BOSTON, November 9, 2011— Rhythm, a biotechnology company developing peptide therapeutics for metabolic diseases, announced today the appointment of Keith M. Gottesdiener, MD, as Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Gottesdiener joins Rhythm from Merck & Co., Inc., where he served as Vice President and Late-Stage Therapeutic Group Leader, with responsibility for pivotal trials of Merck’s products in all therapeutic areas, and previously as head of early-stage clinical development programs.
“The Rhythm clinical candidates are peptides with some important advantages over small molecules for targeting complex pathways that regulate body weight and gastrointestinal function,” said Dr. Gottesdiener. “I am excited to join the Rhythm team to develop this pipeline of peptide therapeutics that have real potential to become breakthrough drugs for obesity, diabetes, and GI metabolic disorders.”
Over a 16-year career at Merck, Dr. Gottesdiener was responsible for more than 40 major clinical programs and products, including the approval of Gardasil™ (HPV vaccine) and the more recent FDA approval of Victrelis™ (HCV protease inhibitor). Dr. Gottesdiener received an A.B. from Harvard College and an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and he completed his residency and fellowship at the combined Brigham and Women’s Hospital-Beth Israel Medical Center-Dana Farber Cancer Institute Children’s Hospital programs.
“Keith’s experience and accomplishments developing innovative, best-in-class drugs—including the diabetes blockbuster, Januvia™—are exceptional,” said Bart Henderson, President and co-founder of Rhythm. “He comes to Rhythm at an ideal time, as we advance clinical development of RM-131 for the treatment of diabetic gastroparesis and RM-493 for obesity and diabetes.”
“Keith’s deep understanding of the clinical development process will greatly enhance Rhythm’s novel approach to molecular mechanisms of body weight regulation,” said Lou Tartaglia, Ph.D., Rhythm’s Chief Scientific Officer and a Partner at Third Rock Ventures. “We are very excited to have attracted such world-class talent to join us in building a great company in the metabolic field.”