Kenneth Attie, M.D., joins Versanis as Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, bringing more than 30 years of experience developing biotherapeutics
Aditya Venugopal, Ph.D., serves as Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Strategic Planning, with more than 15 years of experience in biotechnology
NEW YORK, Oct. 18, 2022 — Versanis Bio (“Versanis”), a clinical stage company advancing novel therapeutics for people living with obesity and cardiometabolic diseases, today announced two key leadership appointments. Versanis welcomed Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Kenneth Attie, M.D., and Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Strategic Planning, Aditya Venugopal, Ph.D.
“Ken and Aditya each have demonstrated success growing biotechnology companies,” said Versanis CEO Mark Pruzanski, M.D. “They join our team at a critical moment, lending valued perspective and expertise as we advance our lead asset bimagrumab in a Phase 2b study, soon to be underway for the initial indication of obesity.”
Bimagrumab is a first-in-class monoclonal antibody that binds activin type II receptors. In the forthcoming Phase 2b study, bimagrumab will be evaluated as both as a monotherapy and co-administered with the GLP-1 agonist semaglutide to assess its ability to drive additive fat loss while preventing the concomitant substantial loss of lean (muscle) mass associated with semaglutide and other incretin therapies.
Dr. Attie trained as a pediatric endocrinologist and brings more than 30 years of combined experience in academic research, biotechnology, and clinical medicine to his role at Versanis. In his career, he has led five drugs to approval across eight indications, in addition to caring for patients with endocrine and metabolic diseases. Most recently, he was the Chief Medical Officer at Imara Inc. Prior to his role at Imara, Dr. Attie served as Vice President of Medical Research at Acceleron Pharma for more than a decade, overseeing the development program leading to approval of luspatercept (Reblozyl®) in hematology and running a number of clinical studies in neuromuscular disorders with various myostatin and activin inhibitors. He also held leadership roles at Altus Pharmaceuticals and Insmed and spent more than a decade at Genentech. Dr. Attie earned his M.D. from New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine and completed his medical training at New York University and University of California, San Francisco Medical Centers.
“I look forward to applying my medical research experience and successful track record advancing therapeutic programs through regulatory approval to design and lead Versanis’ development programs,” Dr. Attie said. “Bimagrumab is an exceptional agent that has the potential to drive substantial weight loss, improve body composition, and result in sustained long-term clinical benefit for people with obesity and cardiometabolic diseases.”
Venugopal is an accomplished biopharma strategist bringing 15 years of expertise in developing strong business partnerships, capital formation, and corporate and business development strategy. Most recently, he served as Vice President of Business Development at VectivBio, where he grew the company’s portfolio with the acquisition of a platform technology broadly targeting inborn disorders of metabolism. Before joining VectivBio, he was Head of Strategic Planning at Intercept Pharmaceuticals, where he worked closely with Dr. Pruzanski to lead launch strategy and preparation for obeticholic acid in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Previously, he spent seven years in strategic life science consulting, first at Easton Associates and subsequently at Navigant Consulting. Venugopal holds a Ph.D. in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis from Cornell’s Weill Medical School.
“It’s an exciting time to join this team with a demonstrated commitment to broadening the range of possibilities for the treatment of obesity,” Venugopal said. “I am thrilled to partner with Mark again to help him build Versanis and advance bimagrumab as a truly differentiated drug candidate.”
Bimagrumab is a first-in-class, fully human IgG1/λ monoclonal antibody to activin type II receptors that blocks binding of ligands including myostatin, activins, and GDF11. Bimagrumab treatment decreases body fat, especially abdominal visceral fat, while at the same time increasing muscle mass. Bimagrumab has been administered to more than 1,000 patients for up to 18 months across more than 20 completed clinical studies. It is now being advanced as a novel treatment for patients living with obesity, with additional indications to follow.
Versanis Bio is a privately held, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company bringing transformational treatments to people living with cardiometabolic disease. The company’s lead asset, bimagrumab, is being advanced in a Phase 2b study as a novel treatment for obesity to help adults achieve and maintain both substantial fat loss and a healthy body composition, with additional indications to follow. Versanis was founded in 2021 and is a portfolio company of Aditum Bio, Atlas Venture, and Medicxi. In September 2022, the company was named to Endpoints 11, Endpoints News’ premier list of biotech’s most promising startups. For more information, please visit www.versanisbio.com.