CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 16, 2011 – bluebird bio, a leader in the development of innovative gene therapies for severe genetic disorders, today announced the appointment of Jeffrey T. Walsh to the position of chief operating officer and Daniel S. Lynch to the company’s board of directors.
“Jeff and Dan bring many years of company building experience to our team during a critical time in our company’s evolution and growth,” said Nick Leschly, president and chief executive officer of bluebird bio. “Jeff’s broad strategy, finance and business operations skill set will be critical as we move into later stages of clinical development and commercial planning. At the board level, Dan’s significant executive management and deal-making experience will help guide and facilitate bluebird bio’s growth plans. Importantly, Jeff and Dan share the passion for making a difference in the lives of patients and their families that is at the heart of bluebird bio’s mission and culture. With these additions and the closure on our recent $30 million Series C financing, we are now in a position to capitalize on the high priority opportunities afforded us by our broad product platform.”
Mr. Walsh has more than 20 years of experience in executive leadership positions with responsibility for finance, business development, commercial and business operations, strategic planning and legal functions with established and emerging public and private life sciences companies. Previously, Mr. Walsh was the chief business officer and treasurer of Taligen Therapeutics, and played a key role in the sale of Taligen to Alexion Pharmaceuticals in January of 2011. Prior to Taligen, he held various executive roles at Inotek Pharmaceuticals, EXACT Sciences, PathoGenesis and SmithKline Beecham Corporation. Mr. Walsh received his M.B.A. from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and his B.A. from Yale University.
“bluebird bio represents a unique value proposition in the biotech field and has the potential to dramatically impact patients and their families and ultimately transform the way rare diseases are treated,” said Mr. Walsh. “I have been very impressed with bluebird bio’s robust product platform and the great strides made by the company in such a short timeframe. With its broadly applicable gene therapy platform, bluebird bio will have great strategic flexibility and is well positioned to lead this field and fill a critical gap for patients suffering from diseases with few or no clinical options.”
Mr. Lynch brings more than 25 years of experience serving in management positions in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. He spent nearly five years at ImClone Systems, serving as chief executive officer and chief financial officer. As CEO, Mr. Lynch led ImClone through a significant turnaround, helping to restore the company’s reputation and to secure FDA approval of ERBITUX® (cetuximab), a novel cancer treatment. As CFO, he led negotiations related to the major partnership between ImClone and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Earlier in his career, Mr. Lynch served in various financial positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb over a 15-year tenure. He is currently executive chairman of Avila Therapeutics and Stromedix. Mr. Lynch has also served on the board of directors at Ivrea Pharmaceuticals and U.S. Oncology. He received his M.B.A. from the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia and his B.S. from Wesleyan University.
Mr. Lynch commented, “My interest in bluebird bio is simple: this company is on the cusp of doing something special, something that has never been done before, which I find very compelling. I look forward to working closely with the management and board to help realize the potential of this rapidly-advancing company and its novel approach to gene therapy for devastating diseases.”