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Escient Pharmaceuticals Appoints Veena Viswanath, Ph.D., as VP of Translational Biology and Drug Discovery

SAN DIEGO, CA; September 23, 2020 Escient Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an industry-leading, clinical-stage company developing Mas-related G Protein-Coupled Receptor (MRGPR)-targeted drugs to address serious, underserved medical needs across a broad range of therapeutic indications, today announced the hiring of Veena Viswanath as Vice President of Translational Biology and Drug Discovery. Prior to this new role, Dr. Viswanath served in multiple roles at Allergan Inc., most recently serving as Executive Director of Research Biology.

“We look forward to Veena taking on this new role at a very exciting time for Escient as we advance our lead program EP547 through a Phase 1/1b clinical trial as a potential treatment for cholestatic and uremic pruritus and we continue to build our understanding of the role MRGPRs in a wide range of disease areas and our ability to target them for therapeutic intervention,” said Alain Baron, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Escient. “Given the breadth of what our platform is capable of targeting, Veena’s extensive experience in translational medicine and drug discovery will be invaluable in helping us pick and advance programs rapidly into the clinic and beyond.”

“GPCRs have a long track record of being successfully targeted with effective treatments, which is what makes Escient’s approach so exciting,” said Dr. Viswanath. “Because they are leveraging the pioneering discoveries of their scientific founder, Escient is striking out in completely novel territory where the possibilities are vast, but the target family is also incredibly well-validated. I look forward to contributing to their continued success.”

Veena Viswanath has over a decade of experience in the industry focused on translational medicine and understanding the drug development process from target identification through early-stage clinical development. Prior to her new role with Escient, Dr. Viswanath spent the past decade with Allergan, Inc., most recently serving as the Executive Director of Research Biology. Dr. Viswanath has an impressive track record of leading novel platforms from discovery through proof-of-concept and highly collaborative global project teams with cross-functional impact to advance the development pipeline across multiple ocular and neuroscience therapeutic areas. Additionally, she has experience in leading strategic in-licensed partnerships in neuroscience and ophthalmology early development. Dr. Viswanath served as the research group leader for the key therapeutic area of ocular surface diseases to build a strategy and portfolio for dry eye disease and bridge clinical gaps through innovative biomarker discovery. She is the inventor of more than a dozen issued patents and author of many peer-reviewed research articles, and she is passionate about identifying and developing talent.

Dr. Viswanath earned her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, where her research focused on characterization of the role of apoptosis and oxidative stress in neurodegenerative diseases. She continued her research as a postdoctoral and institute fellow at Genomics Institute of Novartis Research Foundation.

About Escient Pharmaceuticals

Escient Pharmaceuticals is a biotechnology company that is advancing first-in-class G Protein-Coupled Receptor (GPCR)-targeted drugs to address serious, unserved medical needs across a broad range of therapeutic indications. Focused on unleashing the therapeutic potential of specific orphan GPCRs, including the novel family of Mas-Related G-Protein Receptors (MRGPRs), Escient’s lead program targets MRGPRX4. Based in San Diego, Calif., Escient is led by an experienced team of biotechnology entrepreneurs with specific expertise in GPCR drug discovery and development, and funded by top-tier life science investors, including The Column Group, 5AM Ventures, Sanofi Ventures, Cowen Healthcare Investors, Redmile Group, Perceptive Advisors, Osage University Partners and Altitude Life Science Ventures. Visit to learn more.


Cory Tromblee
Scient Public Relations

William Hodder
Escient Pharmaceuticals, Inc.