European neuro RNA biotech Vico Therapeutics nabs Bayer alum as CMO

MRI brain scan
((Ildar Imashev / Getty Images)) (Ildar Imashev/Getty Images)

Netherlands-based biotech Vico Therapeutics has signed up biopharma veteran Rupert Sandbrink, M.D., Ph.D., as its new chief medical officer.

Sandbrink comes to the biotech, which is hoping to tap RNA to find new therapies for neurological disorders, from German CRO-biotech hybrid’s spinout Topas Therapeutics, which is working on a series of targets including multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease.

Before his Topas role, he was executive vice president of multiple sclerosis/neurology and immunology at Forward Pharma, and he also served a stint at Bayer across several R&D roles.

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While at the German pharma, Sandbrink led the clinical development programs for multiple small molecules and biologics including blockbuster eye drug Eylea and Sanofi-Genzyme partnered MS drug Lemtrada.

At Vico, which was only founded last year, he will help lead its early-stage work on its antisense oligonucleotide platform, which is focusing on different forms of spinocerebellar ataxia and Huntington disease.

Its early discovery RNA editing platform is directed toward Rett syndrome, a rare genetic neurological disorder that occurs almost exclusively in girls and leads to severe impairments.

“I am delighted to join the highly experienced team at Vico to discover, develop and deliver therapies for rare CNS disorders, and I am looking forward to bringing Vico's lead compound to the clinic for the benefits of patients suffering from these progressive and potentially fatal neurogenetic diseases,” said Sandbrink.

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