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.
Steve Hughes, MD
Chief Medical Officer
In February 2022, Dr. Steve Hughes joined Avidity Biosciences as our Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Hughes has over 20 years of experience building and leading clinical development and medical affairs teams. He has contributed to over 50 clinical trials for more than 25 drugs across multiple therapeutic areas including cardiovascular, neurology and several rare diseases. Dr. Hughes joins Avidity from Arcturus Therapeutics where he continues to be a strategic clinical advisor. Prior to that, he held the position of CMO where he provided leadership and direction to clinical operations, clinical development, clinical sciences, data management, biometrics, and drug safety. Dr. Hughes’s previous positions include the Chief Medical Officer at Organovo, Chief Clinical Development Officer at Ionis Pharmaceuticals and positions at Biogen, CSL Behring and Sanofi. Dr. Hughes is board certified in pharmaceutical medicine and received his medical degree from Imperial College, London. He also has an MBA from Imperial College Business School.
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 and Chief Business Officer
In May 2020, Michael MacLean joined Avidity Biosciences as our Chief Financial Officer and expanded his role to include responsibilities as Chief Business Officer in April 2022. 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 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, Corporate Communications & Investor Relations
In April 2021, Kathleen Gallagher joined Avidity Biosciences as our Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations. Ms. Gallagher brings to Avidity over 15 years of experience leading communications and investor relations in preclinical to commercial stage companies. Most recently, Ms. Gallagher lead the communications and investor relations function through the launch of two rare disease medicines at Akcea Therapeutics, Inc. Prior to that, she was at Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where she played an integral role in multiple financing rounds, including its initial public offering, and led corporate communications through the launch of the company’s oncology medicine. Ms. Gallagher has a B.S. in English from Boston University.