Editas Medicine Names Gilmore O’Neill as CEO

Edward Kim  |

Image source: Editas Medicine

Editas Medicine ( EDIT) announced Thursday the appointment of Gilmore O'Neill, MB, MMSc, as its new President and CEO effective June 1, 2022.

Current CEO Jim Mullen, who only took the reins in February 2021, will stay on as Executive Chairman of Editas Medicine's board of directors. 

Dr. O'Neill was most recently the Chief Medical Officer at Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) and previously held several leadership roles at Biogen over a 15-year period, most recently serving as Senior Vice President responsible for all late-stage clinical development.

He has achieved marketing approvals for several medicines, including Amondys, Vyondys, Spinraza, Plegridy and Tecfidera.

"Clearly, one of the things that's been missing from [Editas Medicines] is this very experienced, accomplished drug development background that can connect the medicine with the science," said Mullen in an interview with BioPharma Dive. "[O'Neill] is exactly the profile we need at this moment in time."

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Investment thesis

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Editas stock has tumbled 77% from its September 2021 peak of $73.03, closing Thursday at $16.67 for a market capitalization of just $1.1 billion.

Investors can't be blamed for their hesitancy in getting back into the stock at these levels. The company reported its first clinical data from its lead candidate, EDIT-101, last fall, and the results underwhelmed investors. Additionally, the company has experienced a high degree of turnover at the senior management level.

There are reasons for investors to be optimistic, however, about this genome editing company:

  • The company has a differentiated gene editing and delivery technology.
  • Editas has what may be the strongest intellectual property portfolio in all of CRISPR gene editing with over 220 issued patents and over 800 applications pending.
  • Editas achived in vivo proof of concept in 2021 and expects proof of concept of its ex vivo platform in 2022.
  • The company has an existing clinical partnership with Bristol Myers Squibb encompassing six different programs, and the pipeline presents multiple opportunities for additional partnerships.
  • Editas had $620 million in cash and equivalents as of Dec. 31, 2021, enough to carry it through 2023.
  • The new CEO, O'Neill, has significant, relevant experience in drug development and commercialization.

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Source: Equities News

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