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February 23, 2023

Marlborough biopharma selects board chair as new CEO

Robert Bitterman was named the new CEO at Phio Pharmaceuticals. PHOTO | Courtesy Robert Bitterman Robert Bitterman has been named the CEO at Phio Pharmaceuticals.

Phio Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Marlborough removed the interim tag from Robert Bitterman’s title on Monday, naming him its new president and CEO after he served in the role on a fill-in basis since September.

Bitterman has served as the company’s chair of the board of directors since 2012 and will continue as the company’s principal executive officer and principal financial officer. Previously, he worked as president and CEO of Cutanea Life Sciences, Inc. in Pennsylvania, which he founded in 2005 and led until the company was acquired by Biofrontera, Inc. USA of Woburn in March 2019. 

"As we considered the next chapter for Phio, the Board undertook a thorough search for a full-time CEO," Robert Ferrara, Phio's lead independent director, said in a press release announcing Bitterman’s appointment. "We evaluated potential candidates who could effectively lead the Company at this important time in its history, as we ramp up our clinical activities and manage several development programs with our partners. Since taking on the interim CEO role in September 2022, Bob has proven to be a strategic and effective leader of Phio. His extensive leadership experience and existing knowledge of our pipeline make him the most qualified executive to lead Phio forward as we advance our clinical programs and drive shareholder growth. We appreciate his stepping into this role full-time."

Phio Pharmaceuticals was previously known as RXi Pharmaceuticals and is attempting to develop treatments for cancer using RNA technology. It was co-founded in 2011 by Nobel Laureate Craig Mello, who won the award in 2006 for the discovery of RNA interference. He is a distinguished professor at UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester.  

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