Rocket Pharmaceuticals Announces Leadership Expansion to Support Company on Evolution Towards Commercial Stage
Rocket Pharmaceuticals, a leading late-stage biotechnology company advancing an integrated and sustainable pipeline of genetic therapies for rare disorders with high unmet need, has announced the expansion of its leadership team to support its growing and industry-leading pipeline of AAV and LV gene therapy assets and evolution towards commercial stage. Jonathan Schwartz, M.D., Rocket’s founding Chief Medical Officer, has been appointed to the newly created position of Chief Gene Therapy Officer to expand the Company’s focus on the strategic application of gene therapy technologies to current and future therapeutic areas. In addition, Mark White, MB.ChB, joins Rocket as Chief Medical Officer following more than 25 years at AstraZeneca where he gained deep expertise in late-stage drug development and commercialization across small and large molecules, vaccines and therapeutic areas including rare diseases.
“Today’s news represents another exciting and important step forward in our leadership team as we make meaningful strides in our evolution towards commercial stage, adding deep late-stage development expertise and commercial experience to our team along with intensified focus on applying our technologies and successes to date across our pipeline,” said Gaurav Shah, M.D, Chief Executive Officer, Rocket Pharma. “Jonathan’s exceptional scientific and clinical thought leadership will help unlock the full potential of gene therapy platforms for our pipeline and help advance the industry at large. At the same time, I am excited to welcome Mark as CMO who brings an extensive track record of success and deep insight in leading late-stage drug development and execution; he arrives at the perfect time in our growth. Taken together, with Jonathan, Mark and the rest of our exceptionally experienced and talented leadership team, we are well positioned to actively usher in the next stage of Rocket Pharma.”
Dr. Schwartz joined Rocket as Chief Medical Officer in 2016 and has been instrumental in crafting and advancing our six disclosed gene therapy programs with compelling clinical and/or preclinical proof of concept. As Chief Gene Therapy Officer, Dr. Schwartz will oversee research, deepen relationships with external collaborators, and offer a pointed focus on clinical strategy and pipeline expansion.
“With the great strides we have made at Rocket, we are at an opportune time to enhance our focus on gene therapy research and deepen our pipeline even further,” said Dr. Schwartz. “As Chief Gene Therapy Officer, I am excited to reinforce Rocket’s gene therapy leadership position and look forward to partnering closely with Mark and our extended team to advance current and future programs for the benefit of patients, the healthcare system, and the ability of science to enrich our world.”
Dr. White most recently served as Global Franchise Head, Respiratory and Inflammation at AstraZeneca and brings expertise in clinical development, global regulatory submissions, and commercial and business strategy. Among his prior positions, Dr. White was the program lead for multiple innovative medicines leading them through late-stage development, approvals and launches around the globe, including Myalept (metreleptin) at the time of U.S. approval and launch for the ultra-rare condition of generalized lipodystrophy, Saphnelo (anifrolumab) for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and the influenza vaccine portfolio at MedImmune. In prior roles, Dr. White held positions in global marketing, portfolio strategy, clinical development in the design and delivery of clinical pharmacology trials and as a late-stage clinical lead for multiple Phase 3 trials and regulatory submissions.
“Rocket has delivered tangible success, advancing its rich pipeline of hematology and cardiology assets, and I am eager to apply my experience in late-stage drug development to bring the remarkable clinical results to patients in a commercial setting,” said Dr. White. “I look forward to joining the team at this exciting time as Rocket makes meaningful strides in realizing gene therapy’s potential for rare disease patients around the world.”
Dr. White obtained his MB.ChB at the University of Manchester School of Medicine and is a Member of the Royal College of Physicians in the UK, a Fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists in the UK and a Member of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians.
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