Luca Santarelli



Venture Partner

Dr. Santarelli is the CEO of VectivBio (Nasdaq:VECT), a clinical-stage rare disease company he founded after serving as CEO and co-founder of Therachon AG, which was acquired by Pfizer in 2019 for $810 million.

Prior to Therachon, Dr. Santarelli was Venture Partner at Versant Ventures, which he joined after 12 years at Roche, most recently serving as the Senior Vice President and Head of Neuroscience, Ophthalmology and Rare Diseases. At Roche, he advanced over 20 new molecular entities (NMEs) to the clinic, various NMEs to registration studies including gantenerumab in Alzheimer’s disease and spearheaded the development of several drug candidates that have now reached approval, including ocrelizumab in multiple sclerosis and risdiplan in spinal muscular atrophy. Dr. Santarelli also provided strategic and operational leadership for many of the Roche external biotech collaborations and helped instill a more entrepreneurial culture in the broader R&D organization. During this period, he catalyzed the creation of Synosia, a spin-off from Roche developing innovative treatments for disorders of the Central Nervous System (CNS). Synosia was acquired by Biotie in 2011.

Previously, he was a Research Scientist at Columbia University and a co-founder of BrainCells Inc., a company focused on the discovery of novel antidepressants that are able to stimulate the growth of new neurons, with Nobel laureates Eric Kandel, Rene Hen and Fred Gage.

Dr. Santarelli completed his M.D. and Psychiatry Residency at the University of Turin, Italy, and a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University.


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