Vedanta poaches former Genzyme VP, announces new Cambridge expansion

Vedanta CSO Bruce Roberts

Vedanta Biosciences has appointed a Genzyme veteran as its new chief science officer as it expands into its new HQ in Massachusetts. 

The biotech firm--founded by Boston-based healthcare company PureTech Health--has taken on immunology expert and former Genzyme group vice president Bruce Roberts as its new CSO.

This comes as the firm moves into its new headquarters and R&D facility in Cambridge, MA, which includes a state-of-the-art GMP facility for the production of live bacterial drugs.

Vedanta is currently developing a new class of therapies designed to modulate the human microbiome to treat autoimmune, inflammatory and infectious diseases.

The microbiome is the genetic makeup of microbes' genes and Vedanta, alongside a slew of other biotechs and pharma firms, is hoping it can create new medicines from modulating the billions of organisms inherent in the human body.

Roberts, who will head the new Cambridge site, has 30 years' experience in the biotech and pharma industry. He most recently served as head of neuro-immunology and immune-mediated disease research at Sanofi's ($SNY) biotech arm Genzyme, where he directed preclinical efforts resulting in the introduction of therapeutic antibodies, gene therapies, cell therapies and small molecules.

PureTech CEO Daphne Zohar

Daphne Zohar, CEO of PureTech, said: "With the addition of Bruce Roberts as CSO and the move to a new state-of-the-art facility, Vedanta is poised to continue to lead this exciting new field."

Last year, Vedanta announced a long-term $241 million deal with Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) on a new bacterial treatment for inflammatory bowel disease, as more Big Pharma players seek to get into this new and cutting-edge research area.

Roberts said: "Microbiome modulation is among the most exciting and rapidly evolving fields in science, and it has tremendous potential to change the way medicine is practiced. I am excited to join one of the leading teams in this field and I look forward to driving Vedanta's technology platform and pipeline forward."

- read the announcement