Sigilon Taps Bioverativ Veteran as New CEO After Paul Wotton Steps Aside Due To Family Matters
Published: Aug 14, 2018 By Alex Keown
A little more than one year after Flagship Pioneering launched Sigilon Therapeutics, the company has a new chief executive officer. This morning Sigilon announced Bioverativ veteran Rogerio Vivaldi will helm the Cambridge, Mass.-based company.
Vivaldi takes over for Paul Wotton, who will step away from his role as CEO to “manage a family health issue,” the company said. Wotton will remain with Sigilon in an advisory role and will continue to hold a seat on the company’s board of directors, Sigilon added.
Vivaldi most recently served as chief global therapeutic operations officer at Bioverativ, a Biogen spinout that was acquired by Sanofi earlier this year for $11.6 billion. Vivaldi co-founded and served as CEO of Minerva Neurosciences, a clinical-stage company developing products for patients with neuropsychiatric diseases. He has also held leadership roles at Spark Therapeutics and Genzyme.
Doug Cole, Sigilon’s chairman of the board and a managing partner at Flagship Pioneering, thanked Paul for leading the young company through its first phase of growth. Wotton, Cole said, built a product pipeline, secured a significant partnership with Eli Lilly and attracted top executives to help lead the company.
In April, Sigilon and Eli Lilly entered into an agreement to develop encapsulated cell therapies for the potential treatment of type 1 diabetes. Lilly provided an upfront payment of $63 million to harness Sigilon’s Afibromer technology product platform to develop the encapsulated cell therapies that can be implanted within a patient. Sigilon will create proprietary products comprised of induced pluripotent stem cells, which is a type of stem cell derived from adult cells. Those will be engineered into differentiated insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells and encapsulated using Sigilon's Afibromer technology.
Cole said Vivaldi’s experience with therapeutics and commercializing products will lead the company through its next phase of growth, and Vivaldi will lead Sigilon to its full potential.
With Vivaldi at the helm, Sigilon said looks to move into the clinic and aim for potential regulatory approval of its pipeline products. The company also plans to expand into new therapeutic disease areas, beyond its initial pipeline in diabetes, hemophilia and lysosomal storage disorders.
"Sigilon's platform represents exciting new opportunities for patients with hematologic, enzyme deficiency, endocrine and metabolic disorders—and this is just the beginning," Vivaldi said in a statement. "I look forward to advancing the company's vision, mission and promising pipeline to meaningfully impact the lives of people with chronic and serious disorders."