June 21, 2023

Episode 6: Landing Multi-Million Dollar Partnerships for Next-Gen Gene Therapies While Addressing Gender Parity in Life Science Leadership

How does a biotech startup manage to forge $125 million in partnerships with AbbVie and Eli Lilly in just under two years post-inception? Our next guest, Peter Anastasiou, CEO of Capsida Biotherapeutics since 2022, attributes much of the company’s rise to addressing unmet patient needs. First invented by Viviana Gradinaru, director of the Center for Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience at the Chen Institute for Neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology, Capsida’s next-generation gene therapy platform engineers the capsids in adeno-associated viruses, or AAVs. The company uses this technology to develop treatments that are being researched for central nervous system and eye disorders.

On this episode, we delve more into Capsida’s technology—which manipulates the amino acid sequence on the surface of the AAV, and identifies and engineers capsids (the protein surrounding a virus) that can cross the blood-brain barrier in significant amounts in order to ferry medication to where it’s needed in the body.

A key principle of life science success is embracing a diverse leadership team, and Peter is a longtime advocate of gender parity at the leadership level and has been honored for his mentoring contributions—he was named the Honorable Mentor by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association in 2019. His dedication to mentoring women is not only personally important to him as a father of two daughters, he says it makes the most business sense in addition to being the right thing to do. “The idea of trying to conquer such daunting challenges that we do in biotech…with a basically homogeneous group of people trying to solve that problem…it’s never going to happen,” he says. “The only way to solve the challenges is by bringing the best minds around the table.”

Learn more about Capsida Biotherapeutics and Peter Anastasiou.

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Host: Chris Conner
Executive Producer: Marie Tutko
Senior Producer: Vincenzo Tarantino
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