Zurich, Switzerland, December 18st, 2018 – Versantis, a pharmaceutical company developing lifesaving orphan and emergency care therapies for adult and congenital pediatric liver diseases announces the appointment of Sophie Biguenet, M.D., as Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Biguenet, a trained pediatric hepato-surgeon, brings over 15 years of experience in leadership and global drug development to Versantis. In her role, she will oversee Versantis’ global clinical programs and registration strategies, starting with VS-01, an emergency care therapy for hepatic encephalopathy (HE) and Acute-on-Chronic Liver Failure (ACLF). These two indications are serious and potentially life-threatening complications of cirrhosis, which has doubled in the last decade. Innovative initiatives addressing the unmet medical need of this patient community are ever more needed.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Biguenet to Versantis,” said Dr. Vincent Forster (CEO). “Sophie is a key addition to our executive team as our lead candidate VS-01 enters first-in-human studies in early 2019. Her strong expertise across multiple therapeutic areas, including hepatology, transplantation, and pediatrics, will be a source of great strength in structuring and realising Versantis’ clinical development programs.” Commenting on the announcement, Dr. Meriam Kabbaj, Versantis co-founder and COO added: “Sophie’s unique combination as a pediatric liver transplant surgeon and as a drug developer is a tremendous asset to help us succeed in the clinical development of our truly innovative drug portfolio. We are proud to add Sophie to our executive team, not only for her strong track record but also as a person. Her career-long focus on creative study designs, rigorous and ethical patient care will be an excellent fit with our mission to make a fundamental difference in the lives of liver impaired patients”.
“This is an exciting moment for Versantis with an imminent first-in-human and multiple other trials planned in various indications. I am thrilled to join this dynamic management team and utilize my experience to bring forward the company’s strong pipeline that addresses some of the most pressing medical needs of underserved patients,” said Dr. Biguenet. “Versantis’ innovative technology has the potential to be a game-changer for patients and their caregivers in the liver and pediatric spaces. A well targeted clinical positioning of each product has raised significant interest within the medical community and will markedly reduce the current burden on the hospital and healthcare cost systems.”
Dr. Biguenet has profound experience in the clinic as a pediatric surgeon as well as in drug development. She has held global leadership positions across medical affairs, drug safety, and clinical development. She led the global (US, EU, AF) development of small molecules and biologics from pre-IND to filing and has an extensive track record in pediatric and neglected diseases. Dr. Biguenet is a board-certified General and Pediatric surgeon who completed her residency at Bicêtre University hospital (Paris, FR). Prior to joining Versantis, she held several leadership positions as Medical Director at Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV, Geneva), AbbVie (USA), and Bristol-Myers-Squibb (USA and France). She played a leading role in developing the pediatric portfolios in infectious diseases at both Bristol-Myers Squibb and Abbvie and helped introduce calcineurin inhibitors sparing regimens in liver transplantation.