Healthcare Industry News: neurodegenerative
News Release - February 23, 2010
iPierian Appoints Dr. Michael Venuti as President and Chief Scientific OfficerSOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Feb. 23 -- (Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network) -- iPierian, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on changing the paradigm of drug discovery and development through the application of cellular reprogramming, today announced the appointment of Michael C. Venuti, Ph.D., as president and chief scientific officer.
"A major goal for iPierian over the next five years is to develop drug candidates, both on its own and through partnerships, based on the application of cellular reprogramming to the discovery process. Mike's expertise using cell-based human disease models will be instrumental as we apply our induced pluripotent stem cell technology to find more effective therapeutics for patients," said John P. Walker, chief executive officer of iPierian. "We will look to his 25 years of experience leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and establishing large-scale discovery and development collaborations, to help us advance our proprietary neurodegenerative programs and develop partnerships in broad therapeutic areas such as metabolic disease. His efforts will complement those of our vice president of research and chief technology officer Dr. Berta Strulovici, who will continue to lead and direct our research programs."
"In addition, Mike brings significant experience in the focused direction and growth of early-stage companies, having worked with two of our major investors, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers and MPM Capital, in scientific advisory capacities over the last decade. We see this experience as highly complementary to our team, and as an important skill to have available as the company continues to grow," concluded Mr. Walker.
"Since its founding just two years ago, iPierian has rapidly become the industry leader in applying this breakthrough technology to new therapeutic discovery and development," said Dr. Venuti. "The company's approach has the potential to introduce patient-based human disease pharmacology at every stage of the discovery and clinical development process, promising better drugs for the treatment of human disease. I am excited to be joining the company at this pivotal stage."
Prior to joining iPierian, Dr. Venuti served as chief executive officer and member of the board of directors of BioSeek, Inc, a company using high throughput biological systems for drug discovery, which was acquired by Asterand plc in February 2010. He previously served as chief executive officer and member of the board of directors of Discovery Partners International, a small molecule-based drug discovery services company. Dr. Venuti led the merger of Discovery Partners into Infinity Pharmaceuticals in 2006. From 2001 through 2005, he held positions as senior vice president, Business Development and Pharmacogenomics, and senior vice president, Research and Preclinical Development at Celera Genomics, and served as the general manager of Celera South San Francisco. He served as senior vice president, Research and Preclinical Development, at Axys Pharmaceuticals prior to its acquisition by Celera. Prior to joining Axys, Dr. Venuti was director of Bioorganic Chemistry at Genentech, Inc., and began his research career in medicinal chemistry at Syntex Research.
Dr. Venuti holds an A.B. from Dartmouth College, and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is on the board of directors of Infinity Pharmaceuticals, and serves as a consultant to a number of biotech and venture capital groups.
iPierian is a South San Francisco-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the industrialization of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology with the mission of creating new therapeutics through cellular reprogramming and directed differentiation of patient cells. iPierian is backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Highland Capital Partners, MPM Capital and FinTech Global Capital. The initial focus of the company is in neurodegeneration, particularly spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson's disease, metabolic disease and cardiovascular disease, where iPierian has a collaboration with The Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and Dr. Deepak Srivastava, the institute's director and co-chair of the iPierian scientific advisory board (SAB). In 2009, the company announced a formal collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University to develop and improve methods of deriving iPS cell lines in order to advance iPSC technology. The company's SAB is comprised of leading researchers and authorities in the stem cell field including individuals from the University of California and Harvard University where the co-chair of the SAB, Dr. George Daley is an associate professor.
Because iPS cells are believed to be able to grow indefinitely in culture and to differentiate into many cell types, iPS cells have great potential for disease research, preclinical drug testing and cell-based therapy. iPierian's approach places the patient at the forefront of the drug discovery process in order to reduce drug development time and increase the probability of success for drug candidates. iPierian plans to use precise human disease models to find new molecular targets and develop proprietary small molecule or biologic therapeutics.
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