Press Releases

Avilar Therapeutics Announces Formation of Scientific Advisory Board with Leading Experts in Protein Degradation, Chemistry, Genetics, and Drug Discovery

WALTHAM, Mass., May 16, 2022 – Avilar Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on extracellular protein degradation, today announced the formation of its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) comprised of an esteemed group of leading scientists with expertise in protein degradation, chemistry, genetics, and drug discovery. The Avilar SAB will provide guidance to the company as it advances the discovery and development of ATACs (ASGPR Targeting Chimeras) as novel degraders of extracellular proteins involved in the pathogenesis of disease. 

The inaugural members of the SAB are:

  • Andrea Ballabio, MD, Director and Founder of the Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine and Professor of Medical Genetics, Federico II University and Visiting Professor, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Dan Kahne, PhD, Higgins Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University
  • Eric Fischer, PhD, Independent Investigator at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Associate Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School
  • David Moller, MD, Chief Scientific Officer, POXEL
  • Michael Rosenzweig, DVM, PhD, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at RA Capital

“We are honored and excited to welcome this group of esteemed scientists and drug discovery experts to our Scientific Advisory Board,” said Daniel Grau, CEO and President of Avilar Therapeutics. “With decades of experience in their respective fields, their counsel will be invaluable to Avilar as we build a pipeline of novel ATAC degraders and continue to advance our technology platform and scientific leadership in extracellular protein degradation.”

Andrea Ballabio, MD
Dr. Ballabio is the founding director of the Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine (TIGEM) in Naples, Italy. He is also Professor of Medical Genetics at the University of Naples “Federico II”, Visiting Professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and co-founder of CASMA Therapeutics. Previously, he served in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston where he was Associate Professor and Co-director of the Human Genome Center. Earlier, he worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Genetics and Biophysics in Naples and at Guy’s hospital in London UK. He has authored over 350 publications in international peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Ballabio obtained his MD degree and completed his residency in Pediatrics at the University of Naples, Italy.

Dan Kahne, PhD
Dr. Kahne has been directing a research laboratory at Harvard University since 2004. He is a chemist who is recognized for his work studying the mechanisms of antibiotic killing and resistance. He is particularly known for his studies characterizing the proteins that assemble the outer membrane that protects Gram-negative bacteria. This membrane provides intrinsic resistance to most antibiotics which can kill Gram-positive bacteria. This outer membrane prevents drugs from penetrating into the cell so that they can reach their cellular target. Previously, he served on the chemistry faculty at Princeton from 1988 to 2003, after a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia. He graduated from Cornell University with a degree in art history and chemistry and from Columbia University in 1986 with a PhD in synthetic organic chemistry. Dr. Kahne is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Academy of Microbiology, and the National Academy of Sciences.

Eric Fischer, PhD
Dr. Fischer is an Independent Investigator at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Associate Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. He is Director of the Center for Protein Degradation at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Fischer’s research focuses on understanding the molecular architecture, function, and regulation of complex cellular signaling machines and their involvement in cellular processes, as well as leveraging this knowledge to develop new strategies for small-molecule-mediated modulation. Dr. Fischer’s work has significantly contributed to the now widespread use of targeted protein degradation in drug discovery and research. He completed his undergraduate training at the Universities of Hamburg (Germany) and Basel (Switzerland) and completed doctoral training at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, also in Basel.

David Moller, MD
Dr. Moller has extensive experience in biopharmaceutical R&D. He currently serves as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at POXEL, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing therapeutics for metabolic diseases including rare disorders and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Prior to joining POXEL, he was CSO at Sigilon Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing a new class of engineered cell-based medicines. Previously, he served in senior R&D and business development roles at Eli Lilly and Merck which led to the launch several new medicines; while on the faculty at Harvard, his laboratory discovered key mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of metabolic disorders. Dr. Moller has published more than 130 peer-reviewed papers. His honors include election to the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and appointment as an Adjunct Professor at the Karolinska Institute. He holds an MD from the University of Cincinnati and completed clinical and research training programs at the George Washington and Harvard Universities.

Michael Rosenzweig, DVM, PhD
Dr. Rosenzweig is an entrepreneur-in-residence at RA Capital. He has more than two decades of experience in immuno-oncology and immunology research in both large pharma and biotech settings. Prior to joining RA, Dr. Rosenzweig was Associate Vice President at Merck Research Labs. In this position, he played a critical role in building Merck’s oncology pipeline into one of the most robust in cancer immunotherapy, focusing on a modality-agnostic strategy with a broad biology of targets and Keytruda® combination strategies. He was also responsible for initiating the transition of the autoimmunity strategy from one based on systemic immunosuppression to a targeted immunomodulation approach. Previously, he held discovery leadership roles at Immunext and Tolerx. Dr. Rosenzweig earned a DVM at the University of Pretoria and a PhD in Immunology at the University of Pennsylvania.

About Avilar Therapeutics

Avilar Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the discovery and development of extracellular protein degraders, a new frontier in targeted protein degradation. Avilar discovers and develops ATACs (ASGPR Targeting Chimeras), a new class of protein degrader therapeutics that shuttle disease-causing proteins from circulation to the endolysosome where the unwanted proteins are degraded. Avilar has built a proprietary ATAC platform that includes novel, high-affinity, small molecule ASGPR ligands and advanced modeling of the biophysics, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of ATAC-mediated endocytosis and degradation. The ATAC platform enables the modular design and synthesis of ATACs extendable across the extracellular proteome to a wide range of proteins involved in the pathogenesis of human diseases. Avilar is leveraging the ATAC platform to create a broad and diverse pipeline of first-in-class extracellular protein degraders. Avilar was founded and financed by RA Capital Management and based in Waltham, MA. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @Avilar_Tx and on LinkedIn.

Media Contact
Kathryn Morris
The Yates Network

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