Sigilon Therapeutics is bringing on Bioverativ’s chief global therapeutic operations officer, Rogerio Vivaldi, M.D., to serve as its CEO.
The change comes as Sigilon plans to move its cell-based therapeutic implants into the clinic for phase 1 trials, initially focused in diabetes, hemophilia and lysosomal storage disorders, alongside expansions of the pipeline into new disease areas.
Vivaldi takes the place of Paul Wotton, Ph.D., who plans to stay on at the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company as an adviser while managing a family health issue, Sigilon said in a statement. Wotton will also continue to hold a seat on the board.
“I’ve been privileged to work alongside a talented team as we designed the company for success. The company has achieved promising milestones in multiple therapeutic areas and is in a strong position for the future,” Wotton said. “I am excited that Rogerio has joined Sigilon and look forward to seeing the company’s growth under his leadership.”
Sigilon is working to develop a “living therapeutics” platform with implantable genetically engineered cells that secrete therapeutic proteins once inside the body. The cells are cloaked from the body’s immune responses by polymer capsules that prevent foreign body responses for at least 12 months. In addition, the company says the cells can be dose-adjusted or removed as needed.
Before joining Bioverativ—the hemophilia-focused company spun out from Biogen in 2016, and later acquired by Sanofi in January for $11.6 billion—Vivaldi served as chief commercial officer at Spark Therapeutics, where he helped build the company’s medical affairs and patient advocacy groups.
Prior to that, he co-founded Minerva Neurosciences, serving as president and CEO—and also led the rare disease business at Genzyme, where he was also appointed president of the renal and endocrine group and senior VP and general manager of the company’s Latin America group.
“We thank Paul for his leadership through Sigilon’s first phase of growth, establishing a firm footing for the company’s product platform, building a product pipeline, securing and developing a significant pharma partnership, and attracting a top-notch leadership team,” said Board Chairman Doug Cole, managing partner at Flagship Pioneering, which helped found the company in 2016.
“We welcome Rogerio to lead Sigilon’s next phase of growth,” Cole said. “His deep therapeutic and commercial experience, expertise, and viewpoint across various therapeutic modalities and drug development will be invaluable to building Sigilon to its full potential.”