Capstan Therapeutics Announces Appointment of Athena Countouriotis, M.D., as Board Chair and Strengthens Leadership Team with Key Appointment

– Dr. Countouriotis brings nearly two decades of leadership experience across pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, leading the development of multiple oncology programs through approval

– Michael Rosenzweig, DVM, Ph.D., appointed Executive Vice President, Portfolio Strategy and Product Development

SAN DIEGO and PHILADELPHIA, October 12, 2022 – Capstan Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company dedicated to developing and delivering precise in vivo cell engineering to patients, today announced the appointment of experienced biotechnology leader Athena Countouriotis, M.D., as Board Chair and Michael Rosenzweig, DVM, Ph.D., as Executive Vice President, Portfolio Strategy and Product Development.

“We are thrilled Athena will be leading our Board and providing senior counsel to our team from her deep experience leading the development of multiple development programs to approval. Her strategic insights will be invaluable to us as we make continued progress towards our goal of delivering precise in vivo cell engineering to patients,” said Laura Shawver, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Capstan Therapeutics. “We are further pleased to welcome Michael to our expanding leadership team as we harness the breakthrough scientific discoveries of our founders to advance a robust pipeline of therapeutic candidates for oncology, autoimmune disease, blood disorders and fibrosis.”

Dr. Countouriotis most recently served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Turning Point Therapeutics until its $4.1 billion sale to Bristol Myers Squibb in August 2022. Prior to her role as President and CEO, she was Chief Medical Officer at several biotechnology companies, including Turning Point, Adverum Biotechnologies, Halozyme Therapeutics and Ambit Biosciences. At Ambit she helped lead the company’s initial public offering and was responsible for the clinical development of quizartinib until the company’s acquisition by Daiichi Sankyo in November 2014. Earlier in her career, Dr. Countouriotis led various clinical development organizations within Pfizer and Bristol Myers Squibb for oncology therapeutics including Sutent ®, Mylotarg™, Bosulif ® and Sprycel ®. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Iovance Biotherapeutics, Passage Bio, Recludix Pharma and Leal Therapeutics.

“Capstan’s potential to invent novel clinical paradigms for patients represents an exciting new chapter for the fields of cell therapy, gene editing and mRNA therapeutics. From broadening the indications each of these technologies can address, to streamlining manufacturing, to delivering these medicines to patients in an earlier-line treatment settings, Capstan’s in vivo cell engineering approach holds tremendous promise to transform clinical practice and overcome many of the hurdles the field currently faces,” said Dr. Countouriotis. “I am thrilled to be working with Laura, her inspiring team and Capstan’s esteemed founders, to rapidly advance this pioneering area of medicine.”

In addition to Dr. Countouriotis’ appointment, Michael Rosenzweig, DVM, Ph.D., joins Capstan’s leadership team as Executive Vice President, Portfolio Strategy and Product Development to lead the selection and advancement of Capstan’s therapeutic programs. Dr. Rosenzweig most recently served as an Entrepreneur in Residence at RA Ventures. He has more than two decades of experience across pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including leading oncology and immunology discovery at Merck Research Labs as well as in leadership roles at Immunext and ToleRx. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Bright Peak and the Scientific Advisory Board of Avilar.

“Capstan’s technology represents a significant new step forward in the effort to unlock the full potential of mRNA-based medicine and to deliver new applications of this technology for patients across a wider range of diseases,” said Dr. Rosenzweig. “I am thrilled to be joining this team at this exciting time, to continue to advance Capstan’s programs across oncology, autoimmune disease, blood disorders, fibrosis and stem cell editing.”

About Capstan (

Capstan Therapeutics is advancing precision in vivo cell engineering to develop therapeutics for a broad range of disease categories with unmet or underserved clinical need. The core technology comprises targeted Lipid Nanoparticles (tLNPs) to enable engineering or ablation of pathogenic cells in the body. The company is combining the power of cell therapy with the precision of genetic medicines to develop new treatment options for patients for oncology, fibrosis, inflammation-related diseases, and monogenic blood disorders. The Company is cofounded by pioneers in the field of CAR-based immunotherapy, nucleic acid drug delivery, tLNPs, and regenerative medicine, including experienced industry leaders, as well as academic faculty members from the University of Pennsylvania. Launched in 2022 with $165 million in Series A and seed financing from Novartis Venture Fund, OrbiMed, RA Capital, Vida Ventures, Polaris Partners, Alexandria Venture Investments, Pfizer Ventures, Leaps by Bayer, Eli Lilly and Company and Bristol Myers Squibb, Capstan has a bicoastal presence with operations in San Diego, CA and Philadelphia, PA. For more information, please visit and follow us on LinkedIn.

Patrick Jeanmart
Chief Financial Officer
Capstan Therapeutics
[email protected]

Rebecca Spalding
Ten Bridge Communications
+1 646-509-3831
[email protected]

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