Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc. (AskBio), a wholly owned and independently operated subsidiary of Bayer AG, today announced that Gustavo Pesquin will become the company’s next Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as of March 11, 2023. Pesquin joins AskBio from Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he served as Chief Commercial Officer.
Sheila Mikhail, Co-Founder and the company’s first CEO, will transition to a part-time role as Adviser/Co-Founder, also effective March 11, 2023. Mikhail will remain a member of AskBio’s Board.
Under Mikhail’s leadership as CEO since 2017, AskBio has grown to over 800 employees operating in five countries and has advanced six therapeutics through IND, including potential treatments for congestive heart failure, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple system atrophy, Pompe disease and limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2I/R9. Under her leadership, AskBio built two contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) businesses, Viralgen Vector Core SL and TAAV Biomanufacturing Solutions SL. In her new role, Mikhail will continue to support the strategic direction and growth of AskBio. She will also continue to support Columbus Children’s Foundation (CCF) in its development of gene therapies for ultra-rare diseases.
“I co-founded AskBio, along with Drs. Richard Jude Samulski and Xiao Xiao, to develop AAV gene therapies for patients suffering from devastating diseases with no treatment options,” said Mikhail. “I’m tremendously proud of the contributions made by our team. They have made critical scientific discoveries and pioneered transformative clinical programs. My focus over the last several years has been to assemble the world’s leading experts in gene therapy to solve technological problems and create new clinical programs. Today we are in the clinic with treatments for multiple diseases, and through our subsidiaries we are the leading manufacturer of synthetic DNA and AAV vectors at commercial scale. I look forward to working with Gustavo as AskBio continues to pursue its strategic vision.”
“Sheila’s extraordinary leadership moved AskBio from an idea to a strongly positioned global biotech that is advancing multiple products into clinical studies, with direct paths to pivotal trials, marketing approval and manufacturing,” stated Stefan Oelrich, Member of the Board of Management, Bayer, and President of Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division. “We are grateful for her contributions and pleased she will continue to work closely with us as an Adviser and Board member. Under Gustavo’s leadership as the new CEO, I am confident that AskBio will continue to advance its world-class therapeutics and manufacturing operations, further its work as a cornerstone of the Bayer CGT Platform and set itself apart from its peers. We are excited about the future and look forward to working with Gustavo.”
In addition to his experience as Chief Commercial Officer at Amneal, Pesquin brings to AskBio his more than 10 years of experience at Sanofi, a leading global pharmaceutical company, where he served in leadership roles of increasing responsibility, including North America Head for General Medicines as well as Global Head of the Diabetes and Cardiovascular Franchise. Prior to Sanofi, he held Regional Head, General Manager, Sales Head and Strategy Head roles at Abbott and Pfizer; Brand Management roles at Procter & Gamble; and consultant roles with Boston Consulting Group. Pesquin received an MBA with a concentration in Management and Strategy, Finance and Accounting from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in Public and Business Administration from Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Argentina.
“I couldn’t be more excited to join a team that has been at the forefront of a scientific revolution. It’s humbling to continue Sheila’s legacy and to work with colleagues of such an incredibly high scientific caliber,” added Pesquin. “I think we have the opportunity to help patients in a way that was unthinkable not long ago. It’s very energizing to join an organization with such purpose.”