AVI BioPharma appoints new chief scientific officer

On Monday, AVI BioPharma, Inc., a Washington state biopharmaceutical company that develops RNA-based therapeutics to battle against illnesses and biological threats, appointed Dr. Peter S. Linsley as its new chief scientific officer.

Linsley was previously the chief scientific officer of Regulus Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on drugs targeting microRNAs. Before that, he was the executive director of cancer biology at Merck Research Laboratories, the Portland Business Journal reports.

"Peter's rare combination of RNA-specific thought-leadership and drug discovery expertise positions him to play an integral role in establishing AVI's PMO-based chemistry as a leading medical technology," Chris Garabedian, the president and CEO of AVI BioPharma, said in a statement, according to the Portland Business Journal.

Linsley’s appointment comes on the heels of a year in which the company landed $1.2 million worth of major research deals and grants. These deals included one with the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency for the study of swine flu and a military contract to examine the protection of soldiers from biological threats.

AVI BioPharma has undergone multiple changes recently, including a headquarter move from Portland to Bothell, Washington, the appointment of Dr. Stephen Shrewsbury as chief medical officer in 2009 and the hiring of Garabedian as CEO in December.