Syntimmune Strengthens Leadership Team with Appointment of Chief Medical Officer


  • Dr. Mario Saltarelli brings 25 years of experience from Vertex, Annexon, Shire, AbbVie and Pfizer
  • Deep experience in discovery research, clinical development and pipeline strategy
  • Will lead development of SYNT001 across multiple current and planned clinical trials

July 09, 2018 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Syntimmune, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing antibody therapeutics targeting FcRn, today announced the appointment of biopharma executive Mario Saltarelli, M.D., Ph.D., as chief medical officer. Dr. Saltarelli, who most recently served as senior vice president at Vertex, brings broad experience in discovery research, clinical development, pipeline strategy and global regulatory operations. Dr. Donald Johns, who has been acting chief medical officer, will become the executive vice president of medical and scientific affairs for Syntimmune.

“Mario’s deep expertise in drug development and strong leadership skills will be a tremendous asset to Syntimmune as we advance our pipeline of novel therapies targeting a broad range of autoimmune diseases,” said Jean-Paul Kress, M.D., Syntimmune’s president and CEO. “We’re thrilled to have him on board to lead our medical organization. I’d also like to thank Don for his support as acting CMO, and I’m pleased that he’ll be continuing to help Syntimmune strengthen our medical and scientific leadership position.”

Dr. Saltarelli comes to Syntimmune from Vertex, where he managed clinical development projects across multiple therapeutic areas as senior vice president, early development and neurology. At Vertex, he supported the NDA/MAA preparation and filing of Symdeko (tezacaftor/ivacaftor), leading to FDA approval. He also advanced multiple early development assets. Prior to Vertex, Dr. Saltarelli served as chief medical officer of Annexon Biosciences and as senior vice president and chief science officer at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Saltarelli has also held leadership roles at Shire, Abbott (AbbVie) and Pfizer. Throughout his career, Dr. Saltarelli has worked on the full range of pharmaceutical research and development needs, including translational sciences, clinical strategy, pharmacology and medical affairs. Dr. Saltarelli earned both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in neurosciences from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“This is an exciting moment for Syntimmune, with multiple clinical trials underway and planned, and I am delighted to be able to contribute,” Dr. Saltarelli said. “Syntimmune has a strong vision of leveraging its unique insights into FcRn, honed over 25 years of research, to develop novel therapies that will truly help patients. I’m honored to be part of the team.”

Dr. Johns is an accomplished drug development leader with extensive experience in drug discovery and development. He is a board-certified clinical neurologist and scientific leader with 25+ years of experience in rare and orphan diseases. Prior to joining Syntimmune, Dr. Johns held leadership positions at Biogen, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, the Center for the Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He contributed to three successful New Drug Applications (EXELON® PATCH: Alzheimer Disease, GILENYA®: Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, SPINRAZA™: Spinal Muscular Atrophy). He is the founding principal of Axon Guidance LLC, a neuroscience-focused drug development consultancy. He has also held teaching positions at Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Johns received his M.D. from the Yale University School of Medicine. He completed his Neurology residency and fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.

About Syntimmune

Founded in 2013, Syntimmune is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing differentiated drug candidates in a wide range of autoimmune diseases. Drawing on the pioneering research of its scientific founders, the company is advancing novel therapies based on its deep expertise in the biology of the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) and its complex role in the pathogenesis of IgG-mediated autoimmune diseases. Syntimmune’s lead candidate, SYNT001, is a monoclonal antibody that specifically blocks FcRn-IgG interactions and is being studied in multiple Phase 1b/2a trials for the treatment of IgG-mediated autoimmune diseases. Syntimmune is also developing SYNT002, which targets FcRn-albumin interactions to facilitate the clearance of albumin-bound toxins. Headquartered in Boston, Mass., Syntimmune has raised $78 million in private financing from leading life sciences investors led by Apple Tree Partners. Investors also include Partners Innovation Fund, FMB Research, and AFB Fund. For more information on Syntimmune, please visit the company’s website at

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, but not limited to, statements regarding Syntimmune’s development of its product candidates, including SYNT001 and SYNT002, the timing of receipt and announcement of data from its clinical trials and studies, and the potential benefits to patients of the product candidates. Any forward-looking statements in this press release are based on management’s current expectations of future events and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially and adversely from those set forth in or implied by such forward-looking statements. All information in this press release is as of the date of the release, and Syntimmune undertakes no duty to update this information unless required by law.


Media: Syntimmune Adam Hansard, 617-206-3149