has earned a reputation as a gifted clinician and teacher, an accomplished researcher, as well as a seasoned biotech executive. He also served as co-director of a joint fellowship in ophthalmologic drug development co-sponsored by George Washington University and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Dr. Katz received his medical degree from Case-Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He completed an internship in medicine at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, served as a research staff associate in neuro-virology at the National Institutes of Health, and completed residencies at Harvard University and Tufts-New England Medical Center in neurology and ophthalmology, respectively. He completed fellowships at Harvard and at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Katz obtained an M.B.A. from the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business, and has served on the faculties of the University of California at San Diego and San Francisco, the University of Rochester, Cornell University and New York University.
Dr. Katz has authored numerous articles published in peer reviewed journals, and he has served as chairman of the board for several professional societies, including the Center for Ophthalmology Research and Education and the World Eye Mission Foundation.
“I am delighted and honored to be joining the GenSight team as it reaches maturity and progresses towards successful completion of two Phase 3 trials in LHON,” said Dr. Katz. “GenSight’s mitochondrial targeting sequence technology and its application to inherited blindness opens the door to gene replacement therapies in neurodegenerative diseases more widely, offering the opportunity for meaningful therapies where none currently exist.”
About GenSight Biologics
GenSight Biologics S.A. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company discovering and developing novel therapies for neurodegenerative retinal diseases and diseases of the central nervous system. GenSight Biologics’ pipeline leverages two core technology platforms, the Mitochondrial Targeting Sequence (MTS) and optogenetics for retinitis pigmentosa, to help preserve or restore vision in patients suffering from severe degenerative retinal diseases. GenSight Biologics’ lead product candidate, GS010, is in Phase III trials in Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON), a rare mitochondrial disease that leads to irreversible low vision and legal blindness in teens and young adults. Using its gene therapy-based approach, GenSight Biologics’ product candidates are designed to be administered in a single treatment to each eye by intravitreal injection to offer patients a sustainable functional visual recovery.