Avak Kahvejian joined Flagship Pioneering in 2011, focusing on internal biotechnology innovation and venture creation. Avak was on the founding teams of Seres Therapeutics and Codiak BioSciences, and he is a co-founder of Rubius Therapeutics. Currently, Avak serves as founding president and CEO of Cygnal Therapeutics, a company pioneering the field of exoneural biology for the treatment of cancer, autoimmunity and other diseases.
Prior to Flagship, Avak was at Helicos BioSciences, a Flagship VentureLabs company which developed and commercialized the world’s first single molecule sequencing technology. At Helicos since 2004, Avak held various business development, product management, marketing and sales roles. Most recently, as vice president, business development for Helicos, he focused on establishing strategic partnerships in the areas of high-throughput sequencing and molecular diagnostics, leveraging the technology’s unique capabilities.
Avak earned his Ph.D. from McGill University in the laboratory of Dr. Nahum Sonenberg, where his research focused on modulators of mRNA translation and their regulation. During his studies at McGill, Avak was awarded a Canadian Institutes of Health Research operating grant as a co-investigator to Dr. Sonenberg, and was selected for the Dean’s Honor List upon graduation.