Amylyx Pharmaceuticals, a company dedicated to developing new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), will install James Frates as chief financial officer (CFO) on Jan. 25, 2021. Frates has currently worked as the CFO of the global biopharma company Alkermes (NSDQ: ALKS) since 1998.
“We are so excited for Jim to join us at this critical juncture for Amylyx,” said Joshua Cohen, co-CEO and co-founder of Cambridge, Mass.-based Amylyx, in a statement. “Jim’s depth and breadth of experience as a biopharmaceutical executive coupled with his financial acumen and personal mission for bringing promising treatments to patients with ALS make him a fantastic addition to our leadership team.”
“Jim brings the unique combination of experience with growing biopharma companies focused on the central nervous system, both as a CFO and a board member, and passion for the people we serve,” said Justin Klee, co-CEO and co-founder of Amylyx in a statement. “Jim clearly embodies our values and we are thrilled to have him join our mission.”
At Alkermes, Frates played a role in growing the company from a clinical-stage to an international enterprise with more than $1 billion in revenue and more than 2,000 employees.
Frates also serves on the board of Sage Therapeutics (NSDQ:SAGE).
A familial connection was part of Frates’ decision to join Amylyx. “We are a close-knit Boston family and when my cousin, Pete, was diagnosed with ALS in 2012, I knew from the beginning I wanted to use my industry experience to help,” Frates said. Few pharma companies, however, are devoting significant resources to studying ALS. “As time went by, it seemed like almost every scientific advance in ALS you heard about ended up failing,” Frates added. “Pete wanted to bring attention and hope to a disease that had made very little progress and worked tirelessly to help find a cure.”
Frates said that his more than two decades of experience as CFO will be helpful to that end. “In my last 22 years as a CFO, I’ve worked with teams to gain approvals, build a successful commercial organization and launch numerous drugs,” he said. Frates intends to raise capital in order to help Amylyx bring, “as quickly as possible, a potential ALS therapy to the patients and families living with this devastating disease,” he added. “Joining Amylyx is a calling to me as the development of AMX0035 was funded in part by the Ice Bucket Challenge which Pete helped to launch,” he continued. “I am proud to be carrying on his efforts to bring hope to those living with ALS, and for those with other neurodegenerative diseases as the company grows.”