CureDuchenne Names Dr. Jak Knowles as Vice President Medical and Scientific Affairs, Managing Director of CureDuchenne Ventures
Newport Beach, Calif.
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., September 15, 2015 – CureDuchenne, the national nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, announced today that Jak Knowles, MD, has joined the organization as Vice President Medical and Scientific Affairs. Dr. Knowles will also serve as Managing Director of CureDuchenne Ventures, a venture fund formed by CureDuchenne that identifies and invests in high-impact Duchenne muscular dystrophy research. Dr. Knowles will lead this effort from CureDuchenne’s new Cambridge, MA office.
Dr. Knowles has had a career in healthcare spanning over a decade with the last five years focused in biotech venture capital and finance. Most recently, Dr. Knowles was an investment professional in the Boston office of MPM Capital where he worked with the BioVentures Asset Management team to create early-stage companies focused on developing curative therapeutics across a wide spectrum of indications.
“We are delighted to have Dr. Knowles join the CureDuchenne team at such a critical time for the Duchenne community,” said Debra Miller, founder and CEO of CureDuchenne. “Dr. Knowles will play a vital role in helping to continue CureDuchenne’s mission to accelerate drug development to find a cure for all those with Duchenne. Dr. Mike Kelly will continue as CureDuchenne’s Chief Scientific Officer.”
Prior to MPM, Dr. Knowles worked in New York as a biotechnology equities analyst within the investment bank JMP Securities, and with Burrill & Co., a life sciences VC firm. Dr. Knowles began his post-graduate business career working in the health and life sciences consulting practice of Oliver Wyman where he helped implement value-based transformation of hospital systems and physician practices through redesigning disease specific care models. His expertise focused on digital health, clinical decision support, and structuring aligned reimbursement based on patient-centered care.
Dr. Knowles has a medical degree from Stanford University where he graduated with honors in biomedical research, and a B.S. in biology from Binghamton University. Dr. Knowles has authored over a dozen research publications from work performed at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Stanford University, and as part of a NIH sponsored post-doctoral surgical research fellowship.
Duchenne is a fatal genetic disease that causes muscle degeneration, leaving patients wheelchair bound by their mid-teens. The average life expectancy of someone with Duchenne is their mid-20s. Currently there is no approved treatment or cure for Duchenne.
CureDuchenne was founded in 2003 with a focus on saving the lives of those with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a disease that affects more than 300,000 boys worldwide. With support from CureDuchenne the FDA could approve three pharmaceutical treatments within the next year. These treatments may lessen the effects of the disease for those with certain mutations of Duchenne, but there is still much to be done to find a cure. For more information, please visit CureDuchenne.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
About CureDuchenne Ventures
CureDuchenne Ventures LLC collaborates with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to facilitate the development of drugs to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy. CureDuchenne Ventures LLC was formed by CureDuchenne, a national nonprofit that has a successful track record of supporting research and raising awareness of the disease.