The Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance Hires Barbara Tate, Ph.D. as FARA’s New Chief Scientific Officer

Downingtown, PA (May 27, 2020) - The Board of Directors of the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) today announced the hiring of Barbara Tate, Ph.D. to the full-time role of Chief Scientific Officer (CSO). FARA is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the pursuit of scientific research leading to treatments and a cure for Friedreich’s ataxia (FA). Friedreich’s ataxia is a rare debilitating, life-shortening, degenerative neuro-muscular disorder. About 5,000 people in the United States and 15,000 worldwide live with FA.

Dr. Tate’s hiring marks the organization’s growing commitment of resources to FA research advancement on multiple fronts. As the Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Tate will work closely with FARA’s staff, Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board to set and execute FARA’s research strategy and ensure a deep and diverse treatment pipeline with well-informed and vetted treatment approaches. Dr. Tate’s responsibilities will include the oversight of all research and drug development activities as well as leading FARA’s research staff. Dr. Tate will seek to build international engagement and collaboration with academic and industry scientists, to address gaps in drug development and explore novel answers to the most challenging FA research questions.

Dr. Tate comes to FARA with a strong background in the discovery and development of therapies for central nervous system diseases. Early in her career she was responsible for a portfolio of early stage neurodegenerative focused therapeutics at Pfizer. More recently, she has gained experience as a Venture Fund investor and Biotech Executive. Prior to her role at FARA, Dr. Tate held a leadership position at the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF), a specialist venture capital fund investing in and creating companies to deliver high impact therapeutics for age-related dementias. Dr. Tate has also held leadership positions at Tiaki Therapeutics (Founding CEO), Rodin Therapeutics, an Atlas Venture Company, Armada Therapeutics and Satori Pharmaceuticals, and has served on the boards of several biotech companies.

FARA Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Farmer said, “We are excited to welcome Barbara to the FARA team. She understands the sense urgency felt by people with progressive neurological conditions and unmet medical need, and she is committed to the strategic leadership required to accelerate and expand our research efforts to meet that need. Barbara brings significant experience in neuroscience, drug development and life science investing, all of which she will direct at our mission as we grow and advance our research programs and treatment pipeline.”

Dr. Tate said, “I am thrilled to become part of the FARA team. The passionate and forward-thinking FA community has laid down a solid foundation of scientific insights, patient data, and clinical trial expertise to drive toward meaningful therapeutics for this devastating disease. I feel privileged to be part of the next exciting chapter at FARA”.

The CSO role was previously held on a part-time basis by Dr. Giovanni Manfredi, Weill Cornell Medicine. FARA is grateful to Dr. Manfredi as he has provided rigorous scientific oversight and leadership to the organization’s programs since 2010, including his recognition of the need for full-time staff and assistance in identifying Dr. Tate for this critical role. Dr. Manfredi will remain involved with the organization in a volunteer capacity, serving as FARA’s Co-Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board and Scientific Review Committee.

Dr. Tate did her Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard Medical School and earned her Ph.D. at the University of Delaware.

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