Skip to content

- Comprised of an experienced leadership team, visionary investors, and renowned scientists in cell therapy, gene therapy, and gene editing

- Brings together a portfolio of potential medicines and technologies

- Led by Steve Harr, M.D. as CEO and Hans Bishop as Executive Chairman

SEATTLE, Jan. 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Sana Biotechnology, Inc. (Sana), a new company focused on creating and delivering engineered cells as medicines for patients, announced its launch today. Recent scientific advances make it possible to reprogram cells in the body or replace damaged cells and tissues, creating a new class of medicines to treat a broad array of diseases.

Sana is bringing together research, development, and manufacturing capabilities across cell therapy, gene therapy, and gene editing as well as a team of executives, board members, investors, and scientists with deep experience in these areas.

"Cell and gene engineering provide the opportunity to address the underlying cause of disease and provide benefits to patients that have previously been not possible," said Steve Harr, Sana Co-Founder and CEO. "There are challenges in making and delivering these kinds of medicines to patients, but also the opportunity to treat illnesses that today have few, if any, options. Our goal with Sana is to bring together the people, technologies, and resources needed to address these challenges, changing both how we approach treating disease and what we expect as outcomes for patients."

The company is building critical core capabilities around –

  • Making cells at scale ex vivo to replace any damaged or missing cells in the body,
  • In vivo delivery to specific cell types of any payload – including DNA, RNA, and proteins to reprogram cells,
  • Immunology expertise to hide allogeneic cells (cells from a donor) or delivery vehicles from the immune system so that the body does not reject or eliminate them,
  • Controllable gene and protein expression systems,
  • Scaled, cost-efficient manufacturing solutions, and
  • Discovery and development of new technologies that will enable the ultimate breadth of application of cell and gene engineering.

"I am thrilled to join the leadership team and board as we launch Sana," said Hans Bishop, Co-Founder and Executive Chair of Sana. "We have assembled a scientific team and a portfolio of potential medicines and technologies from proven scientific innovators, including Flagship Pioneering, Harvard University, the University of California San Francisco, and the University of Washington School of Medicine. I look forward to working again with ARCH Venture Partners, focusing on advancing the technologies in the company today as well as bringing in additional technologies and capabilities to make our vision around engineered cells a reality."

"Flagship Pioneering originates companies that apply new biological breakthroughs to tackle the most intractable challenges in health, and we believe Sana is one of those companies," said Noubar Afeyan, Sana Co-Founder and Founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering. "We are thrilled about the opportunity to combine the novel, cell-specific in vivo gene delivery platforms pioneered during several years of R&D within Flagship Labs with the other technologies and potential medicines to form Sana. We look forward to collaborating with our co-founders and partners to develop this best-in-class company."

"ARCH partners with experienced, world-class management teams to assemble the technology, talent, and capital to create companies that solve big problems for patients," said Robert Nelsen, Sana Co-Founder and Managing Director and Co-Founder of ARCH Venture Partners. "We believe the time is right to commit the resources needed to create a new pillar of medicine that not only treats disease, but hopefully cures it. Sana is a unique company in a transformative time in science, and we believe this team, combined with its co-founders, has the experience, creativity and know-how to make a big impact on medicine."

Founding Executive Team

  • Steve Harr, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Sunil Agarwal, M.D., Chief Development Officer and Head of Portfolio Strategy
  • Chad Cowan, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer
  • Andy May, DPhil, Chief Technology Officer
  • Robin Andrulevich, Chief People Officer
  • Nate Hardy, Chief Financial Officer
  • Christian Hordo, Chief Business Officer
  • James MacDonald, General Counsel

Founding Board of Directors

  • Hans Bishop, Executive Chair, former Chief Executive Officer of Juno Therapeutics, Inc.
  • Richard Mulligan, Ph.D., Executive Vice Chair, Mallinckrodt Professor of Genetics, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School
  • Steve Harr, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Sana
  • Noubar Afeyan, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Flagship Pioneering
  • Tom Daniel, M.D., former President, Research and Early Development, Celgene
  • Stephen Knight, M.D., President and Managing Partner, F-Prime Capital
  • Robert Nelsen, co-founder and Managing Director of ARCH Venture Partners
  • Don Payan, M.D., founder and former Chief Scientific Officer, Rigel Pharmaceuticals
  • Pat Yang, Ph.D., former EVP and Head of Technical Operations, Roche/Genentech
  • Geoffrey von Maltzahn, Ph.D., Partner, Flagship Pioneering

Founding Scientists

  • David Baker, Ph.D., Director of the Institute for Protein Design, University of Washington School of Medicine, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator
  • Chad Cowan, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
  • Richard Mulligan, Ph.D., Mallinckrodt Professor of Genetics, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School
  • Chuck Murry, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine
  • Sonja Schrepfer, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery, Director of TSI Lab University of California San Francisco
  • Scientific team at Flagship Labs led by Geoffrey von Maltzahn, Ph.D.


  • ARCH Venture Partners & F-Prime Capital

About Sana
Sana Biotechnology, Inc. is focused on creating and delivering engineered cells as medicine for patients. We are a team of scientists, clinicians and biotechnology veterans focused on creating an enduring company that makes meaningful medicines and changes how we approach treating disease. Sana has operations in Seattle, WA, Cambridge, MA and South San Francisco, CA.

Edward Lang