SAN DIEGO, November 27, 2017 — Synthorx Inc. announced today that Laura Shawver, Ph.D., was appointed president, chief executive officer (CEO), and director of Synthorx. Dr. Shawver brings many years of experience as a successful and passionate entrepreneur, drug developer, and advocate for people fighting serious diseases.
“Laura is an accomplished biotech leader, scientist, and drug developer, and we welcome the experience and enthusiasm that she brings to the Synthorx technology and team,” said Jay Lichter, Ph.D., president and CEO of COI Pharmaceuticals and managing director of Avalon Ventures. “Synthorx’s technology has created promising Synthorin therapeutic leads, and Laura’s success in moving discovery programs through preclinical and clinical development, in addition to her demonstrated success raising capital, is exactly what we need.”
Dr. Shawver said, “This is a technology that has been intensively optimized by the Romesberg laboratory at The Scripps Research Institute, and the Synthorx team has seamlessly integrated the technology to create improved protein therapeutic candidates, which we call Synthorins. We are all stoked to now move to the next phase demonstrating that Synthorins can help patients in a way not previously possible. It is truly revolutionary technology that we intend to transform into breakthrough drugs, and I am looking forward to working with the Synthorx team to do just that.”
Prior to joining Synthorx, Shawver held the following positions: CEO and director of Cleave Biosciences, entrepreneur-in-residence for 5AM Ventures, CEO and director of Phenomix Corporation, and president of SUGEN Inc. (acquired by Pharmacia). Shawver has been involved with a number of clinical development programs including two FDA-approved therapies. Shawver is currently a director of Relay Therapeutics as well as an advisor to the industry. She is an active member of the American Association for Cancer Research serving on the Scientific Advisory Committee for Stand Up to Cancer. Shawver knows firsthand what it is like to be a cancer patient. Having survived ovarian cancer, she turned that experience into the founding of The Clearity Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing access to molecular profiling for ovarian cancer patients to improve their treatment options. Shawver received her Ph.D. in pharmacology and a B.S. degree in microbiology both from the University of Iowa.
Synthorx Inc. is a biotechnology company using synthetic biology to discover and develop novel protein therapeutics. Synthorx’s expanded genetic alphabet platform has the unique ability to drive the site-specific incorporation of multiple synthetic amino acids into proteins thereby tuning receptor specificity important for improving efficacy and safety. In addition, their engineered organisms provide the ability to manufacture these improved proteins, called Synthorins, with the required fidelity and yield. Synthorx’s unique platform expands the chemical and structural repertoire of protein therapeutics and uncovers new ways to modulate pharmacological properties of biologics, not possible with other technologies. Synthorx is working internally and in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies toward the design and discovery of first-in-class drugs for a variety of therapeutic areas. Synthorx’s investors include RA Capital Management, Avalon Ventures, and Correlation Ventures. The company was founded based on important discoveries in Dr. Floyd Romesberg’s lab at The Scripps Research Institute. The company is headquartered in La Jolla, Calif.