Unity Bio Taps Biogen Veteran Anirvan Ghosh as New CEO


Biogen veteran Anirvan Ghosh has been tapped to take over the helm of San Francisco-based Unity Biotechnology. Ghosh succeeds current Unity CEO Keith Leonard, who will step down from his role. Leonard will continue as the chairman of the board of directors.

Ghosh joins Unity Biotechnology, a company focused on developing therapeutics to extend longevity with an initial focus on cellular senescence, from Biogen, where he served as head of research and early development. While at Biogen, Ghosh led a large team of scientists and clinicians responsible for preclinical development as well as early- to mid-stage development of the company’s entire therapeutic pipeline. Ghosh was also involved in expanding Biogen’s portfolio through key partnerships, including the acquisition of early-stage assets in Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, ophthalmology, multi-asset platform collaborations in RNA regulation through anti-sense oligonucleotides, and small molecule approaches for targeted protein degradation and targeted splicing modulation.

Ghosh said over the past decade, there has been “tremendous progress” made in the understanding of cellular and molecular biology of aging, particularly cellular senescence, the focus of Unity. Unity believes that by cleansing the body of toxic senescent cells, it could help reverse, or at least slow down, the effects of several ailments associated with aging, including osteoarthritis, glaucoma, heart disease and kidney failure. Cellular senescence is a biological mechanism theorized to be a key driver of many age-related diseases.

“Unity has been at the forefront of efforts to translate that understanding into the next generation of medicines to slow, halt or reverse the progression of age-related diseases,” Ghosh said in a statement. “This is some of the most exciting science I have seen that could have a transformative impact on medicine, and I could not pass up this opportunity to lead Unity into its next phase. I am deeply impressed with the portfolio that Unity has developed.”

Before Biogen, Ghosh, a neuroscientist, served as the founding chief scientific officer at E-Scape Bio, and also served as Global Head of Neuroscience Discovery and Biomarkers at Roche. In those roles, Ghosh led research and drug discovery for programs addressing neurodegenerative diseases as well as neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders.

Leonard said Unity is thrilled to have a “world-class scientist and leader” like Ghosh take over the reins. He said Ghosh’s insights and experience in the industry will ensure that Unity has the opportunity to realize its full potential. Leonard will step down from his CEO role due to personal circumstances but will continue as chairman of the company board of directors.

Ned David, president and co-founder of Unity, said Ghosh bring “an incredible breadth of experience” to Unity and its mission to extend human longevity.

“I look forward to partnering with him to maximize the emerging promise of cellular senescence and to explore additional therapeutic applications beyond osteoarthritis and ophthalmology.”

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