BASEL, Switzerland — Alentis Therapeutics, the Swiss biotech developing breakthrough treatments for fibrotic diseases, announced today that Dr. Roberto Iacone has been named Chief Executive Officer.
Dr. Iacone is a physician-scientist, a serial entrepreneur and brings more than 15 years life science industry experience to Alentis. Most recently while at Versant Ventures, he co-founded Bright Peak Therapeutics and Ridgeline Therapeutics, and was part of the leadership team that built the precision oncology company Black Diamond Therapeutics from inception through to its NASDAQ IPO in three years. Prior to Versant, Roberto was Roche’s Global Head of Rare Diseases Research, where he established numerous collaborations with academic and biotech partners, which included large and small molecule as well as gene therapy programs.
Welcoming Dr. Iacone to the company, Neil Goldsmith, Chairman of the Board of Alentis Therapeutics, said: “Alentis has developed significantly in our first year, with excellent progress in our understanding of the role of Claudin-1 as a novel therapeutic target in fibrosis and hepatobiliary cancers. We have taken major strides in Chemistry and Manufacturing Control (CMC) for our first product, and its safety profile appears very encouraging from the pilot studies conducted to date. We are delighted that Roberto has decided to join our cause, and look forward to further great strides from him and the team. We also would like to thank former CEO Markus Ewert for his fantastic work building the company, portfolio and team.”
“We’re very excited that Roberto has joined us to lead the team as the company moves to the next level in its development,” said Thomas F. Baumert MD, founder and board member of Alentis Therapeutics, Professor of Medicine and Head of the Inserm Research Institute for Viral and Liver Diseases at the University of Strasbourg. “His entrepreneurial thinking and leadership experience will rapidly advance the Alentis portfolio into the clinic addressing key unmet medical needs to improve patients’ lives and outcomes.”
“The recent advances in science enable novel therapies to treat and reverse fibrosis, which is central to multiple diseases as well as several life-threatening cancers such as hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma,” said Dr. Iacone. “Alentis has developed a tremendous portfolio and platform to develop breakthrough treatments for fibrotic diseases.”
He added that following the foundation of the company one year ago, the development of Alentis’ lead compound has markedly advanced with completed preclinical in vivo proof-of-concept studies for liver and kidney fibrosis, fibrosis-driven hepatobiliary cancer and extensive safety studies.
“As we now transition towards a clinical-stage company, I look forward to working with the team and board, our collaborators, and the investors, to realise the potential benefit for patients,” said Dr. Iacone.
“Roberto’s expertise in developing drugs in biotech, pharma and VC will be most valuable in effectively translating Alentis Therapeutics’ most promising research and its assets into clinical benefit for patients as well as commercial value,” said Dr. A. Wallnöfer, General Partner at BioMed Partners VC and former Head of Clinical Research & Exploratory Development at F. Hoffmann-La Roche.
Roberto holds an M.D. from the University of Naples, and a PhD from the Max Planck Research School for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics.
About Alentis Therapeutics
Alentis Therapeutics, the Swiss-based biotech company focused on developing breakthrough treatments for fibrotic diseases, was founded in 2019 based on ground-breaking research in the laboratory of Prof. Thomas Baumert, MD at the University of Strasbourg.
The Company’s lead candidates are monoclonal antibodies that are highly selective for Claudin-1 (CLDN1), a novel, previously unexploited target with a unique mechanism of action that plays a key regulatory role in the pathology of liver fibrosis and fibrosis-driven liver cancer. It also has early discovery programs exploring the potential of CLDN1 agonists in the treatment of fibrosis of other tissues including kidney. These represent very large and expanding markets with high unmet need. Unlike current therapies in fibrosis, which mostly address the disease indirectly, Alentis’ pioneering approach has the potential to directly modify and reverse the course of disease progression.
To date, the Company has raised CHF12.5m in a Series A financing co-led by Swiss venture capital firms BioMed Partners and BB Pureos Bioventures, with additional investments from Bpifrance, Schroder Adveq and the German High-Tech Gründerfonds. It received early stage financial and operational support from BaseLaunch, a healthcare accelerator operated by BaselArea.swiss.