CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pandion Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company developing bispecific antibody therapeutics to achieve localized immunomodulation for autoimmune diseases and transplantation, today announced that Rahul Kakkar, MD, FACC, has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer and joins the Board of Directors. Dr. Kakkar is a biotech entrepreneur and physician-scientist, most recently serving as a founding executive at Corvidia Therapeutics. He joins Pandion as the company advances to the development stage and is nearing the clinic with its first antibody candidates. He succeeds Anthony J. Coyle, PhD, who is a founder of Pandion, led the company through its early stage, Series A funding and development of its R&D strategy, and will be leaving the company in the transition.
Pandion announced additional leadership appointments that further support the company’s next stage of growth. Jo Viney, PhD, a founder of the company, is promoted to President and Chief Scientific Officer, from her previous role as Chief Scientific Officer in which she was instrumental in advancing Pandion’s discovery pipeline, R&D organization and corporate strategy. Vikas Goyal joins Pandion as Senior Vice President of Business Development, bringing expertise in strategy, financing and deal making from his previous roles at SR One, Extera Partners, and McKinsey & Company.
“Pandion has reached its next stage of growth with an emerging pipeline of novel immune modulators, and Rahul has the strong leadership skills and company-building expertise to guide Pandion as it transitions to a clinical-stage company,” said Alan Crane, Entrepreneur Partner at Polaris Partners and Chairman of the Board and founder of Pandion. “I also want to acknowledge and thank Tony Coyle for his many contributions and the progress he has achieved in leading Pandion through its early stages of growth to the cusp of the clinic. We wish him success in his future endeavors.”
Mr. Crane continued, “As we look ahead to Pandion's future evolution and opportunities, we know that a strong leadership team is vital, and we are delighted about the other management appointments we announced today. Jo Viney’s promotion to President and Chief Scientific Officer reflects her stellar achievements in building Pandion’s highly productive R&D team and discovery pipeline, and we have tremendous confidence in the future progress she will achieve for Pandion’s antibody therapeutics and for the patients they will help. In addition, we are thrilled to add Vikas Goyal to Pandion’s leadership team as he brings a wealth of business development strategy and deal making expertise that will be a key driver for the company’s success. Also, Vikas has deep familiarity with Pandion as he led the SROne investment in the company and has served on the board since the series A financing.”
Rahul Kakkar, MD
Dr. Kakkar brings to Pandion nearly 20 years of professional experience, spanning founding and building biotechnology companies, as well as working as a practicing physician. Most recently, he served as an executive at Corvidia Therapeutics where he was a founder, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Strategy Officer, guiding the company from seed stage through Series B and its lead asset through clinical proof of concept. Previously, he was Director for Emerging Innovations at AstraZeneca, responsible for preclinical through Phase 2 clinical studies both for compounds within the AstraZeneca pipeline and in support of compound out-licensing efforts. Dr. Kakkar has also served as an advisor to life sciences venture firms. He continues to practice medicine as Associate Physician at Brigham and Woman’s Hospital and is a Lecturer in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Kakkar is dual-trained via the American Board of Internal Medicine Fast Track program in molecular biology and clinical cardiology. He received his BA from Tufts University and MD from the Tufts School of Medicine.
“I am excited to join Pandion as the company evolves to bring its pipeline of bispecific antibodies to the clinic with the goal of making a meaningful impact for patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases,” said Dr. Kakkar. “I look forward to working with Jo Viney to continue to advance Pandion's pipeline and with the rest of the team as we plan to take the company into the future.”
Jo Viney, PhD
Dr. Viney is a co-founder of Pandion and has led the company’s R&D as Chief Scientific Officer. She has more than 20 years of experience as an entrepreneurial scientist and biotech executive with deep autoimmune and inflammatory disease area expertise. A self-described “drug-hunter,” she has successfully advanced a large number of small molecule and large molecule programs into the clinic. Previously, Dr. Viney worked at Biogen where she was Senior Vice President, Drug Discovery and a member of the senior R&D leadership team, and before that served as Vice President, Immunology Research and was responsible for building and advancing the company’s immunology portfolio. Earlier in her career, she held R&D leadership positions in inflammation research at Amgen and Immunex and was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Genentech. Dr. Viney serves on the Board and is a past president of the Society for Mucosal Immunology (SMI) and a member of the American Society of Immunologists (AAI). She is active in organizations that promote careers for women and minorities in science and serves on the Board and is past president of the local non-profit, Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology (WEST). She serves on the Board of Directors for Quench Therapeutics and CaroGen Corp and on the Scientific Advisory Board for HotSpot Therapeutics. Dr. Viney received her BSc from the University of East London and her PhD from St. Bartholomew’s Hospital at The University of London.
Mr. Goyal brings more than 15 years of experience in business strategy, financing and business development for biotechnology companies. Most recently, he served as a Principal of SR One, the corporate venture capital arm of GlaxoSmithKline, where he invested in multiple autoimmune disease focused companies including Morphic Therapeutics (Nasdaq: MORF), River Vision Development (acquired by Horizon), and Pandion. Mr. Goyal is a member of the Board of Directors of Morphic Therapeutics. Previously, Mr. Goyal was a Consultant at McKinsey & Co, a co-founder of Extera Partners and a Business Development Manager at Infinity Pharmaceuticals. He is a member of the Kauffman Fellows Society. Mr. Goyal earned an MBA in Health Care Management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in neurobiology from Harvard University.
Pandion Therapeutics is a biotechnology company developing bispecific antibody therapeutics to achieve localized immunomodulation at the site of disease for durable, tissue-specific treatment, while avoiding the systemic immunosuppression of conventional medicines. The company’s proprietary technology platform enables the design of bispecific antibodies with targeting fragments that bind to specific tissues at the local site of inflammatory disease, coupled with effector molecules that modulate immune activity to restore immune homeostasis. With its robust antibody platform, Pandion is developing a pipeline for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and transplantation, with an initial focus on diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, liver, kidney, pancreas, and skin.
Pandion was founded in 2017 and is funded by a strong syndicate of venture investors. The company is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Please visit www.pandiontx.com.