David Moller joins as Chief Scientific Officer and Steve Bryant as Chief Business Officer, adding deep expertise to executive team
Variant Bio, a genomics-driven drug discovery company, is transitioning from a company that focused on identifying genomic variants that uncover the basis of disease resistance, to one that now also transforms those findings into therapies addressing unmet medical needs in areas such as fibrotic, kidney, and liver disease.
The appointment of David Moller, MD, as Chief Scientific Officer, and Steve Bryant, PhD, as Chief Business Officer, two long time stars of biopharma innovation, signals a new level of maturation of the company. Drs. Moller and Bryant joined Variant Bio to deliver on the company’s unique potential to create novel therapeutics in multiple areas of unmet need and to spearhead a new approach to more equitable drug discovery and development.
To date the company has built a foundation of more than 20 genomic research partnerships across six continents and has spent the last several years developing novel insights based on these collaborations. Drs. Moller and Bryant will help to harness the most promising of these findings and translate them into therapeutic programs to create value for Variant Bio, and for partner communities and patients through a pioneering benefit-sharing program and Affordable Medicines Pledge.
David E. Moller, MD, brings over 20 years of experience leading R&D efforts in both large pharmaceutical companies and in biotech - most notably Eli Lilly and Merck. At Variant Bio, he will be responsible for leading scientific-related activities with a focus on the discovery and development of novel therapeutics. Dr. Moller is an expertly trained physician-scientist with a demonstrated ability to turn genetic insights into therapeutic programs, and to oversee both research and clinical development. His accomplishments included the advent of several successful medicines such as Januvia(R) (sitagliptin)1, Trulicity(R) (dulaglutide)2, and Mounjaro (tirzepatide)(R) injection.3
Steve Bryant, PhD, is a recognized industry leader in business development and partnering strategy, and will be responsible for leading this area at Variant Bio, including structuring, negotiation, and oversight of industry collaborations. Dr. Bryant trained as a geneticist and bioinformatics scientist before embarking on a long career in business development. Most recently, he served as Head of Global Business Development at Genmab, where he led the deal team that put together numerous high-value licensing deals that resulted in successful drugs and many drugs now in clinical development. Several of these launched products are now blockbusters and have collectively resulted in several billion dollars in licensing revenue.
“I’m deeply excited to add David and Steve, with their complementary experience and expertise, to our talented team,” said Andrew Farnum, CEO of Variant Bio. “David’s expertise in drug discovery-development is extraordinary, but most importantly he has direct experience turning genetic insights into therapeutic programs –which is fundamental to our objectives as a company.”
On Steve Bryant, Mr. Farnum said, “Steve is an industry leader in putting together value-creating deals that accelerate therapeutics through development to commercialization, but more importantly he has worked hard to build lasting relationships with others in the industry, following the maxim that deals are first and foremost done between people, on a foundation of trust and mutual benefit.”
About Variant Bio and Ethical, People-Driven Therapeutics
Seattle-based Variant Bio utilizes genetics, molecular biology, and anthropology to identify relevant communities with whom it partners. The company focuses on identifying exceptional health-related traits and genetic variants that are rare globally, but common locally within such communities. Variant Bio’s genomics researchers then look for associations between these genetic variants and biological traits that reveal insights with global medical relevance. Its R&D team further validates and builds on these findings to discover and develop novel therapeutics. The company focuses on indications with significant global unmet needs including, to date, fibrotic, kidney, and liver disease.
The company co-designs genomic research studies with local researchers in association with partnering communities and is committed to sharing research findings with them. Through an innovative and unprecedented financial benefit-sharing program, Variant Bio has pledged tangible benefits, both short and long-term, for the communities with which it partners. In the short term, benefits can include support for local healthcare, environment, education, and cultural initiatives. In the long term, the company has pledged to share 4% of revenue plus 4% of its equity value with partner communities.
Variant Bio is now poised to advance multiple potentially life-changing therapeutic programs toward the clinic, and to create concomitant value for partner communities around the globe who have entrusted the company with their genetic data. The company has raised $130mm to date from a top-tier syndicate of biotech and tech investors, including Lux Capital, General Catalyst, Alta Partners, SoftBank, Cercano Management, Casdin Capital, Sahsen Ventures, and others.
1 Januvia is a registered trademark of Merck & Co.
2 Trulicity is a registered trademark of Eli Lilly and Company.
3 Mounjaro is a registered trademark of Eli Lilly and Company.