A world-class management team experienced in gene therapy, rare disease drug development and commercialization, and biologics manufacturing.
Edward Conner, M.D. is Astellas Gene Therapies Site Lead and Division Head of Gene Therapy Medical & Development and is responsible for leading the global clinical development strategy for Astellas Gene Therapies. He oversees clinical development, clinical operations, regulatory affairs, medical affairs, and patient advocacy. Dr. Conner brings more than 10 years of industry leadership experience in early and late stage clinical development across a broad range of disease areas, including rare diseases.
Dr. Conner joined Astellas Gene Therapies (formerly Audentes Therapeutics) from Sangamo Therapeutics, Inc. where he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer and led the clinical development of the company’s pipeline of genomic therapies. Prior to Sangamo, Ed served as Vice President, Global Clinical Development at Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc. where he led the global clinical development efforts for two of the company’s rare disease product candidates. Previously, Ed served as Senior Medical Director at BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. where he led clinical development and regulatory interactions for its global Phase 3 program in Pompe disease, and earlier in his career Dr. Conner served as Medical Director at Genentech, Inc. where he was the clinical science team leader of two product candidates, including XOLAIR®.
Dr. Conner completed his Internal Medicine residency training at the University of Michigan and was a fellow in Clinical Immunology and Allergic Diseases at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He earned a B.S. in Biology, cum laude, from Duke University and his M.D. from the University of California, San Francisco.
Mathew Pletcher, Ph.D. is Division Head of Gene Therapy Research & Technical Operations for Astellas Gene Therapies. He is responsible for advancing the company’s pipeline from discovery through to IND-enabling preclinical development and for all Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Facilities & Engineering, and Process & Analytical Development functions.
Prior to joining Astellas Gene Therapies (formerly Audentes Therapeutics) in July 2020, Mr. Pletcher worked at Roche Pharma where he was Head of Rare Diseases Research and Early Development, and prior to that, Head of Discovery. Previously, he served as Acting Chief Scientific Officer at Autism Speaks and earlier as Vice President, Head of Genomic Sciences. He also spent eight years working in Pfizer’s Rare Diseases Research Unit in various scientific roles of increasing responsibility including Director, Rare Diseases Research Unit.
Mr. Pletcher also founded and leads a non-profit foundation, Fund for Sight, supporting research and resources for families and children impacted by the genetic disease his daughter inherited called Leber Congenital Amaurosis. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Duquesne University and a Ph.D. in Human Genetics form Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Amy Pott is Division Head of Gene Therapy, Commercial for Astellas Gene Therapies, and is responsible for leading commercialization of our Gene Therapy business. She joined Astellas Gene Therapies (formerly Audentes Therapeutics) in January 2021 and brings an impressive amount of experience and expertise developing and launching rare disease therapies.
Ms. Pott joined Astellas Gene Therapies (formerly Audentes Therapeutics) from Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (SOBI), where she was President, North America, and oversaw rare disease/specialty programs such as Synagis for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV); Kineret for Rheumatoid Arthritis; and Gamifant for Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). Prior to joining SOBI, Ms. Pott was Group Vice President, US Franchise Head, Internal Medicine & Oncology at Shire, where she was responsible for four rare disease businesses, including the GI, Endo, LSD and Oncology Businesses. She joined Shire when the company acquired Baxalta, and stayed on to build the US commercial operations group handling seven US franchises.
Ms. Pott earned her B.A. in history from the University of Bristol and her M.S. in European Policy & International Relations from the London School of Economics.
Richard Wilson is currently the Vice President of Gene Therapy Program Management and Portfolio Strategy at Astellas Gene Therapies (formerly Audentes Therapeutics). He joined Audentes in April 2020 as Vice President, Program Management and is currently responsible for Gene Therapy program leadership and project management across the Center of Excellence.
Richard has over 25 years of experience in research, development, and commercialization of small molecules, biological and gene therapies. Prior to Audentes, he served as Executive Director, Product Portfolio Development at BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. where he held a number of roles including portfolio Core Team leader for BioMarin’s PKU franchise, overseeing the approval and global launch of Palynziq, the first enzyme substitution therapy for PKU.
Prior to BioMarin, Richard held positions in GlaxoWellcome, BioChem Pharma, Theravance and Innoviva, where he was involved in the development and commercialization of a range of products in COPD and Asthma – Relvar/Breo Ellipta, Anoro Ellipta, and Trelegy Ellipta, and also in the identification of a nebulized delivery strategy for revefenacin (Yupelri). He has also led R&D programs in anti-infective, cardiovascular, rheumatology, and urology disease areas.
Richard holds a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry from the University of Manchester and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, where he serves on the Board of Directors for UC Berkeley Executive Education.
Our Center of Excellence Leadership Forum sets the Strategy for the Gene Therapy Center of Excellence and comprises key leaders from throughout the COE:
- Edward Conner, M.D., Astellas Gene Therapies Site Lead and Division Head of Gene Therapy Medical & Development
- Amy Pott, Division Head of Gene Therapy Commercial
- Mathew Pletcher, Ph.D., Division Head of Gene Therapy Research & Technical Operations
- Richard Wilson, VP, Program Management & Portfolio Strategy
Lovena D. Chaput is Senior Vice President, Americas at Astellas Gene Therapies. She joined the Astellas Gene Therapies (formerly Audentes Therapeutics) in December 2019 as Senior Vice President of Global Market Access. She brings more than 30 years of healthcare leadership experience focused on launching and commercializing treatments for rare and orphan diseases in startup organizations. Ms. Chaput is responsible for executing the global market access strategy for the company’s growing portfolio of gene therapy product candidates, and for building the commercial market access organization, including distribution, patient services and market access teams.
