iPierian Inc. Appoints Dr. Michael Venuti as President and Chief Scientific Officer
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Feb. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- 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.
"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.
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.
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.