A world-class management team experienced in gene therapy, rare disease drug development and commercialization, and biologics manufacturing.


Bernhardt Zeiher
Astellas Chief Medical Officer and Interim Head of Gene Therapy, Medical and Development.




Mathew Pletcher, Ph.D.
Division Head of Gene Therapy Research & Technical Operations



Resume, position and responsibilities at the Company

Mathew Pletcher, Ph.D. is Division Head of Gene Therapy Research & Technical Operations for Astellas Gene Therapies. He is responsible for advancing the company’s pipeline from discovery through to IND-enabling preclinical development and for all Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Facilities & Engineering, and Process & Analytical Development functions.

Prior to joining Astellas Gene Therapies (formerly Audentes Therapeutics) in July 2020, Mr. Pletcher worked at Roche Pharma where he was Head of Rare Diseases Research and Early Development, and prior to that, Head of Discovery. Previously, he served as Acting Chief Scientific Officer at Autism Speaks and earlier as Vice President, Head of Genomic Sciences. He also spent eight years working in Pfizer’s Rare Diseases Research Unit in various scientific roles of increasing responsibility including Director, Rare Diseases Research Unit.

Mr.Pletcher also founded and leads a non-profit foundation, Fund for Sight, supporting research and resources for families and children impacted by the genetic disease his daughter inherited called Leber Congenital Amaurosis. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Duquesne University and a Ph.D. in Human Genetics form Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.



Amy Pott
Division Head of Gene Therapy Commercial



Resume, position and responsibilities at the Company

Amy Pott is Division Head of Gene Therapy, Commercial for Astellas Gene Therapies, and is responsible for leading commercialization of our Gene Therapy business. She joined Astellas Gene Therapies (formerly Audentes Therapeutics) in January 2021 and brings an impressive amount of experience and expertise developing and launching rare disease therapies.

Ms. Pott joined Astellas Gene Therapies (formerly Audentes Therapeutics) from Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (SOBI), where she was President, North America, and oversaw rare disease/specialty programs such as Synagis for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV); Kineret for Rheumatoid Arthritis; and Gamifant for Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). Prior to joining SOBI, Ms. Pott was Group Vice President, US Franchise Head, Internal Medicine & Oncology at Shire, where she was responsible for four rare disease businesses, including the GI, Endo, LSD and Oncology Businesses. She joined Shire when the company acquired Baxalta, and stayed on to build the US commercial operations group handling seven US franchises.

Ms. Pott earned her B.A. in history from the University of Bristol and her M.S. in European Policy & International Relations from the London School of Economics.



Richard Wilson
VP, Program Management & Portfolio Strategy



Resume, position and responsibilities at the Company

Richard Wilson is currently the Vice President of Gene Therapy Program Management and Portfolio Strategy at Astellas Gene Therapies (formerly Audentes Therapeutics). He joined Audentes in April 2020 as Vice President, Program Management and is currently responsible for Gene Therapy program leadership and project management across the Center of Excellence.

Richard has over 25 years of experience in research, development, and commercialization of small molecules, biological and gene therapies. Prior to Audentes, he served as Executive Director, Product Portfolio Development at BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. where he held a number of roles including portfolio Core Team leader for BioMarin’s PKU franchise, overseeing the approval and global launch of Palynziq, the first enzyme substitution therapy for PKU.

Prior to BioMarin, Richard held positions in GlaxoWellcome, BioChem Pharma, Theravance and Innoviva, where he was involved in the development and commercialization of a range of products in COPD and Asthma – Relvar/Breo Ellipta, Anoro Ellipta, and Trelegy Ellipta, and also in the identification of a nebulized delivery strategy for revefenacin (Yupelri). He has also led R&D programs in anti-infective, cardiovascular, rheumatology, and urology disease areas.

Richard holds a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry from the University of Manchester and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, where he serves on the Board of Directors for UC Berkeley Executive Education.


