Press releases

Tranquis Therapeutics Strengthens Leadership Team with Appointments of Frederic Godderis as Chief Operating Officer and Jonas Hannestad, MD, PhD, as Chief Medical Officer

- Expansion of management team with seasoned neuroscience and drug development professionals reflects company growth and anticipated advancement into the clinic during 2021 -

SAN MATEO, CA—May 26, 2021 - Tranquis Therapeutics, a private immuno-neurology company developing innovative medicines with the potential to revolutionize the management of neurodegenerative and aging-related diseases, today announced that it has strengthened its management team with the addition of Frederic Godderis as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Jonas Hannestad, MD, PhD, as Chief Medical Officer (CMO).

“The team at Tranquis has made excellent progress on many fronts over the last year, including preparing to initiate clinical studies of our lead program, TQS-168, during the second half of this year and advancing our second program, TQS-621, into development. In addition, we have built a robust body of in vitro and in vivo data that supports our platform along with exciting early progress with the discovery of next-generation compounds,” said Sanjay Kakkar, MD, MSc, MPH, President and CEO of Tranquis. “Given our strong momentum, this is an ideal time to bring industry leaders like Frederic and Jonas on board. Jonas’ experience will be crucial as we apply our novel technology and move into early clinical development. As we continue to build out our team and in-house capabilities, Frederic’s track record in leading drug development programs, development operations, and program and portfolio management will be essential.”

“Targeting immunometabolism has transformative potential for the treatment of many neurodegenerative and aging-related disorders, and Tranquis is leading the way,” said Frederic Godderis, Chief Operating Officer. “Working in such a novel area, which could drive a completely new class of medicines, is exciting and opens up a variety of strategic development options for the company. I look forward to joining the team and helping Tranquis advance toward the clinic and beyond.”

Jonas Hannestad, Chief Medical Officer, commented, “As a career physician-neuroscientist and drug developer, I am thrilled to be joining Tranquis, a leader in the development of therapies that target myeloid immune cell dysfunction. It’s become clear over the last decade that immune dysfunction, and myeloid cell dysfunction more specifically, contributes to the progression of a variety of nervous system disorders such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), Parkinson’s Disease (PD), and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Tranquis has done exceptional work translating the groundbreaking work of its pioneering scientific
founder, bringing it closer to clinical development and patients.”

Frederic Godderis is a biopharmaceutical R&D leader with extensive strategic and operational drug development experience. Throughout his career, he has contributed to the development of numerous drugs and established operating models, capabilities, and leadership structures in a variety of large and startup organizational settings. Prior to joining Tranquis, Frederic was co-founder and CEO of LARRK Bio Inc. an immuno-dermatology startup company. At LARRK he established the company’s virtual R&D operating model and oversaw development and manufacturing of LARRK Bio’s lead program up to and including clinical proof of concept. Prior to LARRK, Frederic led the Program and Portfolio Management team at Prothena Biosciences, and he was global head of R&D Operations at Jazz Pharmaceuticals, where he led worldwide clinical operations, data management, biostatistics, strategic outsourcing, operations excellence, and program & portfolio management functions. Frederic began his career at Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) and worked for several J&J entities across Europe and the US. He was team leader and core team member of several drug development teams, and he held a variety of portfolio-level and worldwide functional leadership positions in R&D. Mr. Godderis received his MS from K.U. Leuven, Belgium.

Jonas Hannestad, M.D., Ph.D., has more than 20 years of translational and early clinical development experience in academia, midsize pharma and small biotech. His academic work focused on the then-burgeoning area of immuno-neurology, particularly on the effect of systemic inflammation on myeloid cells in the brain. He has broad hands-on expertise across multiple therapeutic areas and diseases, including epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS, and psychiatric disorders and has a proven ability to understand biological targets and pathways to match them with potential clinical indications and to bring novel medicines into clinical development. Prior to joining Tranquis, he was Senior Vice President of Clinical Development at Alkahest. In earlier roles, he served as Medical Director at Denali Therapeutics and the Director of Neuroscience Discovery Medicine at UCB Pharma. Prior to his industry work he led the Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit at Yale School of Medicine. He did postdoctoral work and residency training at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Duke School of Medicine and UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. Dr. Hannestad received his PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Messina, Italy, and his MD from the University of Oviedo, Spain.

About Tranquis
Tranquis Therapeutics is discovering and developing innovative medicines with the potential to revolutionize the management of neurodegenerative and aging-related diseases and to dramatically reduce the burden these illnesses place on patients, families and societies worldwide. Founded on groundbreaking neuro-immunology research from the laboratory of Professor Edgar Engleman, MD, at Stanford University, Tranquis’ novel therapeutic approach targets underlying myeloid immune cell dysfunction that has been linked to a variety of nervous system disorders. The company’s portfolio is comprised of small molecules which cross the bloodbrain barrier, and the lead therapeutic candidate has demonstrated highly encouraging effects in challenging preclinical models of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), Parkinson’s Disease (PD), and age-related cognitive impairment. Tranquis plans to initiate development in orphan neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS and FTD and later expand into more prevalent diseases such as PD and Alzheimer’s Disease. For more information, visit