December 21, 2020
Graphite Bio Appoints Pharmaceutical Industry Veterans to Board of Directors
– Joseph Jimenez, former CEO of Novartis, joins Board as an independent director
– Perry Karsen, former Celgene executive, assumes Board Chair role
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., December 21, 2020 – Graphite Bio, a next-generation gene editing company focused on therapies that harness targeted DNA integration to treat or cure serious diseases, today announced that it has appointed Joseph Jimenez, the former chief executive officer (CEO) of Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, and Perry Karsen, former CEO of Celgene’s Cellular Therapeutics division, to its board of directors. Perry Karsen has been appointed Board Chair.
“Joe Jimenez and Perry Karsen bring decades of leadership and an unparalleled record of success in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to the Graphite Bio board,” said Josh Lehrer, M.Phil., M.D., chief executive officer at Graphite Bio. “Their unique expertise will be invaluable in helping build an extraordinary company that is dedicated to harnessing ground-breaking science in gene editing to transform the lives of patients.”
Joseph Jimenez, Board Member Profile
Joe Jimenez is the former chief executive officer of Novartis, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies. Mr. Jimenez joined Novartis in 2007 to lead the pharmaceuticals division and was named CEO in 2010. He navigated the company through a period of change following patent expirations of its two largest products. Under his stewardship, Novartis developed one of the largest pipelines of selforiginated drugs in the industry, driven by a strong commitment to research and development. Currently, Mr. Jimenez is co-founder and managing director of Aditum Bio, an investment firm focused on developing biotechnology assets that will benefit patients. He also serves as a board member of General Motors Company and The Proctor & Gamble Company.
“Graphite Bio’s targeted integration approach represents the next generation of gene editing therapies and offers bold promise for addressing human disease. This approach enables the delivery of therapies that have the potential to treat and cure life-threatening inherited disorders, as well as acquired diseases,” said Mr. Jimenez. “With technology that is unleashing the power of gene editing in ways never before possible, Graphite Bio is uniquely positioned to create novel treatments that make a difference in patients’ lives. I am pleased to support the company in this critical endeavor in my new role as a board member.”
Perry Karsen, Board Chair Profile
Perry Karsen brings decades of proven executive leadership and board experience to the Board of Directors at Graphite Bio. Mr. Karsen served as the chief executive officer of the Celgene Cellular Therapeutics division of Celgene Corporation and as executive vice president and chief operations officer of Celgene Corporation. Previously, he was president and CEO of Pearl Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company subsequently acquired by AstraZeneca plc. He also has held executive positions at Human Genome Sciences, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company subsequently acquired by GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Genentech, Inc. (a member of the Roche Group), and Abbott Laboratories. Currently, Mr. Karsen is board chair of Jounce Therapeutics, executive chair of Nitrome Biosciences, and on the board of ESCAPE Bio. Mr. Karsen has previously served as board chair and currently serves as a board member of Intellia Therapeutics until December 31, 2020, and served as a board member of Voyager Therapeutics. He also serves on the Gladstone Foundation Board. In 2019, Mr. Karsen was appointed as a fellow in the Stanford University Distinguished Careers Institute.
Commenting on his appointment as Chair of the Graphite Bio board, Mr. Karsen said, “Graphite Bio has assembled a world-class team to advance the breakthrough scientific discoveries of its founders from the Center for Definitive and Curative Medicine (CDCM) at Stanford University. Their work and collaborations have made possible DNA integration at an unprecedented level of efficiency and precision. The potential for the development of life-saving therapies from the company’s gene editing platform is profound. I am excited to help the company realize the boundless promise of its science and technology for treating disease and transforming lives.”
Bio Graphite Bio is a next-generation gene editing company focused on the development of potentially curative therapies for patients suffering from serious diseases. The company’s targeted DNA integration platform harnesses the natural cellular process of homology directed repair (HDR) to efficiently repair genetic defects at their source, deliver genetic cargo with precision and engineer new cellular effector functions. Graphite Bio is leveraging its differentiated platform, initially focused on ex vivo engineering of hematopoietic stem cells, to advance a portfolio of transformative treatments with potential for saving and dramatically improving patients’ lives. The company was co-founded by academic pioneers in the fields of gene editing and gene therapy, including Maria Grazia Roncarolo, MD, and Matthew Porteus, MD, PhD, and is backed by Versant Ventures and Samsara BioCapital. For more information, please visit www.graphitebio.com.