QurAlis Expands Leadership Team With Doug Williamson, M.D., as Chief Medical Officer and Jason Brown, MBA, as Chief Financial Officer and Appoints Shafique Virani, M.D., to Board of Directors

PR Newswire
Tuesday, June 11, 2024 at 11:45am UTC

QurAlis Expands Leadership Team With Doug Williamson, M.D., as Chief Medical Officer and Jason Brown, MBA, as Chief Financial Officer and Appoints Shafique Virani, M.D., to Board of Directors

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Industry veteran Williamson brings nearly three decades' experience as a leader in neuroscience R&D at organizations including Eli Lilly and Company, Lundbeck, Parexel, and Acadia Pharmaceuticals

Former Karuna CFO Brown brings more than 15 years of corporate finance, strategy, business development, M&A, and company-building experience in the biopharmaceutical industry

Highly respected biotech executive Virani brings deep experience in corporate development, life science R&D, and building successful companies

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 11, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- QurAlis Corporation ("QurAlis"), a clinical-stage biotechnology company driving scientific breakthroughs into powerful precision medicines that will alter the trajectory of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and other neurodegenerative diseases, today announced that it has appointed Douglas (Doug) Williamson, M.D., as chief medical officer (CMO) and Jason Brown, MBA, as chief financial officer (CFO). Dr. Williamson succeeds Angela Genge, M.D., who continues in a consulting role for QurAlis. The company also announced the appointment of Shafique Virani, M.D., to its board of directors.

"Doug is an expert drug developer for neurological disorders, talented pharmaceutical executive, and dedicated physician who brings a breadth of successful experience across all phases of clinical development – from the interface of discovery with first-in-human trials, through Phase 2 dose-range finding studies, Phase 3 pivotal trials, and post-market lifecycle optimization," said Kasper Roet, Ph.D., chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of QurAlis.

Dr. Roet continued, "Jason's experience and track record in raising capital, preparing companies to go public, scaling companies, and executing partnership and M&A deals, will be instrumental to QurAlis' next phase of growth. Jason's outstanding profile in finance and operational growth combined with Doug's extensive global R&D experience, will greatly complement our team as we execute on our strategy to bring promising new precision medicines to patients with ALS, FTD, and other neurodegenerative and serious neurological diseases rapidly."

"Neurodegenerative diseases like ALS and FTD are areas of huge unmet medical need, and QurAlis is a company that is changing the future of how we treat these diseases by pioneering the development of powerful precision medicines," said Dr. Williamson. "QurAlis' cutting-edge science and Kasper's leadership is a powerful combination. I am thrilled to join such a dedicated team and apply my clinical and drug development experience toward building this innovative biopharma company to bring new, life-changing treatment options to patients with serious diseases and making a real difference in patients' lives."

"QurAlis is a mission-driven organization dedicated to bringing transformative therapies to patients with ALS and other serious neurodegenerative diseases," said Mr. Brown. "This is an exciting time for QurAlis and I am thrilled to join QurAlis and work closely with Kasper, our board, and the broader team to advance our corporate strategy and lead the company's financial activities as we further scale our organization and rapidly advance clinical development to bring much-needed medicines to patients."

Dr. Williamson has almost thirty years of leadership experience in all phases of neuroscience clinical drug development and has led several successful investigational new drug (IND) applications, global new drug applications (NDAs), and commercial launches in a broad range of psychiatry and neurology indications. He spent many years in senior leadership positions at large biopharma organizations including Eli Lilly and Company, Parexel International, and Lundbeck, where he led research and development (R&D) in the U.S. More recently, Dr. Williamson has gained experience at smaller biotechnology companies including as CMO at Avadel Pharmaceuticals, and head of R&D at Acadia Pharmaceuticals. He has consulted for numerous companies on neuroscience clinical development strategy. He graduated in medicine from Edinburgh University in Scotland and held a full-time academic appointment at Oxford University prior to joining the industry. Dr. Williamson is a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the National Academy of Medicine's Neuroscience Forum.

Before joining QurAlis, Mr. Brown was the CFO of Karuna Therapeutics. He joined Karuna in 2018 as vice president (VP) of corporate finance and its first finance employee. Throughout his tenure at Karuna, Mr. Brown drove the growth of both the finance department and broader organization, which included supporting multiple equity financings, business development transactions, and ultimately the acquisition by Bristol-Myers Squibb for $14 billion in 2024. Previously, Mr. Brown worked at PureTech Health as VP of corporate finance where he was responsible for the financing and operational growth of the company. He also spent five years at Novartis in roles of increasing responsibility within the finance department. He holds an MBA from Boston College and BA from Hamilton College.

Dr. Roet continued, "On behalf of the team, I would like to thank Angela Genge for her leadership and many contributions to QurAlis and we are delighted that she continues to be an integral member of our team."

Biopharma leader Shafique Virani, M.D., joins QurAlis' board of directors

QurAlis also announced the appointment of Shafique (Shaf) Virani, M.D., to its board of directors.

Dr. Roet said, "I am delighted to welcome Shaf to our board of directors. His success as a biopharma leader has given hope to patients around the world, and his perspectives will help QurAlis build our capabilities, drive growth for our investors, and realize our vision of accelerating the development of life-changing medicines to help patients with serious neurodegenerative and neurological diseases."

"Having spent most of my career in neuroscience, I am excited about QurAlis' groundbreaking science and its robust pipeline and platforms," said Dr. Virani. "QurAlis' pioneering approach could revolutionize how we treat serious neurodegenerative diseases and offers tremendous hope to patients, particularly those with intractable diseases like ALS for which there remains significant unmet medical need. I am impressed by QurAlis' leadership and look forward to working with Kasper and the leadership team and my fellow board members to grow the business and shareholder value and pursue QurAlis' mission to improve patients' lives."

Dr. Virani currently serves as chief business officer at Noetik, Inc., an AI-native biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing cancer therapies. Before joining Noetik in March 2024, he served as Recursion's chief business officer for four years, as well as interim chief medical officer for half that time. At Recursion, Dr. Virani was instrumental in forging transformative partnerships with Bayer and Roche/Genentech, the latter being one of the largest drug discovery partnerships ever consummated in industry. Previously, Dr. Virani was chief executive officer (CEO) of Navire Pharma and CoA Therapeutics, each a subsidiary of BridgeBio Pharma, Inc., where he also served as CEO-in-residence.

Prior to BridgeBio, Dr. Virani assumed a 13-year-long tenure at Genentech/Roche in several senior roles, most recently as vice president, business development, licensing M&A, and global head of neuroscience, rare disease, and ophthalmology partnering. There, he helped build a portfolio of medicines including Evrysdi® (risdiplam) for spinal muscular atrophy, Enspryng® (satralizumab-mwge) for neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder, and several therapeutics in the mid-to-late-stage clinical pipeline via licensing and acquisitions. Dr. Virani trained as a neurosurgeon in Cambridge, UK and Boston and received his M.D. from the University of Nottingham, UK.

About QurAlis Corporation
At QurAlis, we are neuro pioneers on a quest to cure. We work with a relentless pursuit of knowledge, a precise attention to craft, and an optimistic mindset to discover and develop effective precision medicines that will alter the trajectory of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and other neurodegenerative diseases. Founded by an internationally recognized team of neurodegenerative biologists from Harvard Medical School and Harvard University, QurAlis is advancing a pipeline with therapeutic candidates that target specific components of ALS and FTD pathology and defined patient populations based on both disease-causing genetic mutation(s) and clinical biomarkers. For more information, please visit www.quralis.com or follow us on X @QurAlisCo or LinkedIn.

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