President & CEO
In October 2019, Sarah Boyce joined Avidity as President and CEO, and she serves as a member of the board of directors. Ms. Boyce brings to Avidity extensive operational, commercial and leadership experience in the life sciences industry and has built global organizations, bringing a number of innovative therapies including Tegsedi®, Waylivra®, Soliris®, Gleevec® and Tasigna® to patients. She most recently served as President and a member of the board of directors of Akcea Therapeutics, where she led the commercialization of the company’s rare disease products. Prior to joining Akcea in April 2018, Ms. Boyce held multiple executive-level roles at leading pharma and biotech companies including Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Forest Laboratories, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Novartis Oncology and Roche. Ms. Boyce currently serves as a member of the board of directors at Ligand, Inc and Berkeley Lights, Inc. She received a B.S. degree in microbiology from the University of Manchester, England.
Arthur A. Levin, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Arthur Levin is a key opinion leader in the RNA therapeutics field who led teams responsible for the development of many oligonucleotides. He serves as the Chief Scientific Officer at Avidity Biosciences. Previously, he held the position of Executive Vice President of Research and Development at miRagen Therapeutics. Prior to that, he held senior drug development roles at Ionis (formerly Isis) Pharmaceuticals and Santaris Pharma.
He has played key roles in the development of numerous oligonucleotides including the first approved antisense drugs and the first microRNA-targeted therapeutic in clinical trials. He has a combined three decades of experience in all aspects of drug development from discovery through drug registration, both in large pharma and biotech companies. Dr. Levin has published over 60 scientific articles and several of the most cited reviews in the field. He is on the scientific advisory boards of multiple institutions. Art received a doctorate in toxicology from the University of Rochester, and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Muhlenberg College.
W. Michael Flanagan, PhD
Chief Technical Officer
In January 2021, W. Michael Flanagan joined Avidity Biosciences as our Chief Technical Officer. Dr. Flanagan has extensive experience developing multiple therapeutic modalities, including RNA therapeutics, antibody drug conjugates, and bispecific antibodies. Prior to joining Avidity, Dr. Flanagan served as Senior Director and Project Team Leader, Oncology and Immunology for Genentech, Inc., where he advanced programs through late-stage research to end of Phase 2 development. Prior to Genentech, he served in roles of increasing responsibility in the biology groups at Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Gilead Sciences, Inc., and Merck & Co., Inc. where he was Senior Director of RNA Sciences. Dr. Flanagan received a B.S. in Genetics from the University of California at Davis, a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of California at Irvine and was an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University.
Chief Financial Officer
In May 2020, Michael MacLean joined Avidity Biosciences as our Chief Financial Officer. Mr. MacLean brings decades of relevant financial industry experience to Avidity, with deep experience in funding biotechnology companies to advance novel therapies in the rare and orphan disease space. Most recently, Mr. MacLean served as Chief Financial Officer of Akcea Therapeutics, Inc. where he led the buildout of Akcea's financial and commercial infrastructure. Prior to Akcea, Mr. MacLean served as Chief Financial Officer of PureTech Health, plc, as well as Chief Accounting Officer of Biogen Inc. where he led the company's worldwide finance operations.
Chief Operating Officer
In February 2020, Joseph Baroldi joined Avidity Biosciences as our Chief Operating Officer. He is responsible for leading the Company’s operations, including corporate and business development and competitive intelligence. Mr. Baroldi brings over twenty years of experience in the life sciences industry to Avidity. Most recently, Mr. Baroldi was Vice President, Business Development at Ionis Pharmaceuticals, where he held several roles of increasing responsibility over the last decade. During this time, Mr. Baroldi led Ionis' corporate and business development activities, alliance management and competitive intelligence, executing more than twenty transactions that resulted in approximately $2B in upfront cash. Before that, Mr. Baroldi held several roles in strategic planning and scientific research at Hologic (formerly Gen-Probe, Inc.).
Mr. Baroldi received his B.S. in Biological Sciences from UC Irvine and his M.B.A. from the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego.
Chief Human Resources Officer
In August 2020, Teresa McCarthy joined Avidity Biosciences as our Chief Human Resources Officer. Ms. McCarthy is responsible for developing and executing human resource strategies in support of Avidity's overall business plan and strategic direction. She brings to Avidity decades of experience as an organizational development and human resources consultant in the life science industry. Ms. McCarthy has worked with biotech and healthcare companies at all stages of development via her consulting firm, McCarthy Consultants Inc., and her long-term partnership with The Leadership Edge, Inc. Prior to consulting, Ms. McCarthy held leadership positions at Edwards Lifesciences, Baxter Cardiovascular Group, and IVAC Corporation and received an M.A. degree in Organizational Communication with an emphasis in International Business from San Diego State University.
John W. Wallen III, PhD, JD
John W. Wallen III has served Avidity Biosciences as its head of intellectual property since inception and is presently General Counsel. Prior to Avidity, Dr. Wallen served as VP Intellectual Property & Corporate Legal at Ambrx, Inc. until its acquisition in 2014. Previously, Dr. Wallen was a partner in the Technology/Intellectual Property and Patent Litigation practices at Preston Gates & Ellis, LLP, in San Diego, a member of the Johnson & Johnson Law Department, and a Patent Attorney at Merck & Co., Inc. Prior to becoming a patent attorney, he was a scientist in the Cancer Research Department of Merck & Co., Inc. Dr. Wallen received a J.D. from Seton Hall Law School, a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.S. degree in clinical microbiology from Long Island University Brooklyn and a B.S. degree in biology from the State University of New York and is a registered patent attorney with the USPTO.
SVP, Regulatory Affairs
In January 2021, Joe Johnston joined Avidity Biosciences as Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Quality. Mr. Johnston brings to Avidity over 30 years of pharmaceutical industry experience, including extensive experience in the development of novel oligonucleotide and small molecule therapies for neuromuscular, rare and pediatric diseases. Most recently, Mr. Johnston was Senior Vice President at Catabasis Pharmaceuticals in Boston where he advanced multiple programs including a pivotal program for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Prior to Catabasis, Mr. Johnston was at Ionis Pharmaceuticals (formerly Isis Pharmaceuticals), a biopharmaceutical company in RNA-targeted drug discovery and development, where he served as Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Quality. At Ionis, Mr. Johnston held a series of roles with increasing responsibility starting from 1990, when he was part of the original scientific team.
Mr. Johnston holds a M.B.A. from University of California Irvine and a M.S. in Pharmacology and a B.A. in Biology, both from the University of Pennsylvania.
Elizabeth “Lisa” Ackermann
SVP, Clinical Development
Elizabeth joined Avidity in January 2020 and serves as SVP Clinical Development. Ms. Ackermann brings extensive experience in research and development of RNA therapeutics with a focus on neurology and rare diseases. Most recently Ms. Ackermann served as Vice President of Clinical Development at Otonomy Inc. and prior to Otonomy served as the Chief Science Officer at the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation. Ms. Ackermann worked at Ionis Pharmaceuticals for over 8 years holding various leadership positions including Vice President of Clinical Development. At Ionis she led the development of Tegsedi® (an approved treatment for TTR Amyloidosis with Polyneuropathy) and several other rare disease programs. Ms. Ackermann holds a Ph.D in biochemistry from UC San Diego and completed a NIH postdoctoral fellowship in Pharmacology at UC San Diego.