HOPEWELL, N.J., April 12, 2023 — Gennao Bio, a genetic medicines company developing first-in-class, targeted nucleic acid therapeutics, today announced the appointment of Christopher Duke, MBA, M.P.H., as chief executive officer, effective immediately. Mr. Duke succeeds executive chairman and founding chief executive officer, Stephen Squinto, M.D., who will transition to a scientific advisor.
“Chris has made significant contributions to the growth of Gennao since its inception in 2020, demonstrating strong leadership and strategic agility. As a seasoned biotechnology executive, Chris spearheaded the advancement of Gennao’s gene monoclonal antibody (GMAB) platform for cancer and skeletal muscle diseases, while managing the buildout of a talented team and core operations. His appointment as CEO is a testament to the strong pipeline progress and execution to date that enables Gennao to be well positioned for its next chapter of innovation,” said Julie Hambleton, M.D., independent member of Gennao’s Board of Directors. “The Board also wishes to recognize Dr. Squinto for his early leadership of Gennao and is delighted for his continued collaboration as an advisor.”
Mr. Duke brings more than 25 years of global research and development, operational and commercial experience at several leading rare disease and immuno-oncology companies. He has served as Gennao’s interim chief executive officer since 2022 and previously held the role of chief operating officer, where he established and led key corporate functions, including business development, program management, manufacturing, legal, business operations, human resources, and information technology.
“I am honored to lead Gennao and accelerate the development of our next-generation, non-viral delivery system for nucleic acids,” said Mr. Duke. “The GMAB platform represents a potentially disruptive approach to delivering genetic therapies and treating devastating diseases such as cancer and rare, skeletal muscle disorders. I look forward to continuing to advance this differentiated and highly targeted technology closer to the clinic and ultimately to patients and families in need.”
Before Gennao, Mr. Duke led operations and the commercial team in Japan for Amicus Therapeutics, after previously serving as the company’s vice president of global commercial operations. He previously served as chief operating officer for Advaxis, Inc., and executive director of international commercial operations for NPS Pharma. Earlier in his career, Mr. Duke held clinical and scientific positions at Merck & Co. and The Schering-Plough Corporation. He received an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as an M.P.H. and a B.S. in chemical engineering from Rutgers University.
About Gennao Bio
Gennao Bio is a genetic medicines company developing first-in-class targeted nucleic acid therapeutics utilizing its proprietary, non-viral gene monoclonal antibody (GMAB) platform technology. GMAB is an adaptive technology that uses a novel, cell-penetrating antibody to specifically deliver nucleic acid payloads to select cells while distinctly avoiding the endocytic pathway. This next-generation delivery platform is differentiated from traditional gene delivery systems, as it can rapidly and efficiently deliver multiple types of payloads for release in the cytoplasm and nucleus, allows for repeat dosing, and employs well-established antibody manufacturing processes. Gennao Bio is developing this delivery system with an initial focus on addressing significant unmet needs in oncology and rare monogenic skeletal muscle diseases.