Voyager Therapeutics to Appoint Omar Khwaja, M.D., Ph.D., as Chief Medical Officer

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 15, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Voyager Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: VYGR), a clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on developing life-changing treatments for severe neurological diseases, today announced the appointment of Omar Khwaja, M.D., Ph.D., as chief medical officer. Dr. Khwaja's background includes extensive research, translational, and clinical therapeutic development experience in neuroscience, neurogenetics and rare disease in both industry and academic roles. Dr. Khwaja is joining Voyager from F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG (Roche) where he most recently served as Global Head of Neuroscience Translational Medicine and Global Head of Rare Diseases.

"We are delighted to welcome Omar to the Voyager team," said Andre Turenne, president and chief executive officer of Voyager Therapeutics. "Omar brings tremendous relevant expertise and will play an instrumental leadership role in advancing our innovative pipeline of gene therapy programs."

During his seven years at Roche, Dr. Khwaja established an integrated discovery and development rare disease unit with clinical development in neuroscience. Within these groups, Dr. Khwaja led the initiation of Roche's first clinical programs in gene therapy and delivered into pivotal trials multiple programs across various therapeutic modalities and indications including spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and Huntington's disease.

"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 Dr. 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, Dr. Khwaja was Director of the Clinical Neurogenetics Program at Boston Children's Hospital and on the faculty of Harvard Medical School. Dr. Khwaja received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK. He trained in pediatrics and clinical genetics in London, UK and Melbourne, Australia and completed his neurology training at Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital, where he was Chief Resident. He is a Member of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom and a Member of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health.  

About Voyager Therapeutics

Voyager Therapeutics is a clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on developing life-changing treatments for severe neurological diseases. Voyager is committed to advancing the field of AAV gene therapy through innovation and investment in vector engineering and optimization, manufacturing and dosing and delivery techniques. Voyager's pipeline focuses on severe neurological diseases in need of effective new therapies, including Parkinson's disease, a monogenic form of ALS called SOD1, Huntington's disease, Friedreich's ataxia, neurodegenerative diseases related to defective or excess aggregation of tau protein in the brain including Alzheimer's disease and severe, chronic pain. Voyager has strategic collaborations with Sanofi Genzyme and AbbVie.  Founded by scientific and clinical leaders in the fields of AAV gene therapy, expressed RNA interference and neuroscience, Voyager Therapeutics is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements for the purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and other federal securities laws. The use of words such as "may," "might," "will," "would," "should," "expect," "plan," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "undoubtedly," "project," "intend," "future," "potential," or "continue," and other similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. For example, all statements Voyager makes regarding the appointment and employment of Dr. Khwaja, the initiation, timing, progress and reporting of results of its preclinical programs and clinical trials and its research and development programs, its ability to advance its AAV-based gene therapies into, and successfully initiate, enroll and complete, clinical trials, the potential clinical utility of its product candidates, its ability to continue to develop its gene therapy platform, its ability to develop manufacturing capability for its products and successfully transition its manufacturing process, its ability to perform under existing collaborations with, among others, Sanofi Genzyme and AbbVie and to add new programs to its pipeline, its ability to enter into new partnerships or collaborations, the sufficiency of its cash resources and the regulatory pathway of, and the timing or likelihood of its regulatory filings and approvals for, any of its product candidates, are forward looking. All forward-looking statements are based on estimates and assumptions by Voyager's management that, although Voyager believes to be reasonable, are inherently uncertain. All forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those that Voyager expected.  Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the initiation and conduct of preclinical studies and clinical trials; the availability of data from clinical trials; the expectations for regulatory communications, submissions and approvals; the continued development of the gene therapy platform; Voyager's scientific approach and general development progress; and the availability or commercial potential of Voyager's product candidates. These statements are also subject to a number of material risks and uncertainties that are described in Voyager's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as updated by its subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it was made. Voyager undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

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