Recursion, a digital biology company industrializing drug discovery, today announced the appointment of Shafique Virani, M.D., as its Chief Corporate Development Officer. In this role, Dr. Virani will serve as both Recursion’s Chief Business Officer and Chief Executive Officer of its newly formed Development Corporation, bringing extensive experience in business development and life science company-building to Recursion as it evolves with multiple clinical-stage assets and subsidiary companies.
“We have a bold ambition at Recursion; to decode biology to radically improve people’s lives,” said Chris Gibson, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO, Recursion. “To do that, we must discover new medicines at scale, and, simultaneously, ensure we can bring these new therapies to patients. This requires a sophisticated business and medical leader that can drive multiple assets forward — whether as part of Recursion, in subsidiaries or with select partners. With Shaf’s appointment as our first Chief Corporate Development Officer, we are now even better positioned to deliver our expanding portfolio to patients.”
Added Gibson, “In Shaf, we found a unique individual who can seamlessly conduct both pharmaceutical business and clinical development; he has led asset-based companies, secured foundational partnerships, managed drug licensing and M&A, and he’s a clinician by training. We are excited to learn from him and partner closely to realize our vision of being a company of companies that discovers new medicines at scale.”
Dr. Virani will lead the internal development of Recursion’s clinical-stage assets as the CEO of its Development Corporation, a wholly-owned unit of Recursion. In December 2019 Recursion spun-out CereXis, a rare, neuro-oncology company that is pursuing a Phase 2/3 registration study for Neurofibromatosis Type 2, demonstrating the translatability of discoveries made on Recursion’s platform into domain-focused subsidiaries.
The Development Corporation, helmed by Dr. Virani, will take multiple assets rapidly into clinical-stage partnerships with medium and large biopharma companies, further demonstrating the utility and applicability of discoveries from Recursion’s development engine. As more new discoveries become assets and that number accelerates each year — rapidly — so too will additional domain-focused, spin-out companies be established to meet the demand. Today, Recursion has three clinical-stage assets in development.
Dr. Virani most recently served as Chief Executive Officer of Navire Pharma and CoA Therapeutics, two subsidiaries at BridgeBio Pharma. He has 15-plus years of experience in drug development, helping to build an industry-leading portfolio in neuroscience, ophthalmology and rare diseases at Roche/Genentech through academic collaborations, licensing and acquisitions. He joined Roche in 2004 and held various roles within medical affairs, marketing and business development in the U.K., U.S. and Switzerland. Dr. Virani was trained as a neurosurgeon in Cambridge, U.K. and Boston, and holds the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, in addition to a medical degree from the University of Nottingham.
“The potential for impact at Recursion is tremendous. Coming from the industry, I appreciate the challenges of early drug discovery based on the limited informative models we have to use. Recursion’s approach to cell imaging and other -omics based approaches, combined with machine learning and automation, can rapidly accelerate drug discovery in a way that’s not been done before,” said Dr. Virani. “I am thrilled to step into this unique role and help Recursion build its pipeline, consummate partnerships at the platform and asset level and, ultimately, drive assets through clinical development to bring them to patients quickly.”
For more information on Recursion, or to view its clinical-stage pipeline and opportunities for partners, please visit www.recursionpharma.com.
Recursion is a digital biology company industrializing drug discovery. Recursion does this by combining automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, in vivo validation capabilities and a highly cross-functional team to discover novel medicines that expand our collective understanding of biology. Recursion’s rich, relatable database of 4 petabytes of biological images generated in-house on the company’s robotics platform enables advanced machine learning approaches to reveal drug candidates, mechanisms of action, novel chemistry, and potential toxicity, with the eventual goal of decoding biology and advancing new therapeutics that radically improve people’s lives. Recursion is proudly headquartered in Salt Lake City. Learn more at www.recursionpharma.com, or connect on Twitter and LinkedIn.