Somerville, MA – August 30, 2019
Finch Therapeutics Group, Inc., a clinical-stage microbiome therapeutic platform company, announced today that Zain Kassam, MD, MPH, has been appointed Chief Medical Officer (CMO) effective September 1, 2019. Dr. Kassam will lead the advancement of Finch’s microbiome therapeutics for recurrent C. difficile infection, ulcerative colitis, and autism spectrum disorder through the clinical development and regulatory submission process. Dr. Kassam succeeds Dr. Ulrich Thienel, who will be stepping down from his role at Finch to accept a position as Chief Executive Officer at another company.
Dr. Kassam, a Finch co-founder, currently holds the position of Executive Vice President of Clinical Development and Translational Medicine at Finch. Dr. Kassam was also a founding team member of OpenBiome, a nonprofit organization that provides access to fecal microbiota transplants, and previously served as OpenBiome’s CMO. As the CMO at OpenBiome, he played a pivotal role in the establishment of the nation’s first public stool bank and pioneered the development of donor screening protocols that have become the industry standard.
Dr. Kassam previously served as a Scientific Advisory Board Member for the American Gastroenterological Association Center for Gut Microbiome Research & Education, and has authored over 150 peer-reviewed publications and abstracts. He has been involved in more than 25 prospective microbiome therapeutic studies, including the first randomized trials in ulcerative colitis and hepatic encephalopathy. Dr. Kassam was named to the Top 40 under 40 Healthcare Innovator List by MedTech.
Dr. Kassam received his Master of Public Health degree from Harvard University with a focus on biostatistics, epidemiology and clinical trials, and completed post-doctoral training at MIT in microbiome engineering. He received his MD from Western University in London, Canada, and completed his Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology training at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.
“We are delighted to have Zain serve as our Chief Medical Officer,” said Mark Smith, PhD, CEO of Finch. “His unparalleled understanding of the human gut microbiome, extensive clinical trial experience, and incredibly strong drive to make a positive difference in the lives of patients battling serious conditions, make him uniquely well positioned to lead our clinical organization as we work to bring our therapies to patients in need.”
About Finch Therapeutics
Finch Therapeutics Group, Inc. (Finch) is developing novel microbiome therapeutics to serve patients with serious unmet medical needs. Built on 30 years of translational research at OpenBiome, MIT, University of Minnesota and the Center for Digestive Diseases, Finch uses Human-First Discovery™ to develop therapies from microbes that have demonstrated clinically significant impacts on patient outcomes. Finch is unique in having both a donor-derived Full-Spectrum Microbiota® (FSM®) product platform and a Rationally-Selected Microbiota® (RSM™) product platform based on microbes grown in pure culture. Finch’s lead program, CP101, is an investigational FSM product with Breakthrough Therapy designation from FDA for prevention of recurrent C. difficile infection. Finch’s RSM platform employs machine-learning to mine Finch’s unique clinical datasets, reverse engineering successful clinical experience to identify the key microbes driving patient outcomes. Finch is using a rich foundation of clinical data to advance its pipeline, leveraging proof-of-principle results to evaluate target indications and inform the design of this new therapeutic class.
CP101 is not approved in any country. The FDA's Breakthrough Therapy designation does not constitute or guarantee future approval or alter the standards for approval.
Full-Spectrum Microbiota, FSM, Rationally-Selected Microbiota, RSM, and Human-First Discovery are trademarks of Finch Therapeutics Group, Inc.
About Recurrent Clostridium difficile Infection (CDI)
Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is the most common hospital-acquired infection in the United States. CDI is a bacterial infection that causes severe diarrhea and GI distress, and can be life-threatening. CDI often results from disruption of a patient’s microbiome following antibiotic use. Over 500,000 Americans are infected every year, with 25% or more of patients suffering a recurrence, or return of symptoms, resulting in substantial morbidity and healthcare costs.