CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 11, 2023 — Eterna Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: ERNA) (“Eterna” or the “Company”), a life science company committed to realizing the potential of mRNA cell engineering to provide patients with transformational new medicines, today announced the appointment of Brant Binder and Richard Wagner, Ph.D. to its Board of Directors. Concurrently, Charles Cherington and Nicholas Singer have stepped down from the Board.
“We are delighted to welcome Brant and Richard to our Board. Both bring a wealth of industry expertise, including founding and leading biotechnology companies with a proven history of delivering value for their stakeholders,” said Matt Angel, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and President of Eterna. “We look forward to working together to drive Eterna’s future growth.”
Brant Binder is a seasoned leader and entrepreneur with more than 25 years of strategic expertise building and growing biotechnology companies. Mr. Binder began his career in venture capital and private equity investment at Trust Company of the West. He received a B.S.F.S. in International Relations from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Richard Wagner, Ph.D., is a biotechnology entrepreneur with more than 30 years of experience creating and managing drug discovery innovations. He is an expert in the invention and industrialization of novel technologies to accelerate the discovery of small molecule and biologic therapeutic products. Dr. Wagner received a B.S. in biochemistry from Trinity College and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Brown University.
Since 2007, Mr. Binder and Dr. Wagner have worked together to exploit innovations in the biotechnology field. They recently co-founded and operate Bonito Biosciences, an oligonucleotide therapeutics company. Prior to this, they co-founded ZebiAI Therapeutics, alongside Google, to pioneer the use of machine learning in drug discovery; they sold ZebiAI to Relay Therapeutics, Inc. in 2021. Earlier, they launched X-BODY Biosciences, which developed antibody and T-cell receptor domains for CAR-T applications, and was acquired by Juno Therapeutics. Additionally, they launched X-Chem, Inc., applying DNA encoded libraries of small molecules, which resulted in more than 70 drug discovery programs being licensed to pharma and biotech partners, six spin-out companies, and technology transfer of the platform into major pharma and biotech organizations. X-Chem was acquired twice, once by PPD, Inc. in 2014, and later by GHO Capital in 2020. Both Mr. Binder and Dr. Wagner served in executive operating roles and on the Board of Directors of the foregoing companies.
Mr. Binder commented, “I am eager to contribute to Eterna’s momentum as the Company makes progress supporting the development of next-generation mRNA-based therapeutic products. I look forward to bringing my experience working with growth-stage biotechnology companies as Eterna continues to advance its corporate strategy.”
Dr. Wagner commented, “This is an exciting time to join the Eterna Board following its recent scientific and business achievements. I look forward to working with my fellow Board members and the entire team at Eterna as the Company continues to explore strategic partnerships to expand the reach of its technology.”
Matt Angel added, “On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I would also like to thank Charles and Nicholas for their dedication to Eterna during what has been a monumental year for the Company, including the Company entering into its first income-generating strategic partnership and its recent acquisition of Exacis Biotherapeutics.”
Mr. Singer, who is the Founder and Managing Partner of investment firm Purchase Capital, added, “It has been a privilege to be a part of Eterna’s exciting growth story. I am confident in the team’s continued success and ability to herald transformational new medicines by harnessing its mRNA-based technology portfolio and leveraging existing and future partnerships.”
Mr. Cherington, who is Managing Partner at Ara Partners, commented, “It has been my sincere honor to work alongside this established team as Eterna’s Chairman of its Board of Directors. I am incredibly proud of Eterna’s many achievements and the work management has done to position the Company for long-term success.”
Eterna Therapeutics is a life science company committed to realizing the potential of mRNA cell engineering to provide patients with transformational new medicines. Eterna has in-licensed a portfolio of over 130 patents covering key mRNA cell engineering technologies, including technologies for mRNA cell reprogramming, mRNA gene editing, the NoveSlice™ and UltraSlice™ gene-editing proteins, and the ToRNAdo™ mRNA delivery system from Factor Bioscience. NoveSlice™, UltraSlice™, and ToRNAdo™ are trademarks of Factor Bioscience. For more information, please visit www.eternatx.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which are intended to be covered by the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are any statements that are not statements of historical fact and may be identified by terminology such as “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “plan,” “possible,” “potential,” “project,” “will” or other similar words and the negatives of such words. Forward-looking statements are based on current beliefs and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties and are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results could differ materially from those stated or implied in any forward-looking statement as a result of various factors, including, but not limited to, uncertainties related to: (i) the evolution of Eterna’s business model into a platform company focused on mRNA, iPS cell and gene editing technologies; (ii) Eterna’s ability to successfully, cost-effectively and efficiently develop its technology and products; (iii) Eterna’s ability to successfully commence clinical trials of any products on a timely basis or at all; (iv) Eterna’s ability to successfully fund and manage the growth of its development activities; and (v) Eterna ’s ability to obtain regulatory approvals of its products for commercialization. You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. The forward-looking statements made in this communication speak only as of the date on which they were made, and Eterna does not undertake any obligation to update the forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect events that occur or circumstances that exist after the date hereof, except as required by applicable law. Factors that may cause Eterna’s actual results to differ from those expressed or implied in forward-looking statements contained in this press release are more fully disclosed in Eterna’s periodic public filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, particularly under the heading “Risk Factors” in Eterna’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, as well as under similar headings in Eterna’s subsequently filed Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K.
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