Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company utilizing novel discovery technologies to unlock high value, traditionally undruggable targets with precision therapeutics for devastating cancers and immune disorders, and a wholly owned and independently operated subsidiary of Bayer AG, today announced that Aleksandra Rizo, M.D., Ph.D., will join the company as President and Head of Research and Development. Dr. Rizo brings extensive industry leadership experience to Vividion, having held multiple senior executive roles during her career at both biotechnology and large pharmaceutical companies.
“Aleksandra brings proven executive leadership skills, deep translational and clinical development expertise, and the ability to succeed in both large and small company cultures,” said Jeffrey Hatfield, chief executive officer of Vividion. “Her addition to our team comes at an exciting inflection point for our growth, as we clearly see the potential to advance multiple programs into the clinic starting next year.”
“I am very excited to join Vividion to continue to advance innovation in an entrepreneurial environment focused on patient benefits and outcomes,” said Dr. Rizo. “I’m impressed by the pipeline’s breadth of novel, first-in-class programs in oncology and immunology. These programs are nearly all targeting proteins the industry has previously viewed as undruggable and indicate the potential to deliver enormous value to patients if successful. I am also intrigued by the innovative business model established with Bayer that allows us to operate largely autonomously and independently but with the technical expertise and financial stability of a major pharmaceutical company.”
Dr. Rizo has served most recently as Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Geron Corporation since January 2019 where she provided leadership and direction for all clinical and translational efforts. Included in her reporting responsibilities were clinical development, clinical operations, clinical pharmacology, biometrics, translational research, program management and medical affairs. Prior to joining Geron, Dr. Rizo was Executive Director, Strategy and Clinical Lead, at Celgene Corporation from March 2018 to January 2019, where she led submission activities and participated in strategic development activities in the Myeloid Therapeutic Area. From October 2008 to March 2018, Dr. Rizo served in a number of oncology drug development functions with increasing responsibilities at Janssen Research and Development, LLC (Janssen), including Senior Director, Compound Development Team Leader for all myeloid assets, Senior Director, Global Clinical Leader for the imetelstat, ibrutinib mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) program, and others. In these roles, she had oversight and leadership responsibilities for overall clinical development strategy, study designs, execution and data interpretation. In addition, Dr. Rizo was a core member of Janssen’s Hematology Strategy Team where she participated and led multiple diligence projects in hematology. During her initial tenure with Janssen, Dr. Rizo also worked on Velcade clinical trials in lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Dr. Rizo holds an M.D. from the University Ss Cyril and Methodius, Skopje, Macedonia, where she also completed a residency in internal medicine/hematology. She also has a Ph.D. in human leukemic stem cell biology from the University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands, and a Ph.D. in mouse stem cell biology from the University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.