News Release Details

News Release Details

Finch Therapeutics Announces Transition of Chief Medical Officer

Nov 10, 2021 |
  • Zain Kassam, MD, MPH to step down as Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and will serve as a special advisor to the company
  • Debra Silberg, MD, PhD to transition from clinical advisor to interim CMO

SOMERVILLE, Mass., Nov. 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Finch Therapeutics Group, Inc. (“Finch” or “Finch Therapeutics”) (Nasdaq: FNCH), a clinical-stage microbiome therapeutics company leveraging its Human-First Discovery® platform to develop a novel class of orally administered biological drugs, today announced that Zain Kassam, MD, MPH has elected to step down as Chief Medical Officer (CMO) in order to return to Canada to attend to a family health matter. Dr. Kassam will continue to support the company as a special advisor. Debra Silberg, MD, PhD, an accomplished pharmaceutical executive and expert in clinical development, will serve as interim CMO to support the company through this transition and search for a new CMO.

“From day one, Finch has been committed to harnessing the therapeutic potential of the microbiome to help patients and families in need,” said Dr. Kassam. “I am incredibly proud of the progress we have made executing on this mission and the strong platform, pipeline, and team we have built. I am excited about the enormous impact that Finch is positioned to have on patients’ lives and look forward to continuing to support Finch’s important and exciting work in a new capacity.”

“Zain is a true pioneer in the microbiome field, and as a result of his leadership, expertise, and dedication to serving patients, Finch is well positioned to deliver on the mission we set out to achieve when we founded the company together,” said Mark Smith, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Finch Therapeutics. “I am deeply grateful to Zain for his many contributions to Finch.”

Dr. Smith continued, “As we take the next steps in advancing our pipeline, I am delighted to have the support of Dr. Silberg, whose expertise in gastroenterology, immunology, and drug development will make her guidance invaluable through this transition.”

“Finch’s strategy of utilizing data science and promising proof-of-concept human data to guide the development of novel microbiome product candidates is a promising new approach to drug development,” said Dr. Silberg. “I am pleased to have the opportunity to support the Finch team as we prepare to launch multiple programs into the clinic that we believe will demonstrate the broad potential of this new modality.”

Dr. Silberg is a gastroenterologist and the founder of Silberg Consulting, where she provides consultation to biopharmaceutical companies, including Finch, on all aspects of drug development from preclinical studies through regulatory approvals. Previously, she held leadership roles of increasing responsibility at Takeda and Shire (acquired by Takeda), including Global Vice President, Head of Clinical Science and Development for Gastrointestinal (GI) diseases. During her time with Shire and Takeda, she provided leadership and expertise to program teams focused on the development of GI therapeutics, including work on TAK-524, a microbiome product candidate licensed from Finch. She also managed global teams of physicians and clinical scientists, provided scientific and strategic support to the business development team, and led clinical discussions with regulatory authorities, including the defense of prucalopride (Motegrity®) at the FDA Advisory Committee, which led to product approval. Prior to Shire, she was a clinical program lead at AstraZeneca, leading programs from Phase 1 through Phase 4 studies. Dr. Silberg earned her BS from the University of Michigan, her PhD in Immunology from Wayne State University School of Medicine, and her MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She completed her Internal Medicine residency and Gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania Health System. Prior to entering industry, she was a faculty member in the Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology at the University of Pennsylvania where she treated patients and was the principal investigator of an NIH-funded molecular biology laboratory.

About Finch Therapeutics

Finch Therapeutics is a clinical-stage microbiome therapeutics company leveraging its Human-First Discovery® platform to develop a novel class of orally administered biological drugs. With the capabilities to develop both complete and targeted microbiome therapeutics, Finch is advancing a rich pipeline of candidates designed to address a wide range of unmet medical needs. Finch’s lead candidate, CP101, is in late-stage clinical development for the prevention of recurrent C. difficile infection (CDI), and has received Breakthrough Therapy and Fast Track designations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In June 2020, Finch announced that CP101 met its primary efficacy endpoint in PRISM3, the first of two pivotal trials to support the development of CP101 for the prevention of recurrent CDI. PRISM4, a Phase 3 trial, is designed to serve as the second pivotal trial of CP101 for recurrent CDI. Finch is also developing CP101 for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus, and FIN-211 for the treatment of the gastrointestinal and behavioral symptoms of autism spectrum disorder. Finch has a partnership with Takeda focused on the development of targeted microbiome therapeutics for inflammatory bowel disease.

Human-First Discovery® is a registered trademark of Finch Therapeutics Group, Inc.

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements contained in this press release regarding matters that are not historical facts are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Words such as "anticipates," "believes," "expects," "intends," “plans,” “potential,” "projects,” “would” and "future" or similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding:  Finch’s ability to advance the development of a novel class of therapeutics, including by advancing new programs into clinical development; and the therapeutic value and commercial potential of microbiome therapeutics. Because such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, among others: Finch’s limited operating history and historical losses; Finch’s ability to raise additional funding to complete the development and any commercialization of its product candidates; Finch’s dependence on the success of its lead product candidate, CP101; the possibility that Finch may be delayed in initiating, enrolling or completing any clinical trials; results of clinical trials may not be sufficient to satisfy regulatory authorities to approve Finch’s product candidates in their targeted or other indications (or such authorities may request additional trials or additional information); results of clinical trials may not be indicative of final or future results from later stage or larger clinical trials (or in broader patient populations once the product is approved for use by regulatory agencies) or may not be favorable or may not support further development; Finch’s product candidates, including CP101 and FIN-211 may not generate the benefits to patients that are anticipated; anticipated regulatory approvals may be delayed or refused; competition from third parties that are developing products for similar uses; Finch’s ability to maintain patent and other intellectual property protection and the possibility that Finch’s intellectual property rights may be infringed, invalid or unenforceable or will be threatened by third parties; Finch’s ability to qualify and scale its manufacturing capabilities in anticipation of commencement of multiple global clinical trials; Finch’s lack of experience in selling, marketing and distributing its product candidates; Finch’s dependence on third parties in connection with manufacturing, clinical trials and preclinical studies; and risks relating to the impact and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic on Finch’s business. These and other risks are described more fully in Finch’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including the section titled “Risk Factors” in Finch’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC on August 10, 2021, as well as discussions of potential risks, uncertainties, and other important factors in Finch’s other filings with the SEC. All forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date on which they were made. Except to the extent required by law, Finch undertakes no obligation to update such statements to reflect events that occur or circumstances that exist after the date on which they were made.

Investor Contact:

Laurence Watts
Gilmartin Group
(619) 916-7620 


Stephen Jasper
Gilmartin Group
(858) 525-2047 

Media Contact:

Jenna Urban
Berry & Company Public Relations
(212) 253-8881