Septerna Appoints Industry Veterans Bernard Coulie, M.D., Ph.D., and Shalini Sharp to its Board of Directors

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Feb. 6, 2024 – Septerna, a biotechnology company discovering and advancing novel small molecule medicines targeting G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), today announced the appointments of Bernard Coulie, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Pliant Therapeutics, and Shalini Sharp, MBA, former Chief Financial Officer of Ultragenyx Inc. to its board of directors. Dr. Coulie and Ms. Sharp bring deep drug development and company-building experience to Septerna’s board.

“As we continue our rapid evolution into a development-stage company, Bernard and Shalini bring invaluable strategic and operational expertise, and we’re pleased to welcome them to our board,” said Jeffrey Finer, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Septerna. “Bernard has exceptional firsthand experience successfully transforming discovery organizations into clinical development-stage companies. Shalini brings a wealth of strategic, financial, and operational experience, having led or advised several successful private and public biotech companies. We look forward to working with both as we build Septerna into a world-renowned GPCR medicines company advancing a robust pipeline of products, including our parathyroid hormone 1 receptor (PTH1R) program for the treatment of hypoparathyroidism.”

“In the two years since launch, Septerna has built a promising pipeline of differentiated drug candidates in the areas of endocrinology, immunology, and metabolism. The company’s PTH1R program is a testament to the success of the company’s innovative approach to GPCR drug discovery and development,” said Dr. Coulie. “There remains a significant unmet need for improved treatment options for patients with hypoparathyroidism, and Septerna’s lead program has the potential to be the first oral replacement therapy to treat this disease.”

“Septerna’s novel platform can be applied to the entire superfamily of GPCR targets and has the potential to identify novel drug candidates across a broad range of diseases,” said Ms. Sharp. “I’m excited to work with the company’s experienced leadership team to maximize opportunities to build value both through an internal pipeline of life-changing medicines and through value-creating partnerships.”

Bernard Coulie brings more than two decades of senior leadership experience and drug development expertise to the Septerna board. Dr. Coulie is currently President and Chief Executive Officer of Pliant Therapeutics. Previously, he was Chief Executive Officer, Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder of ActoGeniX (acquired by Intrexon in 2015), and earlier in his career he served as Therapeutic Area Leader, Internal Medicine, at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development Europe. Prior to his industry career, Dr. Coulie was Assistant Professor of Medicine and Staff Gastroenterologist at Mayo Medical School. He holds an M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Leuven, Belgium and an MBA from the Vlerick Management School. Dr. Coulie currently serves on the boards of SQZ Biotechnologies and Dualyx. 

Shalini Sharp has been in the life sciences industry for over 25 years, having spent 14 years as a Chief Financial Officer. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Neurocrine Biosciences and Organon & Co. Previously, Ms. Sharp served on the boards of Mirati Therapeutics (prior to its acquisition by Bristol Myers Squibb), Sutro Biopharma, Precision Biosciences, Array Biopharma (prior to its acquisition by Pfizer), Panacea Acquisition Corp. (prior to its merger with Nuvation), and Agenus Inc. Ms. Sharp was Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President at Ultragenyx and Chief Financial Officer at Agenus. Earlier in her career, Ms. Sharp was at Elan Pharmaceuticals, McKinsey & Company, and Goldman Sachs. She holds both an A.B. and an MBA from Harvard University.

About GPCRs
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest and most diverse family of cell membrane receptors, and humans have hundreds of different GPCRs, each involved in controlling specific biological functions. GPCRs on the surface of each cell bind a wide range of external signaling molecules from throughout the body, and the GPCR transmits the signal across the cell membrane to drive internal cellular mechanisms. GPCRs have been widely studied as drug targets and are the largest family of proteins targeted by approved drug products. An estimated 700 approved drugs target GPCRs, representing approximately one-third of all currently approved drugs. Despite the pharmacological success of GPCRs as a drug class to date, the large majority of potential therapeutic GPCR targets remain undrugged.

About Septerna

Septerna, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on advancing novel, oral small molecule medicines targeting the entire class of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The company’s Native Complex™ Platform recapitulates GPCRs with their native structure, function, and dynamics outside of the cellular environment to rapidly apply new technologies for industrial-scale drug discovery to address both validated GPCRs and many GPCRs that have been undruggable and unexploited to date. Septerna is building a pipeline of GPCR-targeted, oral small molecule drug candidates, led by its program targeting the parathyroid hormone 1 receptor (PTH1R) for the treatment of hypoparathyroidism. Septerna was launched in 2022 by scientific founders who have made groundbreaking GPCR discoveries. For more information, please visit

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