Georgia bio company names new CEO
Wednesday, January 16, 2019 10:29 AM

An Athens, Ga., bio company has named a new CEO. 

ArunA Bio, founded by a University of Georgia professor more than 12 years ago, is developing a type of cell-free biologics called exosomes for the treatment of central nervous system and neurodegenerative disorders.

Mark Sirgo takes over as chief executive from Steve Stice, co-founder and chief scientific officer of ArunA Bio. Sirgo has more than 35 years of pharmaceutical experience, including serving as president and CEO of BioDelivery Sciences International (Nasdaq: BDSI), a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the central nervous system and pain. At BDSI, Sirgo raised nearly $600 million to support the development, FDA approval and commercial launch of three products utilizing the company’s proprietary drug delivery technology. 

Stice directs the company’s clinical and research operations. He is also UGA DW Brooks Distinguished Professor and Director of the Regenerative Bioscience Center, and he holds a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar endowed chair.

“Mark is joining ArunA Bio at a pivotal time in the company’s evolution as we move toward clinical trials and industry collaborations,” Stice said in an announcement. “Mark brings a wealth of pharmaceutical industry experience and a proven track record of successfully building a portfolio of products, raising capital, securing industry partnerships and progressing products through FDA approval and commercialization. With the addition of Mark to the leadership team, I am able to focus completely on my true passion — directing research and scientific development.”

Prior to joining BioDelivery Services, Sirgo spent 16 years in a variety of clinical and commercial leadership positions at Glaxo, Glaxo Wellcome, and GlaxoSmithKline, including vice president of International OTC Development and vice president of New Product Marketing. Sirgo received his BS in pharmacy from Ohio State University and his doctorate in pharmacy from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science.

“I look forward to working closely with Steve, the ArunA team and the Board in raising the visibility of the company by advancing their exciting and novel neural exosome technology into a portfolio of therapeutics both internally and through industry partnerships,” Sirgo said in the announcement. “ArunA Bio has the opportunity to dramatically improve the outcomes for patients suffering from serious and debilitating CNS diseases and cancers by overcoming the challenges of delivering products across the blood brain barrier. I look forward to contributing to the growth and expansion of the company.”