Herophilus Appoints Sharath Hegde, Ph.D. as Chief Scientific Officer as it Scales Drug Discovery Effort for Complex Brain Diseases

Leading “drug hunter” brings more than 30 years of drug discovery and development expertise, including as Recursion Pharmaceuticals’ CSO and Theravance’s SVP and Head of Research

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#CuresNotCorrelations–Herophilus, a leading biotechnology company developing neurotherapeutics to cure complex brain diseases, has appointed Sharath Hegde, Ph.D. as the company’s new Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Hegde brings over 30 years of innovation and executive leadership in drug discovery and clinical development to leverage the company’s discovery engine to advance their pipeline of novel drugs for neurological and psychiatric diseases.

As the Chief Scientific Officer of Recursion Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Hegde accelerated critical work with new chemical entities and helped build the company’s reputation as a company harnessing technological advances to industrialize drug discovery. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President and Head of Research at Theravance Biopharma. Prior to Theravance Dr. Hegde was employed at Syntex Corporation, later acquired by Roche Holdings, Ltd. Dr. Hegde has participated in the discovery of more than 16 clinical-stage molecules including the marketed medicines Vibativ® (telavancin), Yupelri® (revefenacin) and several others in late-stage development. To date, he has co-authored over 50 scientific publications and served on the Editorial Board of various journals. Dr. Hegde obtained his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Houston and B.Pharm/M.Pharm degree in Pharmacy/Pharmacology from the University of Mumbai.

The deep scientific inquiry foundational in Herophilus’s approach and technology is unlike any other in the industry,” said Dr. Hegde. “It is inspiring to see Herophilus build a sophisticated human disease-recapitulating brain organoid platform, enabled by automation and digital biology, that has the potential to move the needle in drug discovery and bring transformative medicines to millions of patients with devastating brain disease.”

Using stem cells derived from patients with neurological disease, Herophilus develops brain organoids that allow researchers to identify drug compounds with significantly increased confidence of clinical efficacy compared to those found using standard approaches. The robotic automation used to develop the organoids at scale allows the company to gather vast amounts of rich data about neurological diseases, and advanced data analysis applied to the data enables a deeper-than-ever understanding of human brain disease. In contrast to traditional single target-focused drug discovery, Herophilus’s technology yields robust drug candidates, identifies polypharmacologic drugs and combination therapies, and ultimately enables systematic drug discovery for complex brain diseases.

Sharath is a renowned drug hunter with a remarkable track record of pushing the boundaries of innovative drug discovery,” said Saul Kato, Ph.D., Co-Founder and CEO of Herophilus. “His experience will help our team of scientists and technologists to break the dogma of single target approaches and unlock and accelerate paths to a suite of new therapeutics that can finally cure complex brain diseases.”

The appointment of Dr. Hegde comes shortly after the release of two research papers from Herophilus. “Hierarchical confounder discovery in the experiment–machine learning cycle” and “Demuxalot: scaled up genetic demultiplexing for single-cell sequencing” are the first in a series of papers about Herophilus’s groundbreaking advancements in machine learning and biotechnology.

About Herophilus

Herophilus is a San Francisco-based neurotherapeutics company focused on curing complex brain diseases. Formerly known as System1 Biosciences, the company’s platform combines brain organoid science, systems neuroscience approaches, robotic automation, and advanced machine learning techniques to scale the ability to discover novel drugs for complex neurological and psychiatric diseases. In an industry-first approach, the company employs multimodal phenotypic screening to discover characterizations of diseases never before achievable. These “deep phenotypes” are exploited to identify novel therapeutic targets and drug treatments for disorders for which current discovery techniques have proved least successful, including neurodevelopmental, psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. To learn more, visit www.herophilus.com


Thermal for Herophilus

Kaustuva Das