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AavantiBio Adds Veteran Life Sciences Executive Douglas J. Swirsky as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer

BOSTON–()–AavantiBio, a gene therapy company focused on transforming the lives of patients with rare genetic diseases, today announced the appointment of Douglas J. Swirsky as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer effective February 1, 2021. A seasoned financial and operational life sciences executive, Mr. Swirsky will be responsible for building out the Company’s financial, accounting, and facility functions to support AavantiBio’s growth and clinical development of its diversified pipeline of gene therapies.

Mr. Swirsky, brings to AavantiBio more than 25 years of strategic, financial, and operational experience in the biopharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, including significant experience working with clinical stage and publicly-held companies. He also brings a background in investment banking, having held positions of increasing responsibility at Morgan Stanley, Stifel Nicolaus, UBS and other firms. Mr. Swirsky most recently served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he led the company’s merger with Ocuphire Pharma, Inc. (Nasdaq: OCUP) in 2020. Prior to joining Rexahn as the company’s Chief Financial Officer in 2018, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of GenVec, Inc., which he joined in 2006 as Chief Financial Officer and where he oversaw a turnaround which led to the sale of the company in 2017 to Intrexon Corporation (now known as Precigen, Nasdaq: PGEN).

Doug brings to AavantiBio a wealth of financial experience and a proven track record of effectively leading finance organizations and driving business results at clinical stage biopharmaceutical companies,” said Alexander “Bo” Cumbo, Chief Executive Officer of AavantiBio. “We are thrilled to have an executive of his caliber join our leadership team at such an exciting time in our growth and development as we focus on developing, commercializing, and unlocking the value embedded in our lead program in Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA) while also pursuing a diversified portfolio.” Mr. Swirsky served as a consultant to AavantiBio from February 2020 until his appointment and joins the team on the heels of the company’s recent successful $107 million Series A financing led by a premier syndicate of life sciences investors including Perceptive Advisors, Bain Capital Life Sciences, and RA Capital Management.

Mr. Swirsky currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cellectar Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: CLRB), and NeuroBo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: NRBO), both publicly traded, clinical stage biopharmaceutical companies.

I couldn’t be more excited to join the AavantiBio team and help build out a world-class organization focused on bringing meaningful therapies to patients who suffer from FA and other rare diseases,” said Swirsky. “Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to work closely with Bo and the Board, and I know firsthand that this is a Company quickly building momentum and with a mission-focused vision for the future of genetic therapies.”

Mr. Swirsky is a certified public accountant and a CFA® charterholder. He has been recognized as NACD Directorship Certified™ by the National Association of Corporate Directors. Mr. Swirsky received his B.S. in Business Administration from Boston University and his M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

About AavantiBio, Inc.

AavantiBio’s vision is to harness the transformative science of gene transfer therapy and gene editing technologies to improve the lives of people living with fatal diseases. Founded by distinguished gene therapy researchers out of the University of Florida and headquartered in the greater Boston area, the Company is advancing a pipeline of innovative gene transfer therapies in areas of high unmet medical need, which have the potential to become the next generation of life-changing medicines. Learn more at


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