DURHAM – Sapan Shah, a 20-year life science industry veteran, is the new chief executive officer at Durham-based startup StrideBio.

Shah also will join the company’s board of directors, the company announced Thursday.

(PRNewsfoto/StrideBio, Inc)

(PRNewsfoto/StrideBio, Inc)

“We welcome Sapan to StrideBio,” said Clay Thorp, General Partner of Hatteras Venture Partners, which is a StrideBio investor. “His history of founding and building successful organizations comes at an important time in the company’s evolution, as it advances multiple preclinical programs into the clinic and establishes its own in-house GMP manufacturing capabilities.  In addition, Sapan’s prior experience in building and leading a rare diseases company will be invaluable as StrideBio strengthens its ties with key stakeholders including the patient community.”

StrideBio is focused on gene therapies. The firm launched in 2015.

The company raised nearly $16 million from investors in what it described as an oversubscribed round of venture capital last June.

Durham life science startup StrideBio raises $15.7M in oversubscribed VC round

StrideBio is focused on what it calls engineered viral vectors, or AAV, for gene therapy. The firm has already announced it has struck a deal with Crispr Therapeutics to develop in vivo gene delivery applications. As part of the deal, StrideBio will receive development funding, milestones and royalties on licensed vectors, and retain certain rights to use the novel AAV vectors for gene therapy applications.

The technology is based on the work of Dr. Aravind Asokan at UNC-Chapel Hill and Dr. Mavis Agbandje-McKenna at the University of Florida.

Asokan leads the Laboratory for Synthetic Virology & Gene Therapy at UNC-Chapel Hill. Originally trained as a chemist, he has blended the fields of protein engineering, virology and genetics to generate several gene therapy platforms currently being evaluated in preclinical and clinical studies.

“I would like to thank the Founders and the rest of the Board for their confidence in me to continue building StrideBio into a leading, clinically focused gene therapy company,” Shah, who holds a PhD, said in a statement.

“StrideBio has all the key elements for success including a differentiated technology platform that can generate novel AAV capsids with truly unique profiles, along with in-house manufacturing capabilities to support clinical development and commercialization.  In the year ahead, we look forward to advancing multiple preclinical programs towards clinical trials and executing a focused set of strategic partnerships. I look forward to working with the Board to ensure the continued growth and success of StrideBio.”

Shah has served as a CEO, a company founder, board member and advisor over his career, including CEO at ARMGO Pharma, Ezose Sciences and Shiongi, Inc. He holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Mathematics, Biochemistry and Integrated Science from Northwestern University.