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Press Release

Cydan Announces the Promotion of James McArthur, Ph.D. to President, Research and Development

Cydan Development,Inc.
Posted on: 11 Oct 16

Cydan Development, Inc., an orphan drug accelerator dedicated to creating therapies that improve the lives of people living with rare genetic diseases, announced the promotion of James McArthur, Ph.D. to president, research and development. In this role, he will be responsible for continuing to build the company’s rare disease pipeline and creating companies to advance the most promising candidates into clinical development. Dr. McArthur is a co-founder of Cydan Development and previously served as chief scientific officer at the company.

“James’ deep expertise in genetic diseases and drug development is invaluable to our mission to create therapies for people living with a monogenic disease,” said Chris Adams, Ph.D., MBA, founder and chief executive officer at Cydan. “He has led the R&D effort to produce Cydan’s robust portfolio of rare disease companies and pipeline of assets in development.”

In addition to his responsibilities at Cydan, Dr. McArthur is also assuming the role of chief executive officer at Imara, the second company launched by Cydan since 2013. Imara is focused on developing potentially disease-modifying therapeutics for the treatment of sickle cell disease and other hemoglobinopathies.

“Cydan brings a unique approach to identify compelling therapeutic drug candidates and then de-risks them efficiently and rapidly to the point of clinical development,” said Dr. McArthur. “I’m proud of the work we’ve completed, to date, launching Vtesse and Imara and building Cydan’s pipeline of programs in multiple therapeutic areas. I look forward to working with our team to advance orphan drugs in to the clinic.”

Before co-founding Cydan in 2013, Dr. McArthur was an entrepreneur-in-residence at HealthCare Ventures where he founded and served as chief scientific officer of Synovex, a company focused on developing a novel therapeutic antibody for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and fibrotic diseases. Synovex, renamed Adheron, was acquired by Roche. Earlier in his career, he held roles of increasing responsibility at Phylogix Inc, a stem cell biology company, and Cell Genesys Inc, a leader in gene therapy.

James was a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. in molecular oncology and BSc in biochemistry from McGill University in Montreal. He currently is a member of the Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board of the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA).

About Cydan Development, Inc.

Cydan is an orphan drug accelerator dedicated to creating therapies that impact the lives of people living with rare genetic diseases. Cydan evaluates products for treating such diseases with high unmet medical need with the goal to start companies to develop promising therapies. Cydan’s first new company, Vtesse, was launched in January 2015 and is developing drugs for Niemann-Pick Disease Type C (NPC) and other rare, severe diseases with great unmet need. Cydan was founded in 2013 by a management team with extensive drug discovery, clinical development and business development experience and financed by leading life sciences investors NEA, Pfizer Venture Investments, Lundbeckfond Ventures, Bay City Capital and Alexandria Venture Investments.

The accelerator is based in Tech Square in Cambridge, Mass. For more information, please visit or contact us at

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Business Wire

Last updated on: 11/10/2016

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