Gregory L. Verdine

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Gregory L. Verdine
Gregory L. Verdine

(1959-06-10) June 10, 1959 (age 60)
ResidenceBoston, Massachusetts
NationalityUnited States
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma mater
Known forStapled peptides
Scientific career
FieldsChemical biology[2]
ThesisBinding of mitomycin C to a dinucleoside phosphate and DNA (1986)
Doctoral advisorKoji Nakanishi and Maria Tomasz

Gregory L. Verdine is an American chemical biologist, university professor, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and business executive.[3] As of 2017, he is the Erving Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University, the president of Fog Pharmaceuticals and LifeMine Therapeutics, and a venture partner at WuXi Healthcare Ventures. He has co-founded ten drug discovery companies, including six that have been listed publicly listed on the NASDAQ and one acquired for up to $640M. Verdine co-founded the non-profit Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute, which is using advanced DNA sequencing technology to advance fisheries science, to and the Gloucester Biotechnology Academy, which is providing technical training in the life science industry to high school graduates in Gloucester, MA, USA. His companies have succeeded in developing two FDA-approved drugs, Romidepsin and Paritaprevir. Verdine is the co-inventor with Christian Schafmeister of "stapled peptides", a prominent new class of drugs that combine the versatile binding properties of monoclonal antibodies with the cell-penetrating ability of small molecules. Verdine coined the term "drugging the 'undruggable'" to describe the unique capabilities of stapled peptides. A close analog of a stapled peptide drug invented in the Verdine Lab at Harvard is currently in Phase II clinical development by Aileron Therapeutics, a company founded by Verdine.


Verdine received the B.S. in chemistry from Saint Joseph's University and a PhD in chemistry from Columbia University, working under Koji Nakanishi and Maria Tomasz, and later an NIH postdoctoral fellowship in molecular biology at MIT and Harvard Medical School.[4]


Verdine has founded companies including Enanta Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ENTA),[5] Gloucester Pharmaceuticals, Tokai Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: TKAI), Eleven Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ: EBIO),[4] Fog Pharmaceuticals, Aileron Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ALRN), Warp Drive Bio, and WaVe Life Sciences (NASDAQ: WVE). The commonality between his companies is that each develops molecules intended to target “hard-to-drug” pathogens that cannot yet be treated because they are out of reach of modern technologies.[3][6]

He became the CEO of Warp Drive Bio in 2013 upon leaving his tenured post at Harvard University,[7] a company that maps the genome of microbes that are found in the soil in order to develop potential treatments for drug-resistant ailments. He was later made President and CEO of Fog Pharmaceuticals,[8] remaining a Director of Warp Drive Bio.[4] Verdine is the Chairman of the Board of WaVe Life Sciences,[9] which uses synthetic chemistry to develop nucleic acid therapeutic candidates.[10] He is also a partner with the venture capital firm Third Rock Ventures,[7] he has also been a partner with Apple Tree Partners, WuXi Healthcare Ventures, and is a Special Advisor to Texas Pacific Group.  

Verdine is a member of both the Board of Scientific Consultants of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Board of Scientific Advisors of the National Cancer Institute,[4] Advisory Board at Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation, and the Board of Reviewers at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.[8]

Academic positions[edit]

Verdine has held positions at both Harvard University and the Harvard Medical School.[4] Prior to his role at Warp Drive Bio, Verdine was the tenured Erving Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University,[11] and in 2013 he became a ‘professor of practice’ in order to focus on his duties as CEO. He continues to run[7] his eponymous Verdine Laboratory at the Harvard University Department of Stem Cell & Regenerative Biology, which focuses on research based in chemical biology, including synthetic biologics and genomic research,[12] the combination of which “coaxes” DNA to produce proteins that can be used for their medical properties.[13] In 2013 Verdine also founded the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute to study marine genomes for potential therapeutic use,[14] a non-profit for which he serves as Founding President. He is also the founder and Director of Gloucester Biotechnology Academy.[4]


Verdine has published more than 190 academic articles.[2][15] In 2005, Verdine and Anirban Banerjee published research in crystallography showing how enzymes could be used to fix flawed DNA.[16] In 2013, Verdine received a research grants to study cell-penetrating mini-proteins in order to target cancer cells.[3] His work has led to the FDA approval of the drugs romidepsin and paritaprevir.[4] Verdine is also the inventor of stapled peptide technology, used in drug discovery.[17]


Verdine is the recipient of the American Association for Cancer Research Award for Excellence in Chemistry in Cancer Research and the Nobel Laureate Signature Award.[4]


  1. ^ Gregory L. Verdine C.V., Accessed December 17, 2017. "Born:June 10, 1959, Somers Point, New Jersey, USA"
  2. ^ a b Gregory L. Verdine publications indexed by Google Scholar
  3. ^ a b c Ben Fidler, With Latest Startup, Harvard’s Verdine Again Aims at Elusive Targets,
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Gregory Verdine Biography, Harvard University
  5. ^ Callum Brochers, Genome Mapper Warp Drive Bio Names Gregory Verdine CEO,
  6. ^ Matthew Herper, Can Bush's NIH Chief Fix the Drug Industry, Forbes
  7. ^ a b c Luke Timmerman, Harvard's Verdine Seeks Blaze Trail Scientific Entrepreneurs,
  8. ^ a b Bloomberg Executive Profile
  9. ^ Damian Garde,Wave LifeSci Banks $66M with a "Pure" Take on Synthetic Chemistry,
  10. ^ Jessica Moore, Brokerages Expect WAVE Life Sciences Ltd. (NASDAQ:WVE) to Post -$0.75 EPS, The CERBAT GEM
  11. ^ Patricia F. Dimond, Getting Around “Undruggable” Proto-Oncogenes, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
  12. ^ Verdine Lab, Harvard University
  13. ^ Michael Waldholz, Biology's Master Programmers, MIT Technology Review
  14. ^ Katheleen Conti, Can the nation’s oldest seaport reinvent itself?, Boston Globe
  15. ^ PubMed
  16. ^ Amanda Yarnell, Enzyme Finds, Fixes Flawed DNA, Chemical & Engineering News
  17. ^ Amanda Goh, Stapled Peptides: Targeting the "Undruggable", BioIT World