Harness Therapeutics Appoints Seasoned Biopharmaceutical Leader, Ms. Meenu Chhabra Karson, as Board Chair

Ms. Chhabra Karson brings highly successful 20-year track record in industry leadership roles

Cambridge, UK: Harness Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on protein upregulation to develop next generation therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases, today announced the appointment of Ms. Meenu Chhabra Karson as Chair of its Board of Directors. An experienced biopharma executive, Ms. Chhabra Karson will lend her business, scientific and operational expertise towards helping Harness achieve its next phase of growth as it advances its oligonucleotide-based platform for controlled upregulation of CNS targets and its lead programme in Huntington’s disease.

Ms. Chhabra Karson brings over 20 years of experience in the global biopharmaceutical industry spanning leadership roles in both private and public large pharmaceutical as well as small biotech companies. Her successful track record includes raising more than $500 million in private and public capital, driving strategic transactions and delivering partnerships worth over $2 billion, meeting and accelerating value-generating milestones, as well as developing high-performing organizations.

Since July 2023, Ms. Chhabra Karson has served as the Executive Chairperson of Samsara Therapeutics, a private preclinical-stage company developing novel therapeutics for a portfolio of neurodegenerative diseases which raised $25 million in its Series A round. Since January 2023, Ms. Chhabra Karson has also served on the board of Macrogenics (MGNX) and is a member of its audit committee. Her previous board appointments include Chair of Apexigen (APGN), sold to Pyxis Oncology (PYXS); Chair of Audit Committee of Vallon, sold to GRI Biotech (GRI); and Chair of Audit Committee of Fore Bio. Ms. Chhabra Karson has also served as a biotech CEO for 15 years at Proteostasis Therapeutics (NASDAQ:PTI) and Allozyne, Inc. and was Chief Business Officer at BioXell SpA, (SWX:BXLN). Earlier in her career, she held roles of increasing responsibility at Novartis, latterly VP Business Development.

Jan Thirkettle, CEO of Harness commented, “I am delighted to welcome Meenu as our new Board Chair. Her strategic leadership, company building, and wide business development expertise, will enhance our efforts to open up the target space for neurodegenerative diseases. Meenu joins the company at an important time as we advance our lead Huntington’s disease programme towards the clinic and seek to broaden our portfolio based on the platform we have established over the past three years.”

Ms. Chhabra Karson added, “I am truly excited to be appointed as Chair of Harness Therapeutics. I believe my capabilities and experience can help advance the company and leverage our lead Huntington’s disease programme. With a unique approach to controlled upregulation of CNS targets we have the potential to transform the treatment of not only Huntington’s disease but potentially a broad array of neurodegenerative diseases for the benefit of patients worldwide.”

Originally from Toronto, Canada, Ms. Chhabra Karson obtained her M.B.A. from York University and her Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto.


About Harness Therapeutics

Harness Therapeutics is a biotechnology company focused on the development of next generation therapeutics for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, with a lead programme in Huntington’s disease targeting FAN1 to limit somatic expansion. Focussing on neurodegeneration targets with strong biology and genetic validation, Harness Therapeutics utilises its deep understanding of RNA biology and post-transcriptional regulation to enable drugging of targets with oligonucleotide-based drugs to achieve controlled increases in protein expression.

Harness Therapeutics has assembled a world-class team focused on the mission of building the most efficient platform for controlled upregulation of CNS targets which underpin neurodegenerative disease. This includes extensive RNA biology and bioinformatics expertise, specialist analytics capabilities and unique neurological cell models. Harness Therapeutics’ unique platform generates multiple orthogonal upregulation strategies which are tested in highly translatable in vitro cell models to identify constructs capable of increasing endogenous protein translation. This specific and controlled approach to increasing target proteins allows drugging targets which would not be addressable using gene therapy or other modalities.

Harness Therapeutics is based in Cambridge, UK, and was originally established by leading life science investors Takeda Ventures and SV Health Investors’ Dementia Discovery Fund in 2020. Harness Therapeutic’s current investor base now also includes Epidarex Capital.

For more information, please visit https://www.harnesstx.com/ and follow us on LinkedIn.


Harness Therapeutics
Dr Jan Thirkettle, CEO

Sylvie Berrebi, Frazer Hall