AVI BioPharma names new CEO

On Monday, AVI BioPharma announced that Chris Garabedian would become CEO and president as of January 1, 2011, while interim CEO, J. David Boyle II, would continue as CFO and senior vice president.

AVI BioPharma is a company that focuses on the development and discovery of new RNA-based therapeutics for infectious and rare diseases.

“There is a meaningful opportunity at AVI for near-term success with our proprietary development program in the important rare disease area of Duchenne muscular dystrophy,” Garabedian said. “In addition, the U.S. government-funded infectious disease programs in Ebola, Marburg and influenza may yield several NDA opportunities while enabling AVI to expand its research and development capabilities.”

Garabedian had served as a director and board member since June. He has a great deal of pharmaceutical and biotechnology experience throughout commercial operations, corporate development and medical affairs, including a stint as the vice president of corporate strategy at Celgene Corporation since July 2007. He had worked in several important roles at Gilead Sciences between 1997 and 2005.

“We believe Chris’ experience is ideal for driving products from early development through commercialization, while also leveraging business development opportunities to unlock further value from our RNA-based therapeutics technology platforms,” William Goolsbee, AVI’s chairman, said. “Furthermore, his experiences at two of the industry’s most successful biopharmaceutical companies are directly applicable to AVI as we seek to transform our highly innovative technologies into a new class of therapeutics while also building a successful company for the long term.”