Our Center of Excellence Leadership Forum sets the Strategy for the Gene Therapy Center of Excellence and comprises key leaders from throughout the COE:

Bernhardt Zeiher, Astellas Chief Medical Officer and Interim Head of Gene Therapy, Medical and Development

Amy Pott, Division Head of Gene Therapy Commercial

Mathew Pletcher, Ph.D., Division Head of Gene Therapy Research & Technical Operations

Richard Wilson, VP, Program Management & Portfolio Strategy

Lovena D. Chaput, SVP, Americas

Lovena D. Chaput is Senior Vice President, Americas at Astellas Gene Therapies.  She joined the Astellas Gene Therapies (formerly Audentes Therapeutics) in December 2019 as Senior Vice President of Global Market Access. She brings more than 30 years of healthcare leadership experience focused on launching and commercializing treatments for rare and orphan diseases in startup organizations. Ms. Chaput is responsible for executing the global market access strategy for the company’s growing portfolio of gene therapy product candidates, and for building the commercial market access organization, including distribution, patient services and market access teams.

Ms. Chaput joined Astellas Gene Therapies from AveXis, a Novartis company, where she served as VP, Market Access and Reimbursement. During her tenure with AveXis she led the highly successful launch of ZOLGENSMA®, the first gene therapy for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Prior to AveXis, Ms. Chaput was with Raptor Pharmaceuticals where she was the Executive Director, Commercial Operations, Americas & Asia Pacific. While at Raptor, she led the U.S. Market Access strategy and launch of Procysbi®, a drug for the treatment of nephropathic cystinosis. 

Previously, Ms. Chaput designed and built the commercial organization for Amylin Pharmaceuticals. During her tenure at Amylin she held various strategic and leadership roles in sales, marketing, trade and distribution, and market access, launching several first in class products, including Symlin®, Byetta® and BYDUREON®. Ms. Chaput also served in various commercial roles at Raptor, Amylin, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Syntex Laboratories, Inc. Ms. Chaput holds a B.S. in Biology from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

Chris Lorenz, SVP, Technical Operations

Chris Lorenz is Senior Vice President of Technical Operations for Astellas Gene Therapies, and is responsible for the process development, manufacturing, supply chain, engineering, and facilities functions of our Gene Therapy operations. Chris joined Astellas Gene Therapies (formerly Audentes Therapeutics) in February 2016 to start up our manufacturing and warehouse functions in South San Francisco, and has taken on increasing levels of responsibility during his tenure at the company.

Mr. Lorenz joined Astellas Gene Therapies from Grifols Diagnostics Solutions (formerly Novartis Diagnostics) where he held various positions in their Manufacturing and Process Engineering functions. Prior to Grifols, he was at Genentech in South San Francisco where he held positions in their Process Development and Manufacturing Science & Technology organizations.

Mr. Lorenz earned both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University.

Catherine Parham, VP, Medical Affairs

Dr. Catherine Parham, M.D., MBA is the Vice President and Head of Global Medical Affairs and is responsible for leading development and execution of the Medical Affairs strategy. She joined Astellas Gene Therapies (formerly Audentes Therapeutics) in August 2020.

Dr. Parham joined Astellas Gene Therapies from Takeda, where she was the Vice President, Global Program Lead in the Plasma Derived Therapies Business Unit, directing development programs focused on therapies to treat patients with rare immunodeficiency diseases. Prior to joining Takeda, Dr. Parham was Vice President, Global Clinical Therapeutic Area Head of Combination Products and Medical Devices at Shire. She led the clinical team responsible for the development of drug delivery systems and diagnostic for therapies to treat rare diseases. Previously Dr. Parham worked at Pfizer, GE Healthcare and Johnson & Johnson in increasing roles of responsibility.

Dr. Parham earned her B.S., in engineering and literature from MIT, her MD from Boston University and completed her postgraduate medical training at Harvard Beth Israel Deaconess and Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts.