CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Vedanta Biosciences, a leading clinical-stage company developing a new category of therapies for immune-mediated diseases based on rationally-defined consortia of human microbiome-derived bacteria, today announced the appointment of Jeffrey Silber, M.D., as chief medical officer. An accomplished leader in drug development, Dr. Silber brings deep experience across multiple therapeutic areas at Merck, AbbVie and EMD Serono and will guide the advancement of the company’s clinical programs. Nancy Chiu Wilker, Ph.D., J.D., also joins as vice president of legal, where among other responsibilities, she will oversee and expand the company’s foundational portfolio of patents around live biotherapeutic products.
“We are thrilled to welcome Jeff to Vedanta. Jeff’s depth of experience in the full lifecycle of product development and across therapeutic areas will be very important to our team as we continue to advance our pipeline of defined bacterial consortia,” said Bernat Olle, Ph.D., co-founder and chief executive officer of Vedanta Biosciences. “We are also delighted to welcome Nancy, whose extensive experience in building IP portfolios of innovative biotechs will fill a crucial role.”
Dr. Silber comes to Vedanta Biosciences from EMD Serono, where he served as senior vice president of global development. While there, he was a member of the portfolio-level governance and franchise leadership committees, and he co-chaired the committee overseeing the design for all clinical studies. He previously served as vice president of strategic portfolio development at AbbVie. Dr. Silber started his industry career in clinical development at Merck, where he assumed multiple strategic roles including leading anti-infective clinical development programs, the vaccine therapeutic area, and the neuroscience pipeline and program management team. During his career, Dr. Silber has overseen multiple regulatory submissions and approvals worldwide and held departmental head responsibilities spanning clinical research, project management, program leadership, pharmacovigilance, biostatistics, epidemiology and translational medicine. He has been recognized with numerous academic and professional awards, including the highest honors awarded by Merck Research Laboratories and by Merck & Co. Dr. Silber earned his B.A. in biology from Harvard University and his M.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. He received additional academic training in internal medicine at New York University/Bellevue Hospital and infectious diseases at the University of Pennsylvania. He began his career as an assistant professor of medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
“I see tremendous potential for microbiome-based therapeutics to address serious unmet needs across multiple therapeutic areas,” Dr. Silber said. “Vedanta has led the way in harnessing the power of the microbiome for drug development and pioneering a new class of live biotherapeutic products. I’m excited to join the team and to help guide the advancement of the impressive pipeline.”
Dr. Wilker previously served as vice president and lead IP counsel for Fog Pharmaceuticals, where she was responsible for the company’s intellectual property portfolio. She has also held IP counsel roles at Biogen and Seqirus and was a partner at the legal firm Sunstein LLP, where she served as IP counsel for numerous biotech companies. Dr. Wilker received her B.S. in biology and biochemistry from Colorado State University, her Ph.D. in immunology from Harvard University and her J.D. from Suffolk University Law School.
“Vedanta has built a leading IP position in microbiome therapeutics based on live bacteria,” said Dr. Wilker. “I’m looking forward to joining the team as we continue to protect and expand our foundational patent portfolio.”
Vedanta Biosciences also secured a $15 million loan facility from Oxford Finance to support its pipeline development, which includes four clinical-stage product candidates currently being evaluated for the treatment of high-risk C. difficile infection, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), food allergy and advanced and metastatic cancers (in combination with Bristol Myers Squibb’s checkpoint inhibitor, Opdivo®).
About Vedanta Biosciences
Vedanta Biosciences is leading the development of a new category of oral therapies based on rationally defined consortia of bacteria derived from the human microbiome. The company’s clinical-stage pipeline includes product candidates being evaluated for the treatment of high-risk C. difficile infection, inflammatory bowel diseases, advanced or metastatic cancers, and food allergy. These investigational therapies are grounded in pioneering research – published in leading journals including Science, Nature, and Cell – to identify beneficial bacteria that live symbiotically within the healthy human gut, fight pathogens and induce a range of potent immune responses. Vedanta Biosciences controls a foundational portfolio of more than 40 patents and has built what is believed to be the world’s biggest library of bacteria derived from the human microbiome. Proprietary capabilities include deep expertise in consortium design, vast datasets from human interventional studies and cGMP-compliant manufacturing of oral live biotherapeutics containing pure, clonally derived bacterial consortia in powdered form. Vedanta Biosciences was founded by PureTech Health (LSE: PRTC) and a global team of scientific co-founders who pioneered Vedanta’s modern understanding of the cross-talk between the microbiome and the immune system.