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CHICAGO, July 11, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AveXis, Inc. (Nasdaq:AVXS), a clinical-stage gene therapy company developing treatments for patients suffering from rare and life-threatening neurological genetic diseases, today announced the appointment of Michael B. Johannesen to the executive management team as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer.
Mr. Johannesen brings to AveXis nearly 20 years of legal experience within the global pharmaceutical, medical device and healthcare products industries, and is responsible for all aspects of the company’s legal and compliance functions, as well as human resources. Johannesen will report to Sean P. Nolan, President and CEO of AveXis.
“As AveXis continues to grow and mature, we were eager to round out the management team with someone with extensive legal experience,” said Mr. Nolan. “With his deep knowledge of the industry and proven success, I am pleased to welcome Michael as general counsel and chief compliance officer.”
Michael B. Johannesen, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer
Mr. Johannesen has served as Vice President and Associate General Counsel at Hospira, where he was responsible for the commercial and compliance functions of Hospira’s legal department. Prior to joining Hospira, Mr. Johannesen worked as an attorney in the legal departments of Abbott Laboratories and Whirlpool Corporation. Mr. Johannesen began his legal career at Winston & Strawn in Chicago.
Mr. Johannesen earned his juris doctorate degree from the University of Michigan Law School and a bachelor's degree in political science and public administration from the University of Illinois.
SMA is a severe neuromuscular disease characterized by the loss of motor neurons leading to progressive muscle weakness and paralysis. SMA is caused by a genetic defect in the SMN1 gene that codes SMN, a protein necessary for survival of motor neurons. The incidence of SMA is approximately one in 10,000 live births.
The most severe form of SMA is Type 1, a lethal genetic disorder characterized by motor neuron loss and associated muscle deterioration, which results in mortality or the need for permanent ventilation support before the age of two for greater than 90 percent of patients. SMA Type 1 is the leading genetic cause of infant mortality.
AVXS-101 is a proprietary gene therapy candidate of a one-time treatment for SMA Type 1 and is the only clinical-stage gene therapy in development for SMA. AVXS-101 is designed to address the monogenetic root cause of SMA and prevent further muscle degeneration by addressing the defective and/or loss of the primary SMN gene. AVXS-101 also targets motor neurons providing rapid onset of effect, and crosses the blood brain barrier allowing an IV dosing route and effective targeting of both central and systemic features.
About AveXis, Inc.
AveXis is a clinical-stage gene therapy company developing treatments for patients suffering from rare and life-threatening neurological genetic diseases. The company’s initial proprietary gene therapy candidate, AVXS-101, is in an ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial for the treatment of SMA Type 1. For additional information, please visit www.avexis.com.