Cellarity Appoints Head of Platform to Advance Vision for Novel Drug Creation

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SOMERVILLE, Mass., May 7, 2024 – Cellarity, a life sciences company founded by Flagship Pioneering to transform the way medicines are created, today announced the appointment of Christopher (“Topher”) Woelk as Vice President and Head of Platform. In this role, Woelk will lead Cellarity’s revolutionary platform to create drugs that are presently out of reach with traditional methods of drug discovery. The Cellarity platform uses proprietary AI models to link biology and chemistry with high-dimensional multi-omic data to uncover novel actionable insights into disease biology and create non-intuitive drug candidates in a vast array of clinical conditions. The platform has already produced foundational programs in several disease areas, including Sickle Cell Disease  (SCD) and metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH, in collaboration with Novo Nordisk). 

“We are at a pivotal moment in our journey at Cellarity as our first drug candidate in Sickle Cell Disease moves to IND enabling studies,” said Fabrice Chouraqui, Pharm.D., CEO of Cellarity and a CEO-Partner at Flagship Pioneering. “Topher’s experience is particularly relevant to Cellarity as we continue to invest in our platform.  In both biotech and pharma contexts, Topher has developed powerful techniques leveraging machine learning and multi-omics for target identification, drug development, biomarker resolution, and reverse translation in clinical studies. We are thrilled to welcome him to help us realize the vision for our transformative platform.”  

Dr. Woelk comes to Cellarity after serving as Head of Translational Genomics at Verge Genomics and Head of Systems Biology at Merck’s Exploratory Science Center. Prior to his time in industry, he was a professor at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom and held various academic positions at the University of California San Diego. 

“Cellarity’s platform is second to none, powering biological discoveries with industry-leading technological advancement,” Woelk said. “I look forward to helping advance the platform by bringing to life insights that will open up opportunities for new drug development programs and help accelerate the company’s pipeline towards the clinic.” 

About Cellarity

Founded by Flagship Pioneering in 2019, Cellarity is fundamentally redesigning the way drugs are created. By shifting the focus from a single target to the underlying cellular dysfunction, the company unravels the complexity of disease biology to create medicines that are out of reach with the target-based drug discovery approach. Cellarity has developed a platform that uses proprietary AI models trained on more than 30 million single cell transcriptomes to discover novel actionable biology and create non-intuitive drug candidates in a vast array of diseases. The company currently has programs ongoing in several disease areas including metabolic disease, hematology, and immunology. For more information, visit www.cellarity.com.

About Sickle Cell Disease 

Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders that require the prevention and treatment of pain episodes, among other complications, and for which current treatments fall short or remain inaccessible to most people living with the condition. Learn more

About Metabolic Steatohepatitis 

Metabolic steatohepatitis, previously known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and for which limited treatments exist, is marked by inflammation of the liver caused by excess fat cells in it and eventually leads to progressive liver damage. Learn more

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