Vedanta Biosciences Expands Team with Additions of Head of Preclinical Development and Head of Intellectual Property
Boston, Massachusetts, October 13, 2015 – Vedanta Biosciences, a PureTech Health (PureTech Health plc PRTC.L) company pioneering the development of a new class of therapies designed to modulate the human microbiome, today announced the addition of Lisa Rae Schopf, PhD, who has joined the Company as Head of Preclinical Development; and Erik J. Spek, PhD, who has joined as Head of Intellectual Property.
Vedanta is advancing a pipeline of product candidates designed to treat autoimmune, inflammatory, and infectious diseases, which are developed using a proprietary technology platform that enables mining of the human microbiome for potent pharmaceutical products. Vedanta has foundational intellectual property issued in Japan, the site of its initial filing, and has pending patent applications in other major geographies.
“We are delighted to welcome Lisa and Erik to our team,” said Bernat Olle, CEO of Vedanta Biosciences. “This is an exciting time for Vedanta, and their experience and leadership will be invaluable as we advance our pipeline of drug candidates and scale our discovery platform.”
Dr. Schopf previously served as the Senior Director of Preclinical Development at clinical-stage pharmaceutical company Kala Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Schopf has over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry focused in inflammatory diseases, immunology, and pharmacology. She has worked at Virdante Pharmaceuticals, Abbott Bioresearch Center, Millennium as well as Genetics Institute. Dr. Schopf received her B.S. in Biology from Carroll College in Wisconsin, her M.S. in the Department of Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin, and her PhD in the Department of Animal Health & Biomedical Sciences from the University of Wisconsin.
Dr. Spek joins Vedanta Biosciences from Epizyme, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focusing on epigenetic targets, where he served as Director of IP. Prior to Epizyme, Dr. Spek worked at Boston-based IP law firm Wolf Greenfield, focusing on prosecution, FTO, and due diligence in a variety of bio and pharma related technologies. Dr. Spek graduated cum laude from Suffolk Law School, has a B.S. in Chemistry and Philosophy from Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, a PhD in Biophysical Chemistry from New York University, and conducted his postdoctoral research in Biological Engineering at MIT.
Vedanta Biosciences is pioneering development of a novel class of therapies that modulate pathways of interaction between the human microbiome and the host immune system. The Company was founded by PureTech Health (PureTech Health plc, PRTC.L) and a group of world-renowned experts in immunology and microbiology, including Dr. Ruslan Medzhitov (Professor of Immunobiology at Yale), Dr. Alexander Rudensky (tri-institutional Professor at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute, the Rockefeller University, and Cornell University), Dr. Dan Littman (Professor of Molecular Immunology at NYU), Dr. Brett Finlay (Professor at the University of British Columbia), and Dr. Kenya Honda (Professor, School of Medicine, Keio University). Vedanta’s Board of Directors include Board Chairman Christopher Viehbacher, Managing Partner at Gurnet Point Capital and former CEO and Member of the Board of Directors of Sanofi; Dr. Bennett Shapiro, former Executive Vice President of Merck; Dr. John LaMattina, former President of R&D at Pfizer; and David Steinberg, Co-Founder of Vedanta and Executive Vice President of Company Creation at PureTech.
In January 2015, Vedanta announced a licensing agreement with Janssen Biotech, Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, including an upfront payment and development and commercialization milestone payments of up to $339 million. Under the agreement, Jansen is developing one of the product candidates in Vedanta’s pipeline built on the Company’s technology platform.
About PureTech Health
PureTech Health (PureTech Health plc, PRTC.L) is a cross-disciplinary healthcare company, developing innovative products that could improve the lives of billions of patients. PureTech has a pipeline of 12 operating companies, seven of which are "growth stage" with external validation including strategic partnerships, outside funding, proof-of-concept or peer review in prestigious scientific journals. PureTech also has a pipeline of ten “concept phase” initiatives resulting from review of more than 650 ideas annually. PureTech is focused on areas including immune and inflammatory disorders; cognitive and psychiatric disorders; diabetes and obesity; oncology; and infectious diseases, and has over 110 patents and patent applications. PureTech's leading team and board, along with an advisory network of more than 50 expert founder-scientists and advisors across multiple disciplines, gives PureTech access to potentially ground-breaking science and technological innovation. For more information, visit www.puretechhealth.com and connect with us on Twitter.
As of June 30th, 2015, PureTech had holdings of 86.9% in Vedanta on a diluted basis. This calculation of PureTech's holding includes issued and outstanding shares as well as options to purchase shares and written commitments to issue options, but excludes unallocated shares authorized to be issued pursuant to equity incentive plans and any shares issuable upon conversion of outstanding convertible promissory notes.
SVP, Communications and Investor Relations, PureTech Health