Cambridge, Mass., July 13, 2016 – Decibel Therapeutics, a hearing company focused on discovering and developing new therapies to protect, repair and restore hearing, today announced the appointment of industry veteran Steven H. Holtzman to president and chief executive officer. Mr. Holtzman succeeds interim chief executive officer, Kevin Starr, a partner at Third Rock Ventures, who will remain chairman of Decibel Therapeutics’ board of directors.
“Steve is a recognized leader in the development and growth of successful, product-driven biotechnology companies, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the team,” said Mr. Starr. “Steve’s deep experience in building and leading organizations, business development, drug discovery and R&D makes him the ideal individual to cultivate our culture, team and science to pioneer the development of new therapies for the millions of people with hearing disorders.”
“Hearing loss is a profound medical, societal and human issue that affects millions of people. Through my personal experiences with close family members, I’ve witnessed the impact of hearing loss on quality of life, including how it impedes the ability to use spoken language and music as means of self-expression and communication,” said Mr. Holtzman. “The early work of Decibel’s world leading founders and Third Rock Ventures, coupled with the company’s tremendous team, provides a solid foundation to develop a hearing platform to molecularly map cochlear pathology with auditory dysfunction. Throughout my career, I’ve focused on building companies that make meaningful medicines, and I look forward to partnering with and growing this team as we aim to produce a pipeline of breakthrough therapies for people with hearing loss disorders.”
Mr. Holtzman brings more than 30 years of strategic, operational and leadership experience in the biotechnology industry to Decibel Therapeutics. He joins the company from Biogen, Inc., where he most recently served as executive vice president, corporate development. At Biogen, Mr. Holtzman created and led the program leadership and management group through six new drug approvals. He also led the business development and M&A group through successful completion of numerous transactions. Prior to Biogen, Mr. Holtzman served as the founder, chief executive officer and chair of the board of directors of Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He was also an early leader and the chief business officer of Millennium Pharmaceuticals (now Takeda Oncology) and was a founder, member of the board and the executive vice president of DNX Corporation, the first transgenic animal company. Mr. Holtzman is a member of the boards of directors of PMV Pharma, Visterra, Humatics, The Sync Project and Molecular Partners. In the not-for-profit arena, Mr. Holtzman is currently a trustee of the Berklee College of Music and previously served as the vice chairman of the board of trustees of the Hastings Center for Ethics and the Life Sciences. From 1996 to 2001, he served as a Presidential appointee to the U.S. National Bioethics Advisory Commission. Mr. Holtzman received his B.A. in philosophy from Michigan State University and his B.Phil. graduate degree in philosophy from Corpus Christi College, Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar.
Hearing loss is the most prevalent form of sensory impairment. It is estimated that 50 million people in the U.S., and 360 million people worldwide, live with some type of hearing loss.1 It is the third most common chronic condition in older adults after arthritis and heart disease.2 Hearing disorders affect people of all ages and can have a profound impact on quality of life.
About Decibel Therapeutics
Decibel Therapeutics is a hearing company focused on discovering and developing new therapies to protect, repair and restore hearing. By combining recent innovations in hearing science with leading diagnostic tools, biological insights, modeling and therapeutic delivery techniques, Decibel is pioneering a comprehensive approach to define the underlying biological causes of hearing loss and develop a pipeline of breakthrough therapies targeted to specific indications and populations. Founded by the world’s preeminent experts in hearing loss, Decibel Therapeutics was launched in 2015 by Third Rock Ventures and is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass. For more information, please visit www.decibeltx.com.
Katie Engleman, Pure Communications, Inc.
1 Hearing Health Foundation
2 U.S. Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence