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CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Cygnal Therapeutics, the first company to build a platform to develop drugs in the new field of exoneural biology, announced today that John A. Wagner, M.D., Ph.D., has joined the company as chief medical officer (CMO). Since unveiling in 2019, Cygnal has deepened its executive and scientific leadership. Dr. Wagner is the newest member of the leadership team and brings to bear more than 20 years of experience in drug research and development, translational medicine, clinical pharmacology, and portfolio management and prioritization. He is the first executive to take the role of CMO at Cygnal, where he will be a key contributor to the company's scientific strategy and oversee its translation into medicines.

"Exoneural biology is an exciting, fast-growing area. Increasingly, we see that cells and nerves are communicating with and impacting each other in unexpected ways, influencing many different diseases, including cancer and inflammatory diseases. At Cygnal, we've developed a unique, advanced platform to explicate this new area of fundamental biology and uncover promising new targets, and we're steadily expanding our science as the company continues to grow," said Pearl Huang, Ph.D., president and CEO of Cygnal Therapeutics. "John brings a tremendous amount of experience in developing drugs and ushering therapeutics to market, and his extensive knowledge across multiple disease areas complements our broad, multi-disciplinary Exoneural Medicine Platform. With his seasoned clinical and scientific perspective, John will be an important part of driving both our strategy and our science forward."

Dr. Wagner joins Cygnal most recently from Foresite Capital, where he was a venture partner. Prior to Foresite, he served as senior vice president and head of translational research and early clinical at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. He also spent a number of years at Merck in various leadership roles and has served as a senior consultant to the National Academy of Science at the Institute of Medicine. Throughout his career in the life sciences, Dr. Wagner has been responsible for more than 150 introductions-to-humans and instrumental to the clinical development, clinical pharmacology, and regulatory filings of numerous drugs across multiple therapeutic areas, including Januvia (sitagliptin) and Zolinza (vorinostat). Dr. Wagner is on the board of directors of Stargazer Pharmaceuticals, is the editor-in-chief of Clinical and Translational Science, and is a member of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health Biomarkers Consortium executive committee. He received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University and his M.D. from Stanford University, where he also completed both his postdoctoral work and medical residency.

"When I first heard of Cygnal's approach, I was highly intrigued. Exoneural biology is an exciting and foundational way to understand the connection between nerves and cells—and the impact on human health and disease," said Dr. Wagner. "Cygnal's innovative approach and science have the potential to help patients in oncology, inflammatory disease, and more. I'm pleased to be joining this talented team to advance a new generation of exoneural medicines."

To learn more about Cygnal, exoneural biology, and Dr. Wagner, please visit Cygnal's website.

About Cygnal Therapeutics
Founded by Flagship Pioneering in 2017, Cygnal Therapeutics is the first company to build a platform to develop drugs in the new field of exoneural biology, an unprecedented way of thinking about nerves and peripheral neural pathways outside of traditional neurobiology. Fueled by its proprietary Exoneural Medicine Platform™, Cygnal has generated evidence showing exoneurogenesis is a hallmark of cancer, playing a critical role in the invasion, proliferation, and migration of tumors. Cygnal data also suggests that neuroimmune crosstalk plays a role in antitumor immunity, inflammatory diseases, and gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, as well as a host of other diseases. Learn more at