Avak Kahvejian, Ph.D. is a life sciences inventor, entrepreneur, and CEO. Since 2011, he has been a partner at Flagship Pioneering, where he leads a team to invent and launch new therapeutic platforms. His work has led to the creation of multiple high-value public and private companies including Seres Therapeutics (NASDAQ: MCRB); the first microbiome therapy platform; Rubius Therapeutics (NASDAQ: RUBY); developing Red Cell Therapeutics, engineered red blood cells capable of providing potent and prolonged therapy for rare diseases, cancer, and autoimmunity; Codiak BioSciences (developing engineered exosome therapeutics as cancer treatments); Cygnal Therapeutics (pioneering new drugs that target neuronal pathways for the treatment of cancer, and autoimmune/inflammation disorders); Ring Therapeutics (revolutionizing gene therapy with its commensal virome platform); Cellarity (designing medicines against the cell as opposed to a single molecular target); Laronde (pioneering endless RNA – eRNA™ – a new class of programmable medicines capable of expressing therapeutic proteins inside the body); and Generate Biomedicines (pioneering Generative Biology™ to create breakthrough medicines).
At Rubius, Avak served as founding President and CEO from 2013 to 2017, and then as CIO until the end of 2018. There he established the Rubius Erythrocyte Design (RED)™ platform and conceived and developed dozens of Red Cell Therapeutics (RCTs)™ spanning a range of therapeutic modalities including enzyme therapies, immuno-oncology and oncology therapies, and tolerogenic drugs. Avak served as founding CEO of Ring Therapeutics, Cellarity, and Laronde from 2017 to 2020, as co-CEO of Generate from 2017 to 2021, and is on boards of these companies, including as the Chairman of Ring. Avak currently serves as founding CEO for the projects and companies originated by his team at Flagship Labs, including FL68, FL69, FL71, FL75 and FL83.
Prior to Flagship, Avak was Vice President of Business Development at Helicos BioSciences. In this role, he developed and commercialized the world’s first single molecule DNA sequencer.
Avak serves on the board of the International Institute of New England, an institution which creates opportunities for refugees and immigrants to succeed through resettlement, education, career advancement and pathways to citizenship. From 2014 to 2020, he served on the board of the Canadian Entrepreneurs of New England, an organization dedicated to assisting Canadian entrepreneurs build ties with the Boston life sciences and technology ecosystems.
Avak earned his Ph.D. and B.Sc. in Biochemistry from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.