SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Switch Therapeutics, a preclinical stage biotechnology company pioneering a new way to use RNA science to treat diseases, today announced the appointments of Craig Blanchette, Ph.D., as Senior Vice President, Research and Michael Wolfe as Senior Vice President, Finance and Operations, effective immediately.
“I am delighted to welcome Craig and Michael to our leadership team,” said Dee Datta, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Switch Therapeutics. “Together, Craig and Michael bring substantial domain expertise, including their respective experience driving oligonucleotide research and providing operational leadership for growth and scale, which are highly relevant for Switch. I look forward to their many contributions as we advance our novel CASi platform and work to develop next generation RNAi therapies, while also positioning our company for long-term success.”
“As an early investor in Switch, I have had the pleasure of working with Dee, Si-ping and the rest of the team since the company founding in 2020; the pace of development and innovation on the core CASi platform has been extraordinary,” commented Kevin Zhang, Partner at Upfront Ventures. “Now with the additions of seasoned veterans in Craig and Michael, Switch is well-positioned for continued growth, with the high-caliber talent necessary to advance both its scientific and corporate goals.”
Craig Blanchette, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Research
Dr. Blanchette is an experienced scientist and leader in the field of drug discovery, with expertise across multiple drug modalities including RNA and protein therapies. Most recently, Dr. Blanchette led a large drug discovery department at Genentech, driving decision making for oligonucleotide modalities across multiple therapeutic areas. While at Genentech, Dr. Blanchette also developed and led the company’s research strategy for oligonucleotide delivery. Prior to joining Genentech in 2015, Dr. Blanchette was a staff scientist in the Biological Sciences Department at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. He holds a Ph.D. in Biophysics from the University of California, Davis and a B.S. in Biology and Physics from Vassar College.
“I have spent my career as a scientist advancing novel therapeutic candidates from drug discovery to development. While at Genentech, I played a role in developing and implementing the ASO and RNAi discovery and delivery strategy and developed a deep appreciation for the power of RNAi for the treatment of disease. With its novel CASi platform, I believe Switch has the potential to deliver the full promise of RNA medicine by advancing a suite of potent, cell-selective molecules that can be efficiently self-delivered to address a wide spectrum of central nervous system and systemic indications,” said Dr. Blanchette. “I am eager to partner with my new colleagues to further optimize the company’s unique approach to RNA science and look forward to advancing our discovery-stage portfolio toward the clinic.”
Michael Wolfe, Senior Vice President, Finance and Operations
Mr. Wolfe is a versatile corporate leader, with 20 years of experience building biopharmaceutical companies and managing their financials and operations. Most recently, he served in roles of increasing responsibility at Kezar Life Sciences (Kezar), including as Senior Vice President, Finance and Business Operations. At Kezar, Mr. Wolfe played an integral role in building the company from its inception, driving multiple rounds of financing, including the company’s initial public offering and supporting its maturation into a multiple clinical program, development-stage company. Prior to joining Kezar in 2015, Mr. Wolfe supported financial operations at Onyx Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Amgen for $10.4 billion in 2014), Johnson & Johnson and Amgen. Mr. Wolfe holds a B.S. in Business Administration from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
“I am thrilled to join the Switch Therapeutics team,” said Mr. Wolfe. “Switch is pioneering a new type of medicine that integrates nucleic acid nanotechnology and RNA interference (RNAi) science with the goal of treating a range of diseases with significant unmet need. Following Switch’s $52 million financing announced earlier this month, Switch is operating from a position of strength, with a tremendous opportunity for further growth. I look forward to leveraging my experience to drive continued progress across the organization, as we apply our CASi platform to transform the care and treatment of many diseases.”
About Switch Therapeutics
Switch Therapeutics is an emerging biotechnology company pioneering a new type of medicine that integrates nucleic acid nanotechnology and RNA interference (RNAi) science, with the goal of treating a range of diseases – affecting the central nervous system and systemic indications – with significant unmet need. The CASi (Conditionally Activated siRNA) platform, the company’s novel gene knockdown approach, is based on technology developed by renowned researchers in the field of RNA and drug development from Caltech, Harvard Medical School and City of Hope. CASi combines advantageous properties of both single and double-stranded RNAs in a single molecule, allowing for cell selective RNAi activity. Switch is based in South San Francisco, California. For more information, connect with Switch on LinkedIn or visit www.switchthera.com