Ms. Chaput joined Astellas Gene Therapies from AveXis, a Novartis company, where she served as VP, Market Access and Reimbursement. During her tenure with AveXis she led the highly successful launch of ZOLGENSMA®, the first gene therapy for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Prior to AveXis, Ms. Chaput was with Raptor Pharmaceuticals where she was the Executive Director, Commercial Operations, Americas & Asia Pacific. While at Raptor, she led the U.S. Market Access strategy and launch of Procysbi®, a drug for the treatment of nephropathic cystinosis.
Previously, Ms. Chaput designed and built the commercial organization for Amylin Pharmaceuticals. During her tenure at Amylin she held various strategic and leadership roles in sales, marketing, trade and distribution, and market access, launching several first in class products, including Symlin®, Byetta® and BYDUREON®. Ms. Chaput also served in various commercial roles at Raptor, Amylin, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Syntex Laboratories, Inc. Ms. Chaput holds a B.S. in Biology from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.
Chris Lorenz is Senior Vice President of Technical Operations for Astellas Gene Therapies, and is responsible for the process development, manufacturing, supply chain, engineering, and facilities functions of our Gene Therapy operations. Chris joined Astellas Gene Therapies (formerly Audentes Therapeutics) in February 2016 to start up our manufacturing and warehouse functions in South San Francisco, and has taken on increasing levels of responsibility during his tenure at the company.
Mr. Lorenz joined Astellas Gene Therapies from Grifols Diagnostics Solutions (formerly Novartis Diagnostics) where he held various positions in their Manufacturing and Process Engineering functions. Prior to Grifols, he was at Genentech in South San Francisco where he held positions in their Process Development and Manufacturing Science & Technology organizations.
Mr. Lorenz earned both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University.
Mary Newman is Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Astellas Gene Therapies (formerly Audentes Therapeutics). She joined the company with more than 20 years of experience in regulatory affairs and research and development within the biotechnology industry, focusing on rare diseases. Ms. Newman oversees global regulatory strategic development, all primary regulatory agency interactions, and regulatory compliance for Audentes’ development candidates.
Prior to joining Audentes, Ms. Newman served as the Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance at SARcode Bioscience Inc., which was acquired by Shire Ltd. She previously held various management positions, with increasing responsibility in Regulatory Affairs at BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Inc., Berlex Inc. (now Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc.), and Sequus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (now Johnson & Johnson). While at BioMarin, Ms. Newman oversaw the development and approval of Kuvan® for the treatment of phenylketonuria (PKU), Naglazyme® for mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) VI, and supported the final approval of Aldurazyme® for MPS I. She has also held various research and development leadership roles in oncology, neurology, and antifungal therapeutic areas.
Ms. Newman holds a B.S. in Physiology from Oregon State University.
Ted Slocomb is the Vice President, Global Market Access for Astellas Gene Therapies with responsibility for leading market access and value demonstration for the Astellas gene therapy pipeline. He joined Astellas Gene Therapies (formerly Audentes Therapeutics) in January 2015, and has over a decade of experience in developing and executing launch strategies specifically for ultra-rare disease biopharmaceuticals, including high value gene and cell therapies.
Prior to Audentes, Ted held roles of increasing responsibility in US and global marketing, new product planning, corporate development and venture capital at firms such as Amylin Pharmaceuticals (global commercial leader, MYALEPTÒ/metreleptin for injection, obesity franchise commercial lead), Bear Stearns Health Innoventures, Fate Therapeutics, Johnson & Johnson and BASF Pharma. He is a former co-chair of the US Market Access & Value Committee of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM).
Ted earned his B.A. in Genetics from the University of California, Berkeley and his M.B.A. in Finance from the Stern School of Business at New York University.
Dr. Catherine Parham, M.D., MBA is the Vice President and Head of Global Medical Affairs and is responsible for leading development and execution of the Medical Affairs strategy. She joined Astellas Gene Therapies (formerly Audentes Therapeutics) in August 2020.
Dr. Parham joined Astellas Gene Therapies from Takeda, where she was the Vice President, Global Program Lead in the Plasma Derived Therapies Business Unit, directing development programs focused on therapies to treat patients with rare immunodeficiency diseases. Prior to joining Takeda, Dr. Parham was Vice President, Global Clinical Therapeutic Area Head of Combination Products and Medical Devices at Shire. She led the clinical team responsible for the development of drug delivery systems and diagnostic for therapies to treat rare diseases. Previously Dr. Parham worked at Pfizer, GE Healthcare and Johnson & Johnson in increasing roles of responsibility.
Dr. Parham earned her B.S., in engineering and literature from MIT, her MD from Boston University and completed her postgraduate medical training at Harvard Beth Israel Deaconess and Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts.