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  • Mass General Brigham Ventures

Affinia Therapeutics Strengthens Leadership Team with Appointment of Diana M. Brainard, MD, to Board

Affinia Therapeutics, an innovative gene therapy company with a proprietary platform for rationally-designed adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapies for rare and prevalent devastating diseases, today announced the appointment of Diana M. Brainard, M.D. to its board of directors. Dr. Brainard brings over two decades of experience working in both the healthcare sector and academia.

“Diana is a senior leader in the biopharma industry with a passion for advancing therapies for devastating diseases and a proven track record of developing and commercializing life-saving drugs emerging from innovative technologies,” said Rick Modi, chief executive officer of Affinia Therapeutics. "As we continue to advance our next-generation gene therapies for patients with neurologic and neuro-oncologic diseases into the clinic, we look forward to leveraging Diana’s expertise in clinical development, regulatory strategy, and successful commercial launches.”

Dr. Brainard has over 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and academic medicine. She currently serves as chief executive officer and member of the board of directors of AlloVir, a biotech company developing allogeneic, off-the-shelf, virus-specific T-cell therapies to prevent and treat life-threatening viral diseases. She also sits on the board of directors of Nektar Therapeutics. Previously, Dr. Brainard spent over a decade at Gilead Sciences, where she served as head of the virology therapeutic area and oversaw the development and launch of the hepatitis C treatments Sovaldi, Harvoni, and Epclusa and the HIV treatment Biktarvy. In 2020, she led the company-wide initiative at Gilead to rapidly advance Veklury (remdesivir), the first antiviral to receive regulatory approval for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Those efforts earned her global recognition as one of the most influential people in the fight against COVID-19. Dr. Brainard began her career in the biopharma industry at Merck & Co. where she held positions in clinical pharmacology and experimental medicine.

“I am thrilled to join Affinia Therapeutics’ board of directors at this transformational time as the company progresses its lead gene therapy program toward IND,” said Dr. Brainard. “I have spent my career focused on improving the lives of people with devastating diseases, and I look forward to partnering with Affinia’s exceptional leadership team in pursuit of our goal of bringing rationally-designed gene therapies to people with neurologic and neuro-oncologic diseases.”

Dr. Brainard received an M.D. from Tulane University School of Medicine and a B.A. in comparative literature from Brown University. After completing her residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, she served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School where she conducted NIH-funded research focused on HIV immunology and T-cell trafficking.

About Affinia Therapeutics

Affinia Therapeutics is pioneering a shift to a new class of rationally-designed gene therapies that treat rare and prevalent diseases. Affinia Therapeutics’ proprietary Affinia Rationally-designed Therapeutics (ART) platform consists of three pillars intended to synergistically improve the efficacy, safety, and manufacturability of AAV-based gene therapies through the development of next-generation capsids, promoters, and manufacturing approaches. Affinia Therapeutics’ current pipeline consists of five programs in the neurology, neuro-oncology, muscle, and lung therapeutic areas, and spans gene replacement, vectorized antibody, and gene editing modalities. For more information, visit

Source: BioSpace

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