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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc. (AskBio), a clinical-stage adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy company and wholly owned subsidiary of Bayer AG, today announced that Katherine High, MD, has joined the company in the newly formed role of President, Therapeutics and will also serve on its Board of Directors. She will be responsible for driving the strategic direction and execution of the company’s preclinical and clinical programs.

“It is with great pleasure that we welcome Dr. High to AskBio,” said Sheila Mikhail, AskBio Co-founder and CEO. “She is a seasoned leader who led the team that achieved the first FDA approval for a gene therapy for a genetic disease, as well as an accomplished hematologist whose pioneering bench-to-bedside studies helped characterize the human immune response to AAV vectors in a variety of target tissues. We are thrilled Dr. High is now bringing her unique leadership and insights to our team.”

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Dr. High stated, “In looking to the future of the field, I have been impressed with AskBio’s innovative, flexible and high-yield manufacturing capabilities and their inventive use of capsid engineering to expand therapeutic possibilities for AAV. Dr. Jude Samulski has been a long-time leader in molecular virology, manufacturing and engineering of AAV. Decades ago, I received the first set of reagents I used to make recombinant AAV at the benchtop from him, and I expect that our mutual interests and complementary areas of expertise within AAV gene therapy will be a powerful engine for continuing, and even accelerating, progress at AskBio. I look forward to joining AskBio and the growing family of cell and gene therapy companies within the Bayer organization.”

Dr. Samulski, Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of AskBio noted, “Dr. High’s many ‘firsts’ in clinical gene therapy, her longstanding commitment to the field, and her innovative approaches to solving problems in AAV therapeutics, make her an ideal addition to AskBio’s leadership team. We believe she will use her experience in gene therapy drug development to help advance the company’s existing pipeline and identify new indications in the areas of genetic and complex acquired disorders.”

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Most recently, Dr. High was a Visiting Professor at Rockefeller University. Previously, she served as President, Head of Research and Development, and a member of the board of directors at Spark Therapeutics, where she directed the development and regulatory approval of Luxturna®, the first gene therapy for a genetic disease to obtain regulatory approval in both the United States and Europe. She was a long-time member of the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and the medical staff at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she was also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She served a five-year term on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee on Cell, Tissue and Gene Therapies and is a past president of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy.

Dr. High received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Harvard University, a medical degree from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, a business certification from the University of North Carolina Business School’s Management Institute for Hospital Administrators and a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians (London).