Genome mapper Warp Drive Bio names Gregory Verdine CEO

Warp Drive Bio co-founder Gregory Verdine is the company’s new chief executive.
Warp Drive Bio co-founder Gregory Verdine is the company’s new chief executive.

Cambridge life sciences company Warp Drive Bio said Tuesday it has named co-founder Gregory Verdine chief executive, replacing interim CEO Alexis Borisy. Borisy, a partner at Boston venture capital firm Third Rock Ventures, will remain on Warp Drive’s board of directors as executive chairman.

Verdine is a serial biotechnology entrepreneur whose companies include Enanta Pharmaceuticals of Watertown, which raised $56 million in an initial public offering in March.

The transition signals that the two-year-old company is stable enough for Third Rock to step back from day-to-day operations. Warp Drive raised $125 million last year from Third Rock and other investors, including pharmaceutical giant Sanofi.


“The significant progress and rapid advances that Warp Drive Bio has made in developing our proprietary technologies … over the past year are nothing short of staggering,’’ Borisy said.

Warp Drive aims to identify and develop what it calls “nature’s drugs’’ by mapping the genomes of microbes found in soil. The company is compiling a searchable database that it hopes will reveal natural therapies for diseases that have proven resistant to other drugs.

Such drugs are “hiding in plain sight, literally in the soil of our own backyards,’’ Verdine said.

In addition to elevating Verdine to chief executive, Warp Drive named veteran biotech executive James Nichols chief operating officer and appointed Julian Adams to the board of directors. Adams is president of research and development at Infinity Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge.

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