Our Movers, Thinkers & Doers

Joseph DeSimone, Ph.D.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer 

Joe is our Technology Guru and leads the clinical translational sickle cell and thalassemia research. He was the director of the UIC comprehensive sickle cell center and professor of medicine at University of Illinois.  His dedicated research focused in areas of developmental and differentiation specific regulation of gene expression, epigenetic control of gene expression by DNA methylation, hypomethylation, and hydroxymethylation. In 1979, Joe was the first to show that 5‑Azacytidine, a DNMT1 inhibitor could be used to selectively increase Fetal Hemoglobin synthesis in the simian primate baboon model and in 1983, Joe showed similar results in human patients with thalassemia and sickle cell anemia. In the last 40 years, he has led key clinical research studies that led to our understanding of the mechanism of Fetal Hemoglobin regulation by pharmacologic agents including hydroxyurea, erythropoietin, stem cell factor and LSD1 inhibitors in Sickle Cell Anemia and Thalassemia. Joe earned a Ph.D. degree in Human Genetics from University of Michigan in 1971 and conducted Post doctoral studies at University of Texas until 1973. He served as the Associate Chief of Staff, Veterans Administration Chicago Health Care System and VA Representative to National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Sickle Cell Advisory Committee. Joe is the inventor in several EpiDestiny’s patents in hematology and oncology.  

Santhosh Vadivelu, Ph.D.

President and Chief Executive Officer   

Santhosh has served as our chief everything officer.  Santhosh is a patient advocate at heart with a passion to translate science into meaningful clinical products. Prior to joining EpiDestiny, he held several cross-functional senior leadership roles at Cleveland Clinic and NHLBI/NCAI center, leading several early-stage drug development programs.  Santhosh also founded and served as the acting CEO for a Cleveland Clinic spinout Neurotherapia. Prior to joining Cleveland Clinic, Santhosh was at Canaan Healthcare investment team. Santhosh played an integral role in the overall formation, development and business strategy of several of Canaan’s portfolio companies, including Elevation Pharmaceuticals and Aldea Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Canaan, Santhosh held roles as a scientist and patent advisor at a Heller Ehrmann LLP. Santhosh received his MSc with Honors in Lifesciences from the Bharathidasan University, India and completed his Doctorate research at Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna, Austria and Post Doctoral research with Dr. Bruce Stillman at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY. He currently serves as a board member of CuronBiotech, Invenio and DeNovo Therapeutics.  

Ulrich Muehlner, Ph.D. 

Chief Business Officer    

Ulrich is our corporate strategy expert. He is a senior pharma executive with strategic and operational experience. Ulrich was at Novartis and had global roles of increasing responsibilities. He joined Novartis as Director of Corporate Strategy and led the annual group-wide strategic planning process as well as key initiatives in areas such as emerging markets, digital health, innovation driven growth opportunities, and novel R&D approaches. Subsequently, as Global Head Corporate Strategy, Ulrich led the development of the portfolio strategy resulting in the fundamental transformation of the Novartis business portfolio through multibillion dollar asset deals. He also led and managed Novartis’ LP investments into two China healthcare VC funds. Ulrich was the Global Head at Outcomes Technologies Incubator (NOVAE) at Novartis. In this operational role, he spearheaded the digital health activities across entire Novartis and led programs and partnerships aiming at increasing the value of the Novartis portfolio through “beyond-the-drug” (digital) technologies and solutions. Examples of such initiatives include the “smart lens” licensing deal with Google(x) Life Sciences (Verily), the collaboration with the “smart pill” company Proteus Digital Health, and several projects to develop real-world outcomes solutions for the game-changing heart failure drug Entresto. In total, Ulrich successfully executed deals with a volume of $350+ million. Prior to Novartis, Ulrich was with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) serving clients in the biopharmaceuticals, diagnostics, venture capital/private equity, and chemical industries across Europe, USA, and Asia. He successfully led and executed more than fifty projects covering the entire value chain. Ulrich studied Biochemistry in Hannover and Munich, and earned a Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (I.M.P.) in Vienna. He currently serves as board member of E-Medicus and Medicinisto.  

David N. Wald, M.D. Ph.D.

Chief Medical Officer   

David is our translational medicine expert. His clinical research focuses on oncology model systems, drug development, and immune cell therapy. David's laboratory is involved in elucidating novel therapeutic approaches to specifically target cancer cells to enhance efficacy and lessen the toxicities of cancer therapy. He has led efforts to discover and develop several novel small molecules through all stages of clinical development. His work has focused on leukemia differentiation therapies and has led to two cancer clinical trials, one that has been completed. The drug development work has led to numerous NIH and foundation grants and multiple awards including a prestigious Harrington Scholar-Innovator award. David earned a BA in biology from Cornell University and studied biology at Cambridge University. While a graduate student, he studied Toll-like receptor signaling ultimately attaining a Ph.D. in Pathology. David continued his clinical training in Clinical Pathology at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. David also conducted postdoctoral research in the laboratories of Drs. Bryan Roth and William Tse. David is the associate director of the human leukocyte antigen laboratory (HLA), scientific director of hematopoietic biorepository and cellular therapy core and assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio.  

Join the brightest


We are committed to our vision of transforming patient lives and making EPI01 a global and affordable solution for patients  

We have established collaborations with patients and physicians at centers of excellence. We will continue to collaborate, learn and leverage our clinical expertise to further advance our development pipeline.    

EpiDestiny is a growing startup with a great mission.  We are looking for exceptional individuals who share our passion for great science and commitment to making a difference in the lives of patients.   

With our gene control therapy and clinical translational capabilities, we have built an clinical stage product platform with broad potential application in severe genetic diseases and immunotherapies for cancer.

Our clinical programs include: a Phase 1/2 study, for the treatment of severe sickle cell disease. We anticipate treating the first patient in our Phase 3/Pivotal study in 2018. 

We also have ongoing immuno-oncology programs targeting hematological and solid tumors, as well as discovery research programs with gene control technologies.

We are currently welcoming new members who can excel in the following positions as a member of our great team.  

Please send your resume and cover letter to: talent@epidestiny.com   

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