A passion for innovation and collaboration
Our management team has broad and deep expertise in the life sciences, from discovery, to clinical development, to commercial operations.
Douglas M. Fambrough, III, Ph.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Douglas Fambrough co-founded Dicerna and has served as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer since 2010. His background as both a genomic scientist and venture capitalist have been instrumental in Dicerna’s evolution from the early development of its unique GalXC™ platform, to its transformation to a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company.
Prior to Dicerna, Dr. Fambrough specialized in financing innovative life science technology companies as a General Partner with Oxford Bioscience Partners, a Boston-based venture capital firm.
In 2003, Dr. Fambrough and two other investors founded Sirna Therapeutics, a first-generation RNA interference (RNAi) pioneer; he served on Sirna’s board of directors until Merck acquired the company in 2006. On Oxford’s behalf, Dr. Fambrough invested in several ventures, including: Solexa, developer of the dominant ultra-high-throughput DNA sequencing platform, which Illumina acquired; and Xencor, a leader in engineering antibodies to improve their therapeutic properties (Nasdaq: XNCR).
Before joining Oxford Bioscience Partners, Dr. Fambrough spent 10 years as a genomic scientist, most recently at the Whitehead/MIT Center for Genome Research, now known as the Broad Institute. He graduated from Cornell University and obtained his Ph.D. in genetics at the University of California, Berkeley.
Shreeram Aradhye, M.D.
Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer
Shreeram Aradhye, M.D., joined Dicerna in September 2020 from Axcella Health where he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer overseeing clinical development, regulatory affairs, quality assurance and scientific communications.
Prior to joining Axcella, Dr. Aradhye served for over two decades at Novartis Pharmaceuticals in multiple leadership roles of increasing responsibility in drug development and medical affairs, and across multiple therapeutic areas and geographies. In his most recent role as Chief Medical Officer of Novartis, he was a member of the Global Pharmaceuticals Executive Committee responsible for over $20 billion in worldwide business, providing medical expertise on portfolio strategy and leading governance of medical activities worldwide. Dr. Aradhye was also a member of the development committee of Novartis that oversaw global development activities across its portfolio. In previous roles at Novartis and Sandoz, he led the clinical development program for Gilenya® in multiple sclerosis (MS), provided functional leadership for clinical development and medical affairs teams working on novel and biosimilar medicines across multiple therapeutic areas, and headed global development for neuroscience, where he oversaw a portfolio of programs in MS, Alzheimer’s Disease, neuropathic pain, muscle disease and migraine.
Prior to industry, Dr. Aradhye was Assistant Professor of Medicine and a transplant nephrologist at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Aradhye received his medical education at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India, and in Internal Medicine and Nephrology in the United States.
Bob D. Brown, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer, Executive Vice President of R&D
Bob D. Brown is the Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President of R&D at Dicerna and leads the company’s R&D team. He has contributed to the invention and application of multiple platform technologies that have directly enabled all clinical development programs for Dicerna and its collaborative partners. Dr. Brown is the inventor or coinventor on more than 250 patents and patent applications covering chemistry, structure, function, formulation, in vivo delivery and use of nucleic acid therapeutics, including RNAi and antisense oligonucleotides; the composition, formulation and application of other novel therapeutic agents; and delivery technologies enabling therapeutic gene targeting throughout the body. Dr. Brown is a key contributor to regulatory and clinical strategies for Dicerna’s development programs.
Prior to Dicerna, Dr. Brown spent 10 years at Genta Inc., where he became one of the first biopharmaceutical executives to contribute to all stages of the development of a systemically administered oligonucleotide therapeutic from discovery to NDA. Dr. Brown also served as the head of Salus Therapeutics, an RNAi startup acquired by Genta and operated as a separate business unit. Dr. Brown co-founded and co-invented the founding technology for Oasis Biosciences where he served as Vice President, Research until its acquisition by GenProbe.
Dr. Brown holds Bachelor of Science degrees in both chemistry and biology from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of California, Berkeley.
Rob Ciappenelli, M.B.A.
Chief Strategy Officer
Rob Ciappenelli was appointed Chief Strategy Officer in September 2021 after previously serving as the Company’s Chief Commercial Officer from 2019-2021. He brings to the role more than 30 years of global experience across the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and healthcare consulting industries.
