23andMe, a personal genetics company based in Mountain View, Calif., has created a new therapeutics group and has named Richard Scheller, Ph.D., to lead it as chief science officer and head of therapeutics. Scheller retired in December 2014 from a 14-year career at Genentech, where he was executive vice president of research and early development.
"With Dr. Scheller joining the team, we are putting significant resources into translating genetic information into the discovery and development of new therapies for our customers and the world," said Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe CEO and co-founder. "This is a major step forward to realizing our mission to help people benefit from the human genome."
When Scheller assumes his post in April, he will help build a dedicated R&D team. The therapeutics group aims to use human genetic data as the starting point for identifying new therapies for both common and rare diseases. The creation of a therapeutics group in connection with 23andMe's research platform, which currently is the world's largest consented, re-contactable database, is a significant step forward to better understanding the biological mechanisms of disease and accelerating the discovery of novel treatments through human genetics.
Andy Page, president of 23andMe, said, "We are in the process of actively recruiting a world-class team of scientists and researchers. I'm excited for Dr. Scheller to lead the team and begin recruiting efforts starting next month."
At Genentech, Scheller led the company's research strategy, drug discovery, business development and early drug development activities (through proof-of-concept in the clinic). He oversaw the company's basic research around oncology, immunology, neuroscience and infectious disease.
Scheller worked on the faculty of Stanford University for 19 years as a professor in biological sciences and molecular and cellular physiology, and was an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute of Stanford University Medical Center. Since 2004, he also has worked as an adjunct professor in biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco.