Murray W. Stewart, DM, FRCP, is the Chief Medical Officer of Rhythm Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of rare genetic disorders of obesity, and guided Imcivree® to FDA approval in November 2020. Prior to Rhythm, he was the Head of Research & Development at Novelion Therapeutics, where he oversaw global medical affairs for Juxtapid® and Myalept®, two marketed products for rare metabolic diseases. Previously, Dr. Stewart spent 18 years at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), serving most recently as Chief Medical Officer, and formerly as Head of Metabolic Pathways and Cardiovascular Therapy and Clinical Head of Biopharm. Preceding his career in drug development, Dr. Stewart was a physician and received his Bachelor of Medicine and Doctor of Medicine from Southampton Medical School. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.
Board of Directors
Paul R. Carter served in senior executive roles for a decade at Gilead Sciences, most recently as Executive Vice President of Commercial Operations, leading Gilead’s launch and commercialization efforts globally. Previously, he worked for 15 years at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), where he served in increasingly senior management roles in a number of territories, including as Head of International Business in Asia. Over the past five years, Mr. Carter has been involved with several public and private biopharmaceutical companies as a Board Member and Senior Advisor. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in the UK and holds a degree in Business Studies from the Ealing School of Business and Management.
Sandip Kapadia, MBA, CPA, has served as member of our board of directors since October 2020. Mr. Kapadia brings nearly 25 years of life science industry experience and is currently the Chief Financial Officer for Harmony Biosciences. Previously, Mr. Kapadia was CFO of Intercept Pharmaceuticals from 2016-2021 and held numerous finance leadership positions over 19 years at Novartis and Novartis affiliates in the United States, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, including CFO of North America at Novartis’s generic division, Sandoz. Mr Kapadia is currently also a director of Passage Bio and Molecular Partners AG, and previously of Therachon AG. Mr. Kapadia received a B.S. in Accounting from Montclair State University and an M.B.A. from Rutgers University, and is also a U.S. Certified Public Accountant.
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.
Chahra Louafi is Senior Investment Director at Bpifrance.
Prior to its acquisition by Bpifrance in 2013, she spent 12 years at CDC Entreprises leading its investments in biotherapies and rare disease funds. Before joining CDC Entreprises, she led project development and entrepreneurship in a private incubator specializing in biotechnology.
She is Chairman of Inserm Transfert Initiative and currently serves on the Boards of numerous biopharmaceutical companies including Eyevensys S.A.S., Sensorion SA, Pixium Vision SA, Gecko Biomedical SAS and ENYO Pharma SAS.
Ms. Louafi earned an M.A. in Technology and Innovation Management from Paris Dauphine University, M.A. in Corporate Finance from Paris Nanterre University and M.Sc. in Microbiology and Enzymatic Engineering from the Institut National Agronomique de Paris – Grignon.
Hans Schikan currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for InteRNA (Netherlands) and Complix (Belgium), in addition to serving on the boards of Dutch Pharvaris and Swedish Vicore Pharma. Furthermore, he is a member of the Top Team of the Dutch Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (Netherlands).
Previously, Hans Schikan was the CEO of Prosensa, which used RNA modulating treatments to treat rare diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy. During his time at Prosensa, he oversaw the listing of the company on Nasdaq and the conclusion of an M&A deal with BioMarin for up to $840 million. Prior to that, Hans Schikan held senior positions in Global Marketing and Strategic Development at Genzyme and leadership roles at Organon. Hans Schikan received his Pharm.D. from the University of Utrecht (Netherlands). He previously served on the boards of Wilson Therapeutics (acquired by Alexion), Therachon (acquired by Pfizer), Sobi, Asceneuron and Hansa Biopharma.