During his career, Mr. Ciappenelli has managed company portfolios ranging from early development candidates to in-market products for rare diseases, neurological disorders and diseases of the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems, with extensive experience in establishing and building new product planning initiatives, leadership and development programs and managing global strategic operations. Prior to joining Dicerna, Mr. Ciappenelli was Global Head of Commercial at Momenta Pharmaceuticals. In that capacity, Mr. Ciappenelli managed a portfolio of 13 programs ranging from early development to partnered in-market products.
Prior to Momenta, he held several leadership positions at Shire Pharmaceuticals (now part of Takeda), across commercial operations and business planning. He led global franchise operations for Shire’s Fabry (Replagal®) and Gaucher (Vpriv®) programs. Mr. Ciappenelli also held leadership positions at Sunovion Pharmaceuticals where he served as Vice President of Commercial Operations, Executive Director of Commercial Services and Sales Training, and Executive Director of Central Nervous System Marketing.
Mr. Ciappenelli earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.
Jennifer Lockridge, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Program Development
Jennifer Lockridge, Ph.D., is Senior Vice President of Program Development and has over 25 years of experience in the development of oligonucleotide therapeutics. Prior to joining Dicerna in 2016, Dr. Lockridge spent nine years consulting biotech and large pharmaceutical companies on early development-stage oligonucleotide programs. Dr. Lockridge also has pharmacology and pharmacokinetics expertise.
Dr. Lockridge was a Director of Project Management at Sirna Therapeutics, Inc. She managed and participated in all aspects of siRNA and ribozyme development programs.
Dr. Lockridge received her Ph.D. in pharmacology from the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland and completed postdoctoral training at the FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research.
Chief Financial Officer
Doug Pagán has more than 25 years of financial and operational experience, and in May 2020, Mr. Pagán joined Dicerna as Chief Financial Officer from KSQ Therapeutics. Prior to serving as Chief Financial Officer at KSQ, Mr. Pagán was Chief Financial Officer of Paratek Pharmaceuticals, a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company focused on infectious disease. Mr. Pagán played a key role in transforming Paratek from a development-stage to commercial-stage company, with responsibility for finance, investor relations, strategic planning and SEC reporting. Under his financial leadership, Paratek raised more than $450 million in equity financing and maintained a strong balance sheet to support the commercialization of the company’s first antibiotic product.
Prior to Paratek, Mr. Pagán served as Vice President, Finance at Acceleron Pharma Inc., where he was responsible for strategic and financial planning, accounting, SEC reporting, treasury and financial operations, and played a significant role in the company’s Initial Public Offering. Prior to working at Acceleron, he served in strategic and financial management roles at Biogen Idec and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Previously, Mr. Pagán worked in healthcare investment banking at J.P. Morgan, as well as pharmaceutical operational roles at Johnson & Johnson. Mr. Pagán received his Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Princeton University and his Master of Business Administration from Columbia Business School.
Senior Vice President, Technical Operations
James Powell is Senior Vice President of Technical Operations at Dicerna, bringing 30 years of pharmaceutical leadership experience in the operations and manufacturing of oligonucleotides to the Dicerna management team. Based out of Dicerna’s Boulder facility, Mr. Powell is responsible for CMC, oligonucleotide manufacturing, chemical development, analytic development and supply chain.
Prior to joining Dicerna, Mr. Powell served in leadership roles at various biopharmaceutical companies involved in manufacturing, process chemistry, engineering and business development related to oligonucleotides, including Synthecell Corporation, La Jolla Pharmaceuticals, Codon Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals, Transgenomic, Inc. and Eyetech Pharmaceuticals.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Powell served as General Manager of Agilent Technologies Nucleic Acids Solutions Division (NASD) where he led the creation of one of the world’s leading large-scale oligonucleotide manufacturers focused on the production of oligonucleotide-based APIs.
Mr. Powell holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Leeds University, England.
Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President
James B. Weissman joined Dicerna as Chief Business Officer in January 2012. He has more than three decades of experience in the life sciences industry, with extensive international management expertise in biotech and pharmaceutical general management, product development, licensing, business development, marketing, and mergers and acquisitions.
