Rocket Pharmaceuticals announces leadership expansion to support company on evolution towards commercial stage

Cranbury-based Rocket Pharmaceuticals on Wednesday said it expanded its leadership team to support its growing and industry-leading pipeline of AAV and LV gene therapy assets and evolution towards commercial stage.

Dr. Jonathan Schwartz was appointed chief gene therapy officer to enhance the company’s focus on strategic application of gene therapy technologies to current and future therapeutic areas.

Additionally, Dr. Mark White joined Rocket as chief medical officer following more than 25 years at AstraZeneca where he gained deep expertise in late-stage drug development and commercialization across small and large molecules, vaccines and therapeutic areas including rare diseases.

“Today’s news represents another exciting and important step forward in our leadership team as we make meaningful strides in our evolution towards commercial stage, adding deep late-stage development expertise and commercial experience to our team along with intensified focus on applying our technologies and successes to date across our pipeline,” Dr. Gaurav Shah, chief executive officer, Rocket Pharma said. “Jonathan’s exceptional scientific and clinical thought leadership will help unlock the full potential of gene therapy platforms for our pipeline and help advance the industry at large. At the same time, I am excited to welcome Mark as CMO who brings an extensive track record of success and deep insight in leading late-stage drug development and execution; he arrives at the perfect time in our growth. Taken together, with Jonathan, Mark and the rest of our exceptionally experienced and talented leadership team, we are well positioned to actively usher in the next stage of Rocket Pharma.”

Schwartz joined Rocket as Chief Medical Officer in 2016 and has been instrumental in crafting and advancing our six disclosed gene therapy programs with compelling clinical and/or preclinical proof of concept. As Chief Gene Therapy Officer, Schwartz will oversee research, deepen relationships with external collaborators, and offer a pointed focus on clinical strategy and pipeline expansion.

White most recently served as global franchise head, Respiratory and Inflammation at AstraZeneca and brings expertise in clinical development, global regulatory submissions, and commercial and business strategy. Among his prior positions, White was the program lead for multiple innovative medicines leading them through late-stage development, approvals and launches around the globe, including Myalept (metreleptin) at the time of U.S. approval and launch for the ultra-rare condition of generalized lipodystrophy, Saphnelo (anifrolumab) for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and the influenza vaccine portfolio at MedImmune. In prior roles, White held positions in global marketing, portfolio strategy, clinical development in the design and delivery of clinical pharmacology trials and as a late-stage clinical lead for multiple Phase 3 trials and regulatory submissions.