Vilya Appoints Cyrus Harmon, Ph.D., as Chief Executive Officer

  • Company adds to Board of Directors and forms Scientific Advisory Board

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- VILYA, Inc. (Vilya), a biotechnology company creating a new class of medicines that precisely target disease biology, today announced the appointment of Cyrus Harmon, Ph.D., as its Chief Executive Officer.

“I am very excited to join the phenomenal team at Vilya developing new macrocycle drugs,” said Harmon. “Macrocycles have shown promise in several areas where small molecules and proteins are limited. Vilya’s artificial intelligence platform explores uncharted chemical space to design novel molecular structures, helping us overcome historic barriers to macrocycle development and advance this highly innovative class of molecules. We have already made substantial progress in enhancing the platform and identifying promising macrocycles and I look forward to digging in with the team to advance these unique opportunities.”

Harmon brings decades of experience as an executive and entrepreneur at the intersection of drug discovery, molecular biology and computation to the role, and will also join the Board of Directors. Previously, Harmon co-founded and served as CEO of Olema Oncology, a company focused on women’s cancers, before transitioning to the role of Chief Research Officer. He also co-founded and served as CEO of Neomorphic, a genomic software company acquired by Affymetrix. Harmon completed his Ph.D. and B.A. in molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley.

“We are delighted to have Cyrus on board as Director, President and CEO. He comes with a track record as a successful founder who grew a company from a research base to demonstration of patient benefit. His knowledge of drug development as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning will be instrumental in forging Vilya’s future success,” said Steven Gillis, Ph.D. co-founder and Chairman of Vilya, and a managing director of ARCH Venture Partners.

Several leadership and advisor additions accompany the announcement of Harmon’s appointment.

Harmon joins Katerina Leftheris, Ph.D., Vilya’s Chief Scientific Officer on the company’s leadership team. Leftheris is a seasoned drug hunter, bringing experience from senior roles in drug discovery at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pliant Therapeutics, Celgene and Vitae Therapeutics.

Vilya co-founders Sabah Oney, Ph.D., and Inca Dieterich, Ph.D., will join the Board of Directors.

The company’s Scientific Advisory Board, announced today, complements the company’s leadership and founding team from the Institute of Protein Design (IPD) led by David Baker, Ph.D. The Scientific Advisory Board includes Brian Shoichet, Ph.D. of the University of California, San Francisco; Jennifer Petter, Ph.D., founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Arrakis Therapeutics; Nick Meanwell, Ph.D., former Vice President at Bristol-Myers Squibb; William Greenlee, Ph.D., Medchem of Discovery Consulting; and Philip Dawson, Ph.D., of Scripps Research.

About Vilya
Vilya is a computational biotechnology company creating a novel class of medicines to precisely target disease biology. The company’s proprietary platform, powered by advanced machine learning, taps into uncharted chemical space to design de novo molecular structures with enhanced drug-like properties that range in size between small molecules and antibodies. Vilya is leveraging its platform to focus on previously difficult-to-drug therapeutic targets. Vilya was co-founded by a team of scientists from the Institute of Protein Design (IPD) led by David Baker, Ph.D., and ARCH Venture Partners. The company has operations in Seattle and South San Francisco. To learn more, visit

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Morgan Warners

Source: VILYA, Inc.

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