Kaleido Biosciences promotes its president to CEO

Kaleido CEO Alison Lawton has worked in Massachusetts since 1991.
Kaleido CEO Alison Lawton has worked in Massachusetts since 1991.Kaleido

Kaleido Biosciences, one of a growing number of biotechs hoping to make medicines based on fresh insights about the trillions of microbes that live inside and on our bodies, has gotten a new CEO.

Alison Lawton, president and chief operating officer of the Bedford startup since December, has been elevated to chief executive.

She succeeds Michael Bonney, a biopharmaceutical veteran who has run the company for 11 months and will now serve as executive chairman of the board of directors.

Lawton, a native of Southampton, England, is herself a veteran of the industry. She has worked in Massachusetts since 1991, when she joined Genzyme Corp., which later became Sanofi Genzyme. She spent almost 23 years there, rising to senior vice president and general manager of biosurgery.


“I am so excited at this opportunity,” Lawton, 56, said in an interview. “My more than 30 years of experience in the industry has set me up to be successful in this new role.”

More than 150 drug makers globally are working on potential medicines for various disorders that could be linked to the human microbiome — the trillions of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that live inside and on our bodies, according to experts in the field. The companies have invested more than $2 billion in research.

Unlike some other companies working in the area, Kaleido — a privately held startup created by the Flagship Pioneering venture capital firm — doesn’t want to introduce live bugs into the human body to fight disease; rather, it’s creating a synthetic compound to change the function of the microbiome.

It has a drug in early clinical trials to treat urea cycle disorders, a group of diseases that make it hard for the body to remove waste products.

Founded in 2015, Kaleido has raised $165 million in venture capital and has over 100 employees. The biotech plans to move to a refurbished 50,000-square-foot office complex in Lexington next month.


“With all that we have accomplished, I believe this is the ideal time for Alison to become CEO while I maintain my commitment to the company as executive chairman,” Bonney said.

Jonathan Saltzman can be reached at jsaltzman@globe.com