Announces two senior appointments to product development and manufacturing and finance teams
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., April 20, 2021 – Vera Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing and commercializing transformative treatments for patients with serious immunological diseases, today announced the appointment of Celia Lin, MD, as Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Lin brings extensive clinical and industry experience in orphan diseases and multiple therapeutic areas, including nephrology and inflammation. In addition, the Company announced the appointments of Tad Thomas, PhD, as Senior Vice President (SVP) and Head of Product Development and Manufacturing and Joseph Young, MBA, as SVP of Finance.
“We are excited to have Celia, Tad, and Joe join Vera in these vital roles as we advance the development of our lead clinical candidate, atacicept, for patients with IgA nephropathy and other autoimmune diseases,” said founder and CEO Marshall Fordyce, MD. “Celia’s breadth of expertise in the development of biologics and small molecules for orphan diseases, as well as key therapeutic areas including nephrology and immunology, will play a critical role in helping us fulfill our mission to develop transformative new therapies that improve patients’ lives.”
“I am thrilled to leverage my clinical experience in B-cell targeted therapies, nephrology, and rare disease at Vera as we evaluate atacicept in the clinic,” said Dr. Lin.
Prior to joining Vera Therapeutics, Dr. Lin was a Senior Medical Director at Genentech where she was responsible for Phase III global study execution and regulatory filing in an orphan disease. She also was the global development lead for a small molecule in multiple sclerosis and led other projects, including monoclonal antibodies, bispecifics, and complement inhibition assets in various therapeutic areas such as respiratory, allergy, nephrology, infectious disease, and inflammation. Previously, she was a medical director in clinical development and medical affairs at Amgen where she led teams and activities related to the approval and commercialization of two osteoporosis therapies.
Dr. Lin is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology. Prior to joining industry, she was on faculty at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) seeing patients at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care System. She received her MD from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and a BS from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She trained in internal medicine at Boston Medical Center and in rheumatology at UCLA and Washington University in St. Louis where she also was a post-doctoral fellow.
In his role as SVP and Head of Product Development and Manufacturing, Dr. Thomas leads Vera’s process development, manufacturing, analytical sciences, and quality control operations. Dr. Thomas joined Vera Therapeutics from Codexis, Inc., where he served as Associate VP, Technical Operations, overseeing preclinical development for biotherapeutic products and management of external contract manufacturing partnerships. Previously, he worked as a research and process development scientist, managed clinical manufacturing, manufacturing site transfers, and contract manufacturing partnerships, and led the drafting of the Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) sections for marketing applications at Alexion, Coulter Pharmaceuticals, InterMune, Ipsen, and Bayer. Dr. Thomas holds a PhD in biochemistry and biophysics from UC, Davis, and received a BA in biochemistry from UC, Berkeley. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital focused on GTP-binding protein-mediated transmembrane signal transduction.
As Vera’s SVP of Finance, Mr. Young is responsible for finance and accounting, administration, and corporate operations. Before joining Vera, Mr. Young was SVP of Finance at Plexxikon Inc., where he served in positions of increasing responsibility during a 14-year tenure and led the accounting and finance operations supporting the company’s sale to Daiichi Sankyo for nearly $1 billion in 2011. Post-merger, he continued to oversee accounting and finance, as well as other business functions for Plexxikon, and was a member of the management team during a period in which two of the company’s drugs were approved and launched in oncology indications. Prior to Plexxikon, Mr. Young was a member of the finance teams at Cerus Corporation and VaxGen, Inc. Mr. Young began his career as an auditor for Ernst & Young LLP. He received an MBA from UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business, and a BA from UCLA. He is a certified public accountant (inactive status).
Atacicept is a fully humanized fusion protein that impacts the B-cell pathway, which has well characterized implications in immunologic diseases. Atacicept contains the soluble transmembrane activator and calcium-modulating cyclophilin ligand interactor (TACI) receptor that binds to the cytokines B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL). These cytokines are members of the tumor necrosis factor family that promote B-cell survival and autoantibody production associated with IgA nephropathy (IgAN) and other immunologic diseases. Dual blockade of BlyS and APRIL has been shown to be more potent than blocking BLyS alone and has the benefit of targeting long-lived plasma cells in addition to B cells, thus reducing autoantibody production, including Gd-IgA1, IgA, IgG, and IgM. Therefore, atacicept’s mechanism acts directly on the source of many immunologic diseases, including IgAN. Atacicept has a large and established safety data set in which it has demonstrated an acceptable tolerability profile in clinical trials of more than 1,500 patients to date.
About Vera Therapeutics
Vera Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing and commercializing transformative treatments for patients with serious immunological diseases. Vera’s lead program is atacicept, a fusion protein that is in development for IgA nephropathy, a disease with high unmet medical need and no approved therapies. In addition, Vera is evaluating additional diseases where atacicept’s reduction of autoantibodies may prove medically useful, including lupus nephritis (LN), a severe renal manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). For more information please visit www.veratx.com.
Greig Communications, Inc.