BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cerevel Therapeutics, a company dedicated to bringing leading-edge solutions to people impacted by nervous system diseases, today announced the continued expansion of its management team with the appointment of three seasoned leaders to support critical functions, including John Renger, Ph.D., as chief scientific officer; Kathy Yi as chief financial officer; and Ken DiPietro as chief human resources officer.
“Cerevel Therapeutics was purpose-built to focus on the unique needs of people impacted by devastating nervous system diseases—a model that is attracting business leaders with diverse backgrounds from across the industry,” said Tony Coles, M.D., executive chairman of Cerevel Therapeutics. “This is an incredibly exciting time as we continue to advance our pipeline and bring together a management team that shares our vision and passion. John, Kathy, and Ken each have a proven track record in their respective areas of expertise and will be instrumental in accelerating our pursuit of leading-edge solutions that can meaningfully impact patients’ lives.”
All three positions are newly created. While Dr. Renger’s and Mr. DiPietro’s appointments are effective immediately, Ms. Yi will join in June following a transition from her current employer.
Renger, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Renger will lead the company’s research initiatives and oversee its early clinical development strategy. He will also be responsible for helping expand the company’s pipeline through internal discovery efforts and external collaborations.
Dr. Renger joins Cerevel Therapeutics from Imbrium Therapeutics L.P., where he served as vice president of research and development and regulatory affairs, leading the company’s overall scientific direction. Previously, Dr. Renger held roles of increasing responsibility at Merck & Co. over a 15-year tenure, most recently serving as associate vice president, where he led therapeutic target acceleration and translational capabilities for the company’s neuroscience programs.
Throughout his career, Dr. Renger led teams that advanced more than 40 compounds into clinical development, representing several modalities and addressing a range of nervous system diseases. He oversaw clinical development of gene knockdown technology to evaluate novel antisense delivery approaches, worked on multiple teams that designed PET tracers to image therapeutic targets in the brain, and initiated a translational electroencephalogram sleep research lab that was instrumental in the discovery, development, and regulatory approval of Belsomra® (suvorexant), a first-in-class orexin receptor antagonist, in both the United States and Japan. This achievement represented the discovery of a new treatment approach and is the first and only medicine approved to specifically target sleep-wake neural networks within the brain.
A neuroscientist by training, Dr. Renger was a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Learning and Memory. He began his career at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan. Dr. Renger earned his Ph.D. in biological sciences and neurogenetics at the University of Iowa where he also completed his B.S. in biology. He has published more than 142 peer-reviewed articles, been featured in the popular press, and serves on the board of directors or scientific advisory boards of multiple companies.
Yi, Chief Financial Officer
Ms. Yi will be responsible for managing all aspects of Cerevel Therapeutics’ finances. In this role, she will help shape the strategic direction of the company and achieve key operational objectives, utilizing her previous experience guiding effective resource allocation to drive the future growth of the company’s portfolio.
Ms. Yi joined Cerevel Therapeutics from Sangamo Therapeutics where she served as executive vice president, chief financial officer and secretary. At Sangamo, she was responsible for leading the corporate finance, accounting, information technology, and facility operations functions. During her tenure, the company increased its market capitalization from about $300 million to over $1 billion, and more than doubled its headcount from nearly 120 employees to approximately 300 employees. She also oversaw and helped complete the closing of two research and development collaborations with Pfizer and Gilead totaling an upfront value of $220 million with potential for both near- and longer-term milestone and royalty payments.
Prior experience includes positions of increasing responsibility at Novartis, Life Technologies Corp., and Intel Corp. She began her career as a process/project engineer at Bechtel Corp., a leading global engineering, construction, and project management company.
Ms. Yi earned her B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.
DiPietro, Chief Human Resources Officer
Mr. DiPietro will lead the work to grow, engage, and develop all aspects of Cerevel Therapeutics’ people resources, as well as create and install systems to establish a workplace of distinction. He has more than three decades of experience in talent management strategy, including career development, recruiting, global operations, and culture transformation.
Prior to joining Cerevel Therapeutics, Mr. DiPietro served as chief talent officer for Oak Hill Capital Partners, as well as a senior advisor to several Polaris Ventures portfolio companies. Previously, he was a director at InVivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp. after serving as executive vice president of human resources at Biogen. Earlier in his career, Mr. DiPietro held senior human resources roles with Lenovo Group Limited, Microsoft Corporation, and Dell Technologies.
Mr. DiPietro began his career at PepsiCo, where during a 19-year tenure, he served in a range of human resource and general management positions encompassing different lines of business and across functions, regions, and geographies.
Mr. DiPietro earned a B.S. in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University. He sits on the Dean’s Advisory Board at Cornell, the Peer Roundtable, the Boston Posse Advisory Board, and advises a small number of technology startups focused on human resource management.
About Cerevel Therapeutics
Cerevel Therapeutics (www.cerevel.com) is dedicated to bringing leading-edge solutions to people impacted by nervous system diseases. The company has a diversified pipeline comprising three clinical-stage investigational therapies and several pre-clinical compounds with the potential to treat a range of nervous system diseases, including epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and addiction. Headquartered in the Greater Boston area, Cerevel Therapeutics is fueled to advance its current research and development programs while exploring new modalities through internal research efforts, external collaborations, or acquisitions.
Editor’s note: Belsomra® (suvorexant) is a registered trademark of Merck & Co.