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Azitra Appoints Francisco Salva as Chief Executive Officer

Azitra, Inc., the first synthetic biology company focused on discovering and developing therapies to address serious skin conditions by harnessing the microbiome, today announced the appointment of Francisco Salva as President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Salva most recently served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Complexa, a clinical stage company developing innovative therapies for fibrotic and inflammatory diseases.

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Francisco Salva, President and Chief Executive Officer, Azitra, Inc. (Photo: Business Wire)

Francisco Salva, President and Chief Executive Officer, Azitra, Inc. (Photo: Business Wire)

Azitra’s mission is to lead the understanding and translation of microbial signaling into novel dermatology therapeutics that make a meaningful difference to patients by improving their quality of life. Thus far, Azitra’s technology platform has generated two biotherapeutic programs that are entering clinical studies for Netherton syndrome and for Cancer Therapy Associated Rash. Additionally, the pipeline utilizing engineered microbes includes several other programs in preclinical testing.

“Azitra’s groundbreaking, microbial dermatology platform is at the forefront of one of the most dynamic areas of synthetic biology. The company’s scientific groundwork offers the potential to leverage the multitude of mechanistic signaling pathways developed by microbes over thousands of years of evolution,” said Mr. Salva. “The company has a strong foundation in place, backed by intriguing science, talented people, and a clinically ready pipeline. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead Azitra into the next stage of development.”

Mr. Salva brings to Azitra a proven dedication to building companies, including over a decade in biopharmaceutical executive leadership and a decade in life science venture capital and investment banking. His growth-oriented experience transcends numerous business functions, including corporate finance, business development, portfolio management and clinical operations.

Prior to Complexa, Mr. Salva was a Founder and Vice President of Operations at Acerta Pharma, which successfully developed acalabrutinib, a second generation Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitor, prior to being acquired by AstraZeneca for $4 billion to date (expected total consideration of over $6 billion). Before Acerta Pharma, Mr. Salva served as Senior Director of Corporate Development at Pharmacyclics, where he participated in the strategic turnaround of the company that reprioritized focus and efforts on ibrutinib, a key driver of AbbVie’s $21 billion acquisition of the company.

“Using synthetic biology over the last four years, we’ve built Azitra into a leading company in the microbiome space. Central to this has been the building blocks of strong science and a great team,” said Rick Andrews, the company’s retiring CEO. “Francisco is the right person to lead Azitra into its next stage of growth.”

“As CEO and President, Rick has done an amazing job transforming Azitra from a research-oriented firm into a clinical-stage company. We wish Rick the best in his retirement,” said Travis Whitfill, Co-founder, Executive Director of Advanced Technology and Chair, Scientific Advisory Board at Azitra. “We are excited to bring in Francisco’s remarkable experience and leadership. His appointment represents a progression and enhancement of the Azitra mission.”

About Azitra

Azitra, Inc. is a synthetic biology, clinical-stage, dermatology company that combines the power of the microbiome with cutting-edge genetic engineering to treat skin disease. The company was founded in 2014 by scientists from Yale University and works with world-leading scientists in dermatology, microbiology, and genetic engineering to advance its biopharmaceutical programs to treat cancer therapy associated skin rashes, targeted orphan indications, and atopic dermatitis.

Learn more at

We are excited to bring in Francisco’s remarkable experience and leadership. His appointment represents a progression and enhancement of the Azitra mission.


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