Saniona, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on rare diseases, today announced the expansion of its executive team with the appointments of Jason A. Amello as Chief Financial Officer, Trista Morrison as Chief Communications Officer, and Linea Aspesi as Chief Human Resources Officer. The positions will be based in the U.S. and will support Saniona’s advancement of late-stage clinical trials with lead product candidate Tesomet in two rare eating disorders, hypothalamic obesity (HO) and Prader Willi Syndrome (PWS).

“With the recent completion of our $65 million financing, Saniona now has the resources to advance Tesomet to registration for approval and to move our early-stage pipeline into the clinic. In order to accomplish these milestones, we are assembling a strong executive team that will oversee the build-out of our headquarters in the U.S. I am thrilled to have biotech industry veterans Jason, Trista and Linea working with me in this effort,” said Rami Levin, President and CEO of Saniona.

Jason A. Amello has over 25 years of corporate finance experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, contributing to strategic business growth and financial and operational performance. Most recently he served as Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Akebia Therapeutics Inc., where, over a seven-year period, he helped lead Akebia’s financing efforts, including its initial public offering, and served as a key advisor for Akebia’s merger with Keryx Biopharmaceuticals. During his tenure at Akebia, Amello built out the entire finance organization and was responsible for treasury management, financial planning and budgeting, accounting and reporting, taxation, procurement, facilities, and information technology. Prior to joining Akebia, Amello served as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Ziopharm Oncology, Inc., and prior to that he held multiple finance leadership positions at Genzyme Corporation, now Sanofi Genzyme, including Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer. Earlier in his career, Mr. Amello spent 10 years in the business advisory and assurance practice of Deloitte. Amello holds a B.S. in Accounting from Boston College and is a Certified Public Accountant in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Amello currently serves on the Board of Directors of Acer Therapeutics, Inc. and the New England Baptist Hospital.

“I see tremendous potential for Saniona to create value for patients and for shareholders as it advances its pipeline of novel treatments for rare diseases,” Amello said. “I look forward to joining Saniona and expanding its global financial and operational footprint in order to deliver on its promise.”

Trista Morrison has nearly 20 years of experience in healthcare public affairs, including strategic communications and patient advocacy. Most recently she founded the consulting firm PR with Purpose, LLC. Prior to that she served as Vice President of Communications and Patient Advocacy for rare disease company Sobi in North America, where she built both departments and supported milestones including FDA approvals, product launches, acquisitions, significant data disclosures, and growth from 50 to 300 employees. Prior to joining Sobi, Morrison managed corporate, product and employee communications for Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc. She previously worked as a reporter for BioWorld Today and held various positions at multiple biotech public relations agencies. Morrison currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Network of Tyrosinemia Advocates (NOTA).

“As Saniona advances potential treatments for hypothalamic obesity and Prader Willi Syndrome, I look forward to better understanding the significant unmet needs faced by these communities and ensuring these needs inform Saniona’s vision and strategy,” said Morrison.

Linea Aspesi has 25 years of human resources leadership experience, with a focus on aligning talent strategies to the business vision, mission and strategy. She most recently served as Vice President, Head of Human Resources & Office Management for Sobi in North America, where she supported the company through 5x headcount growth and established and drove cultural transformation strategies in the areas of talent acquisition, integration, retention, development, engagement, total rewards, organizational design, learning and diversity and inclusion. Previously, Aspesi served as Head of Human Resources for the Industrial Affairs organization in the U.S. for Sanofi, where she designed and implemented talent strategies that transformed the organization of approximately 3000 employees, in the areas of manufacturing plant optimization, inclusive of plant closures and divestitures, business development and expansion.  During Linea’s tenure at Sanofi, she held HR leadership positions, shaping talent strategies for the Boston Hub R&D organization, the Sanofi Genzyme Specialty Care business unit, of Rare Disease, Oncology, MS, Immunology and the Industrial IS organization.  Prior to Sanofi, Aspesi held HR positions at multiple organizations including UMass Memorial Medical Center, Partners Healthcare System Inc., and HealthSouth. She previously served on the board of directors for Partnerships for a Skilled Workforce and for Seaglass Village.