Christopher Viehbacher, former CEO of Sanofi, Joins PureTech's Board of Directors

Feb 27, 2015, 07:00 ET from PureTech

BOSTON, Feb. 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- PureTech, a science and technology R&D company focused  on identifying, inventing and commercializing disruptive products and technologies in the healthcare sector, announced today the appointment of Christopher Viehbacher, former CEO and Member of the Board of Directors of Sanofi, to its Board of Directors. 

"It's has been a pleasure to know Chris for many years and I am very excited that we will be working together more closely now," said Dr. Robert Langer, PureTech Co-founder and Senior Partner. "The PureTech Board is delighted to have him join us and to have access to his insights as our pipeline advances toward commercialization."

Christopher Viehbacher is the former CEO and Member of the Board of Directors of Sanofi, a Fortune 50 biopharmaceutical company with a market capitalization of over $100 billion.  During Viehbacher's six year tenure, Sanofi underwent a significant business transformation, completing over $30 billion of acquisitions, most notably that of Genzyme.  Viehbacher was also the Chairman of the Board of Genzyme in Boston. Prior to joining Sanofi, Viehbacher spent 20 years with GlaxoSmithKline ultimately as President of GSK's North American pharmaceutical division.  Viehbacher was a Member of the Board of Directors of GSK plc in London and Co-President of GSK's Portfolio Management Board.  Viehbacher began his career with Price Waterhouse Coopers and qualified as a Chartered Accountant.

Viehbacher has co-chaired the CEO Roundtable on Neglected Diseases with Bill Gates, which led to over 1.3 billion people being treated for such diseases free of charge and he continues to chair the CEO Roundtable on Cancer.  He was the Chairman of the Board of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) as well as President of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations.  At the World Economic Forum at Davos, Viehbacher was a Chair of the Health Governors and co-chaired an initiative to create a Global Charter for Healthy Living.  He was also a member of the International Business Council. 

Viehbacher has received the Pasteur Foundation Award for outstanding commitment to safeguarding and improving health worldwide.  He has also received France's highest civilian honor, the Legion d'Honneur.  Various awards from the Thompson Reuters/Extel Investor Survey, including top CEO and top European Company, have recognized his commitment to investor relations.

Viehbacher will be joining PureTech's existing Senior Partners and Board Members, Dr. Robert Langer, PureTech Co-founder and David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT; Dr. Ben Shapiro, PureTech Chairman, former EVP of Worldwide Basic and External Research at Merck; Dr. John LaMattina, PureTech Senior Partner and former President of R&D at Pfizer Global Research and Development;  Dr. H. Robert Horvitz, PureTech Senior Partner, Board Observer and SAB Chair, Nobel Laureate, David H. Koch Professor at MIT, and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute;  Mr. Joi Ito, PureTech Senior Partner, Director of the MIT Media Lab and board member of Sony, the MacArthur Foundation, The New York Times, the Knight Foundation and Mozilla;  Dr. Raju Kucherlapati,  PureTech Senior Partner, Paul C. Cabot Professor in the Harvard Medical School Department of Genetics, co-founder of Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Abgenix, and Member of President Obama's Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues; and Daphne Zohar, PureTech's Founder and CEO, recognized as a healthcare innovator and leader by The Boston Globe, MIT's Technology Review, Fierce Biotech and BioWorld.  

"It is an honor to join this very dynamic and powerful group of both minds and personalities," said Viehbacher. "PureTech's pipeline of companies is at an exciting inflection point and I think the talent within the management team and board can achieve great things."

PureTech has 12 pipeline companies. Each of PureTech's pipeline companies is structured as a corporate entity in which PureTech typically has a majority ownership interest. PureTech's pipeline includes:

  • Vedanta Biosciences, developing microbiome derived therapies for treating infectious disease, allergies and autoimmune disorders that recently announced a $241M licensing deal with Johnson & Johnson for one indication; 
  • Gelesis, a clinical stage company developing a novel therapy that acts mechanically in the GI tract to induce weight loss; 
  • Akili Interactive Labs, a clinical stage company developing an "electronic medicine" platform for remotely measuring and improving neural function and treating cognitive disorders such as ADHD, autism spectrum disorders and Alzheimer's disease, with collaborations with Pfizer and Shire Pharmaceuticals;
  • Tal Medical, a clinical stage company focused on stimulating electrical circuits in the brain to treat depression;
  • Karuna, a clinical stage company developing a novel therapy for the treatment of schizophrenia;
  • Follica, a clinical stage company, harnessing advances in epithelial stem cell biology to develop novel treatments for baldness; and
  • Entrega, developing a delivery platform for oral delivery of injectable drugs and a drug delivery system to deliver nanoparticles that travel through the bloodstream.

About PureTech

PureTech is a science and technology research and development company with the mission of developing and commercializing breakthrough technologies aimed at solving major healthcare problems. Based in Boston, PureTech has an outstanding team of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs, with connections to top tier academic institutions. PureTech has a thematic, problem-driven approach to developing its pipeline companies, proposing non-obvious solutions rooted in academic research and developing them together with a creative group of cross-disciplinary experts. PureTech concentrates on a handful of major initiative areas at a time, generates and proactively identifies and reviews more than 650 technologies per year, and seeks to select only the most technologically and commercially promising concepts to advance. PureTech has active strategic partnerships with forward thinking health and technology companies, PureTech's investors include institutional investors such as Invesco Perpetual, strategic investors, endowments and founders and former senior leaders of major healthcare and technology companies.