Kenyan named CFO of American pharmaceutical company

Dr Kariuki

A congratulatory message to Dr Kariuki in New York’s Times Square Billboard after he was named Velosbio’s new Chief Finance Officer.

Photo credit: Courtesy

A Kenyan has been named the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for VelosBio, a US pharmaceutical company that develops first-class cancer therapies for tumours.

Dr Enoch Kariuki will lead all finance-related and investor relation functions at the firm headquartered in San Diego, California.

Dr Kariuki, who was unveiled in August this year, is an accomplished finance executive with vast experience in healthcare strategy, life sciences investment banking, venture capital and business development.

Before joining VelosBio, Dr Kariuki served as Senior Vice-President, Corporate Development at Synthorx Inc, where he led the company's Sh16.6 billion ($151 million) initial public offering.

He also managed relationships with bankers, sell-side equity analysts and investors, and led the business development process that concluded with the successful sale of Synthorx to Sanofi for Sh275 billion ($2.5 billion).

Before Synthorx, Dr Kariuki was the Vice-President at H.I.G. Capital, where he led investments into, and served on boards of, several life sciences companies.

His roles prior to H.I.G. include Senior Associate at Leerink Partners and Associate Director at UBS Investment Bank.

At Leerink and UBS, Dr Kariuki advised healthcare companies on equity capital financings, mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, and recapitalisations.

"Enoch brings to VelosBio more than 10 years of experience leading high-performing teams in the private and public sectors. He has a proven track record of success on both the operating and finance sides of our industry, and is precisely the type of high quality individual we are recruiting as we grow our company," said Dave Johnson, Chief Executive Officer at VelosBio.

Johnson said Enoch will be an invaluable asset to VelosBio and its leadership team.

"I am excited to join VelosBio at such a dynamic time. The company is developing multiple cancer therapies utilising its proprietary technology to target ROR1, a novel oncology target, and I look forward to working with Dave and the rest of the senior management and scientific teams to help bring innovative therapies to cancer patients," Dr Kariuki said.

His appointment was welcomed by American stock exchange NASDAQ.

“NASDAQ congratulates Dr Enoch Kariuki, new CFO of VelosBio," the stock exchange said in a message projected on an outdoor big screen.

Kariuki completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Research and Development strategy and analytics at Bristol-Myers Squibb and was a practising pharmacist before transitioning to the industry.

He holds an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and a PharmD from Texas Southern University.

VelosBio markets itself as a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to developing novel, first-in-class, ROR1-directed therapeutics to transform the lives of patients with cancer.

Its lead candidate, VLS-101, is a ROR1-directed ADC being developed for patients with hematologic and solid tumour malignancies.

The company is developing a broad pipeline of ROR1-directed therapeutics in oncologic indications with a high unmet medical need.

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