top of page



Xalud Therapeutics Announces the Expansion of Its Strategic Advisors


Members include luminary scientific leaders in gene therapy, chronic inflammatory diseases and drug development


NEW YORK CITY, July 13, 2021 – Xalud Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel non-viral gene therapies to treat pathologic inflammation through immune modulation, today announced relationships with additional independent strategic advisors. Michael Ehlers, M.D., Ph.D., chief scientific officer and venture partner at Apple Tree Partners and chief executive officer of two portfolio companies; Mace Rothenberg, M.D., former chief medical officer at Pfizer; Tarek Samad, Ph.D., senior vice president and global head of research at Lundbeck; and Matt Walker, senior vice president, head of industrial operations for GSK Vaccines, will work closely with senior management to provide strategic input and direction for Xalud’s R&D, operations and commercial activities.

“Our mission is to transform the treatment landscape for chronic inflammatory diseases with our non- viral gene therapy platform for hundreds of millions of patients that are currently suffering. We are thoughtfully assembling an advisory team that brings tremendous experience and a record of success in R&D, clinical development and manufacturing to realize this goal,” said Diem Nguyen, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Xalud Therapeutics. “The broad range of expertise of our strategic advisors will enable Xalud to translate the promising science behind our lead therapeutic candidate, XT-150, into the development of differentiated therapies across multiple indications. We aim to build a leading gene therapy company addressing significant need that exists today for millions of patients.”

Dr. Ehlers commented, “Xalud’s preclinical package is one of the most promising I’ve seen in the fields of inflammation and neuroscience. The data gathered to date suggest that XT-150 holds great promise for shifting the paradigm in how we address chronic inflammatory disease and neurological disorders, and I look forward to contributing to the clinical success of this platform.”

Dr. Rothenberg added, “I am impressed with the team that Diem has assembled and the scientific underpinnings of the company. With its innovative non-viral gene therapy platform and talented leadership team, I believe that Xalud is well positioned to advance XT-150 in clinical development as a potential treatment for patients with chronic inflammatory diseases. This remains an area of significant unmet medical need impacting the lives of hundreds of millions of people worldwide.”

The addition of these strategic advisors complements an existing team of esteemed independent scientists and clinicians covering Xalud’s key areas of research in inflammation, chronic pain and gene therapy. Industry experts will provide scientific review and guidance to the company around its R&D and related business activities. The newly appointed advisors include the following industry veterans:

Michael Ehlers, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Michael Ehlers is chief scientific officer and venture partner at Apple Tree Partners (ATP), a leading life sciences fund. He is also chief executive officer of two ATP portfolio companies, each cutting-edge startup biotechnology companies focused on genetic medicines and gene therapy. Previously, he served

as an executive vice president at Biogen and senior vice president, Neuroscience at Pfizer. Dr. Ehlers’ experience will be vital in Xalud’s expansion to preclinical and clinical development to address other neurological disorders.

Mace Rothenberg, M.D.

Dr. Mace L. Rothenberg is a physician-executive with more than 30 years of experience in drug development, translational research and risk-benefit assessment. Dr. Rothenberg served as chief medical officer of Pfizer from 2019 to 2021 and previously was Pfizer’s head of clinical development & medical affairs for oncology from 2008 to 2016, and was chief development officer for oncology from 2016 to 2018. Prior to joining Pfizer, Dr. Rothenberg was professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University and Ingram professor of cancer research at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center from 1998 to 2008. Dr. Rothenberg will help shape Xalud’s development strategies to maximize access to millions of patients safely and effectively.

Tarek Samad, Ph.D.

Dr. Tarek Samad is senior vice president and global head of research at Lundbeck. He has over two decades of experience in academia and industry, leading small molecule and antibody biologic programs into the clinic. Prior to joining Lundbeck, Dr. Samad was the chief scientific officer at Immunitas Therapeutics and head of Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Research at Sanofi, overseeing a portfolio spanning from early discovery to Phase 2 clinical stage. Before joining Sanofi, he was head of Neurodegeneration Research and Neuroinflammation Research at Pfizer. Dr. Samad’s breadth of experiences in neuroimmunology will inform our preclinical efforts to diversify our platform.

Matt Walker

Matt Walker is senior vice president, head of industrial operations for GSK Vaccines, the global leader in vaccines with over $7B in annual sales. In this role, he leads more than 10,000 colleagues responsible for product supply of 40 commercial vaccines to over 60 countries and 40% of the world’s children. Adept at strategic planning and implementation, Mr. Walker leads engineering, manufacturing, supply and environmental, health and safety across GSK’s Vaccines business. Previously, Mr. Walker was executive vice president, head of technical operations for Shire Pharmaceuticals and served in several diverse leadership roles with Pfizer. Mr. Walker’s operational depth will enable Xalud to bring safe medicines to patients on a global scale.

Xalud’s full list of strategic advisors can be found here.


About Xalud Therapeutics

Xalud Therapeutics is a biotechnology company developing a non-viral gene therapy platform to treat pathologic inflammation through immune modulation. The company is harnessing the power of interleukin-10 (IL-10), a potent cytokine that acts as a master regulator for multiple inflammatory pathways, to address the root cause of inflammation and subsequently restore homeostasis in the immune system. Xalud’s lead product candidate, XT-150, is a locally injectable plasmid DNA gene therapy expressing IL-10v, a proprietary modified variant of IL-10, that addresses pathologic inflammation and pain.

Media Contact

Kara Stephens-Weaver
LifeSci Communications


bottom of page