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Former Assembly Bio and Gilead executive brings decades of experience in developing novel therapeutics to Tune’s growing pipeline of genetic tuning therapies

DURHAM, N.C. & SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Tune Therapeutics, a biotechnology company pioneering the creation of genetic tuning (epigenomic editing) therapies, today announced the addition of John McHutchison AO, MD – former CEO at Assembly Biosciences, Inc., and CSO at Gilead Sciences, Inc. – to its board of directors. Dr. McHutchison joins as a noted industry leader with extensive experience in advancing novel treatments for the benefit of patients facing serious, intractable diseases.

“Dr. McHutchison’s experience will be pivotal as we advance our novel genetic tuning candidate therapies,” said Matt Kane, CEO of Tune Therapeutics. “John’s background in a broad range of modalities and therapeutic areas – right across the R&D spectrum – is incredibly well aligned with our mission to unlock the power of the epigenome in the treatment of common, complex, and multigenic disease. I very much look forward to working closely with John as we advance this modality to the clinic.”

This move marks Dr. McHutchison’s first since retiring as President and CEO of Assembly Biosciences at the end of 2022. At Assembly, he led the company’s progress in the anti-viral space before transitioning to the board of directors and chairing the Science and Technology Committee. Prior to Assembly, he served as Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Research and Development at Gilead Sciences, where he led the development of a broad range of liver-directed therapies, including the curative HCV antiviral regimens and investigational therapies against nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). John was also instrumental in Gilead’s transformative acquisition of Kite Therapeutics, and its subsequent leadership position in the CAR T cell therapy field.

“Now that precision tuning of the epigenome has become a reality, we are witnessing a critical moment for the future of medicine,” said Dr. McHutchison.“With its powerful and versatile TEMPO platform, Tune Therapeutics is making great strides across a range of applications and diseases, the potential of which is enormous. I anticipate great things to come, and I am pleased to be supporting the company and its crucial and exciting work.”

About Tune Therapeutics

With its versatile and powerful TEMPO epigenomic control platform, Tune Therapeutics is pioneering a new therapeutic modality that can fine-tune any gene network and unlock the full power and potential of regenerative medicine. With deep experience and a passionate commitment to exploration and innovation, Tune is driving through an inflection point in the history of genetic medicine: from targeting a limited range of rare conditions, to addressing thousands of common and complex diseases for which no curative treatment is available.


World-leading researchers and venture-builders found company to mine the new frontier of epigenomics and unlock complex disease

Novel approach tunes and calibrates gene expression without breaking or rewriting DNA

Unique TEMPO platform targets complex gene networks, reveals the underlying, epigenomic drivers of disease, and yields optimized therapeutic candidates that shift cell state and function

Durham, N.C. and Seattle, December 2, 2021 – – Tune Therapeutics, a biotechnology company pioneering the creation of epi-therapeutic medicines, launched today with its powerful and precise genetic tuning platform, TEMPO. This cutting-edge technology dials gene expression up or down to desired levels – with the potential to reverse pathways of cancer, genetic disease, and aging by changing cell fate and function at will.

“Genetic medicine is at a tipping point,” said Matt Kane, CEO of Tune Therapeutics. “We now understand that the driving force of human health and disease is not our genes, but the epigenomic elements that shape and control them. Until now, scientists and bioengineers lacked the combined understanding, clinical expertise, and technology needed to make epigenomic therapies a practical reality. Now, we have all three.”

TEMPO Platform

Tune’s proprietary TEMPO platform can rapidly target and adjust the epigenomic machinery of the cell, which shapes DNA and controls gene expression. By varying specific control modules in an iterative process, TEMPO can fine-tune expression toward healthy levels – even in diseases involving multiplex or polygenic interactions.

Unlike genome editing, the tuning process does not generate double- or single-strand breaks in DNA and makes no permanent changes to the DNA sequence. This de-risks the precise targeting of entire gene networks, allowing Tune to simultaneously turn silenced genes on and dial over-expressed genes down, in a practical, therapeutic context.

Tune has already shown that TEMPO can locate epigenomic elements involved in several intractable genetic conditions – revealing targets and networks that would be invisible or inaccessible to gene editing approaches. Moreover, Tune can optimize TEMPO to command expression of individual genes or networks with remarkable specificity and precision. This opens the door to an entirely new class of epi-therapeutics.

“The exciting challenge in front of us is taking these transformative advances in technology and extending their potential for our greater society,” said Charlie Gersbach, PhD, Acting Chief Scientific Officer, Tune Therapeutics. “From proof of concept in rare, single-gene disorders to common conditions that aren’t linked to a single gene mutation – but are treatable through epigenomic control and constitute the vast majority of human diseases.”

Veteran Genomic Medicine Leadership Team

Tune is launching with a veteran leadership team, endowed with deep expertise in gene and cell therapy, genome editing, and epigenetics.

  • Matt Kane, Chief Executive Officer
  • Akira Matsuno, Co-Founder, President and Chief Financial Officer
  • Charlie Gersbach, Ph.D., Co-Founder, Acting Chief Scientific Officer
  • Fyodor Urnov, Ph.D., Co-Founder, Scientific Advisory Board
  • Heidi Zhang, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Head of Technical Operations
  • Blythe Sather, Ph.D., Vice President, Head of Research

In addition, Tune’s Board of Directors includes Mr. Kane, Dr. Gersbach, Ali Behbahani, M.D., (New Enterprise Associates), and co-founder Dan McHugh (Emerson Collective).

Drawing upon deep, local talent pools in Durham and Seattle, Tune has assembled two highly seasoned discovery and development teams, secured foundational intellectual property from Duke University, and raised $40 million from top-tier investors – including co-leads New Enterprise Associates and Emerson Collective, with Hatteras Venture Partners, Mission BioCapital, and others joining the round. This financing will enable Tune to rapidly advance its preclinical research, attract top-tier talent, and further develop its therapeutic platform.

“Tune is effectively pioneering a brand-new therapeutic modality,” said Dr. Behbahani. “With the unbound potential of this approach, and their collective successes in the field, Tune is primed to become a transformative presence in modern biomedicine.”

About Tune Therapeutics

Tune Therapeutics, Inc. is orchestrating the power of the epigenome to treat complex, pervasive diseases that have long eluded treatment. With its versatile and powerful TEMPO epigenomic control platform, Tune’s experienced team is pioneering a new therapeutic modality that can fine-tune any gene network. In breaking free from the limitations of traditional gene and cell therapies, Tune is developing solutions for even the most challenging and intractable diseases – and building the capacity to transform human health and medicine.


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