Prior to Dicerna, Mr. Weissman was Vice President of Business Development at MannKind Corporation, responsible for leading the biopharmaceutical company’s activities related to licensing, new products, and strategic planning. Prior to MannKind, Mr. Weissman held leadership positions in both business development and marketing at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Tokyo, most recently as Senior Director of Marketing. In that position, he was responsible for the sales, profit and strategic targets for the company’s specialty products, including central nervous system, endocrinology, ophthalmology and oncology therapeutics, and diversified portfolios.
Mr. Weissman holds his Bachelor of Science from Bates College.
Ling Zeng, Esq.
Chief Legal Officer and Secretary
Ling Zeng, Esq., joined Dicerna as Chief Legal Officer and Secretary in September 2020. She brings to her role more than 20 years of broad and deep experience in biopharmaceutical law and global drug development and has held multiple leadership positions in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
Ms. Zeng joined Dicerna from Novartis AG where she served as Deputy Head of the Legal M&A Group responsible for mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Prior to Novartis, Ms. Zeng held several senior-level positions at Bausch Health Companies, Inc., most recently as Vice President and General Counsel for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), where she was responsible for EMEA legal matters in over 30 countries, and provided counsel on business development efforts, commercial operations, compliance, regulatory and IP strategies, and M&A transactions and integrations. Earlier in her career, Ms. Zeng was an associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in New York. Ms. Zeng was a Research Scientist prior to beginning her legal career.
Ms. Zeng earned her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Georgetown University, a Master of Science degree in biophysics from Brandeis University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Peking University.
Marc Abrams, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Discovery Research
Marc Abrams was appointed Senior Vice President, Discovery Research in 2021. He joined Dicerna in 2014 as Senior Director, Preclinical Development, and has held roles of increasing responsibility related to optimizing the pharmaceutical properties of Dicerna’s GalXC technology platform. His work also focused on identifying and advancing new RNAi targets for Dicerna and its collaborative partners.
Prior to his work at to Dicerna, Dr. Abrams spent more than 16 years working at Merck and Co., Inc., where he initially focused on oncology program research. In 2006, when Merck acquired Sirna Therapeutics, Dr. Abrams transitioned to leading RNAi discovery and early development programs in oncology as well as liver, cardiovascular, viral and autoimmune diseases. He has authored or co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed publications and patent applications.
Dr. Abrams earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Thomas Jefferson University, a Master of Science in biology from the University of Rochester and a Bachelor of Science in bioscience and biotechnology from Drexel University.
Senior Vice President, Human Resources
Susan Birdsey joined Dicerna in November 2021 as Senior Vice President, Human Resources. Ms. Birdsey is a skilled leader in defining HR strategy and driving change. She has extensive U.S. and global experience in translating business strategy to human capital initiatives, strategic problem solving and organizational development.
Ms. Birdsey joined Dicerna from Lyndra Therapeutics where she served as the Senior Vice President, People, Culture and Information Technology. Prior to Lyndra, Ms. Birdsey was Vice President, Human Resources at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.
Ms. Birdsey holds a Bachelor of Arts in English language and literature from the University of Michigan. She is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources from the HR Certification Institute® and is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management and the Human Resources Leadership Forum.
Kristen Sheppard, Esq.
Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
Kristen Sheppard joined Dicerna in September 2021 as Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications. Ms. Sheppard has more than 20 years of experience in building and leading successful investor relations, corporate communications and public affairs functions across the biotechnology, medical device and technology sectors.
Ms. Sheppard joined Dicerna from Akebia Therapeutics, Inc. where she served as Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications. Prior to Akebia, Ms. Sheppard was Vice President, Investor Relations and Counsel at NxStage Medical, Inc. from 2008 through its acquisition by Fresenius Medical Care in 2019, and also served most recently as the company’s Associate General Counsel. Prior to NxStage, Ms. Sheppard held senior leadership roles in investor relations for publicly traded and pre-IPO companies within the technology sector, and also served as senior government affairs and public policy counsel to various healthcare entities.
Ms. Sheppard holds a Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of New Hampshire. She is a member of the New Hampshire Bar Association.