Roche R&D exec leaves pharma for biotech, joins Voyager Therapeutics

Jan 15, 2019

Voyager Therapeutics, a clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on developing treatments for severe neurological diseases, announced the appointment of Omar Khwaja, M.D., Ph.D., as chief medical officer. Khwaja’s background includes extensive research, translational, and clinical therapeutic development experience in neuroscience, neurogenetics and rare disease in both industry and academic roles. He most recently was with Roche where Khwaja was the global head of neuroscience translational medicine and global head of rare diseases.

During his seven years at Roche, Khwaja established an integrated discovery and development rare disease unit with clinical development in neuroscience. Within these groups, Khwaja led the initiation of Roche’s first clinical programs in gene therapy and delivered multiple programs across various therapeutic modalities and indications.

“Voyager is at the forefront of developing AAV gene therapy and its potential to deliver, with a one-time administration, the transgenes that address the underlying causes of many severe neurological diseases,” said Khwaja. “Translating this type of incredible science into therapies is something that I am passionate about, and I am thrilled to be joining the Voyager team.”

Before joining Roche, Khwaja was director of the clinical neurogenetics program at Boston Children’s Hospital and on the faculty of Harvard Medical School.

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