Luca Santarelli, MD

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Dr. Santarelli has more than 20 years of experience in academic and industrial R&D, having led drug programs in neuroscience, rare diseases, ophthalmology, metabolic and G.I., from discovery research to commercialization. Dr. Santarelli is founder and CEO of VectivBio, a biotechnology company focused on rare conditions. He was previously CEO and co-founder of Therachon AG, a company focused on discovery and development of therapeutics for rare pediatric conditions acquired by Pfizer in 2019. Prior to Therachon, he spent 11 years at Roche, most recently serving as senior vice president and head of neuroscience, ophthalmology and rare diseases, as well as small molecule research. In this capacity, he advanced over 20 new molecular entities to the clinic and various NMEs to registration studies including ocrelizumab in multiple sclerosis, gantenerumab in Alzheimer’s disease, balovaptan in autism, and risdiplam in spinal muscular atrophy. Dr. Santarelli also co-founded BrainCells, a company focused on the discovery of novel antidepressants that stimulate the growth of new neurons, with Nobel laureate Eric Kandel, MD, Rene Hen, PhD, and Fred Gage, PhD.

Dr. Santarelli completed his MD and Psychiatry residency at the University of Turin, Italy, and a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University, focusing on the molecular mechanisms of psychiatric disorders and adult brain stem cells. His work has been published in Nature, Science, Nature Neuroscience, Archives of Neurology and JAMA Psychiatry.