Dr. Luca Santarelli is the founder, Chief Executive Officer, and board member of VectivBio. Dr. Santarelli has more than 20 years of experience in academic and industrial R&D, having led drug programs in the areas of neuroscience, rare diseases, ophthalmology, metabolic and G.I., spanning the value chain from discovery research to commercialization. Most recently, Dr. Santarelli served as Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Therachon AG. Therachon was focused on the discovery and development of therapeutics for rare pediatric conditions, and was acquired by Pfizer, Inc., in 2019 for $810 million.
Prior to Therachon, he spent 12 years at Roche, most recently serving as the Senior Vice President and Head of Neuroscience, Ophthalmology and Rare Diseases, as well as Small Molecule Research at Roche in Switzerland. In this capacity, he advanced over 20 NMEs to the clinic and various NMEs to registration studies including ocrelizumab in Multiple Sclerosis, gantenerumab in Alzheimer’s disease, balovaptan in Autism, risdiplam in Spinal Muscular Atrophy and faricimab in Diabetic Macular Edema and Age-related Macular Degeneration. During this period, he also catalyzed the creation of Synosia and Clementia, two companies built from Roche’s asset spin-offs, and led the company to multiple in-licensing deals.
Previously, he was a faculty at Columbia University and a co-founder of BrainCells Inc., a company focused on the discovery of novel antidepressants that are able to stimulate the growth of new neurons, with Nobel laureate Eric Kandel, Rene Hen and Fred Gage.
Dr. Santarelli completed his M.D. and Psychiatry Residency at the University of Turin, Italy, and a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University, focusing on the molecular mechanisms of psychiatric disorders and adult brain stem cells. His work has been published in high impact journals including Nature, Science, Nature Neuroscience, Archives of Neurology and JAMA Psychiatry.