Clarissa Desjardins

Entrepreneur and founder - Congruence Therapeutics

Dre Clarissa Desjardins is the founder of Congruence Therapeutics, a biotechnology company working at the interface of computational and experimental drug discovery to design novel small molecules for diseases of protein misfolding. Using structural bioinformatics, computational chemistry, and machine learning, the Company is deploying an in silico platform that enables the design of new pharmacological stabilizers, a validated class of small molecules, at an unprecedented speed and scale.

Previously, Dre Desjardins was the founder and CEO of Clementia, a clinical-stage company focused on developing therapies for rare pediatric bone diseases. Clementia was a Nasdaq-listed company until its acquisition by Ipsen in 2019 for $1.3 billion. Clementia’s lead product, SohonosTM (palovarotene), was recently approved in Canada and is under review at the FDA as the first and only treatment for Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva, a debilitating and progressive rare bone disorder.

Dr. Desjardins is an award-winning entrepreneur with more than 25 years of biotechnology experience. Prior to her current venture, she has founded three successful biotech companies, leading all aspects of company creation, including conception, financing, team building and governance. As a graduate student, she founded Advanced Bioconcept, a research reagent and diagnostics company sold to NEN Life Sciences (Perkin Elmer) in 1998. Dre Desjardins also co-founded Caprion Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company focused on proteomic biomarker discovery and drug development, where she was Executive Vice-President of corporate development. Caprion, now CellCarta still operates in Montreal and employs several hundred people. Prior to Clementia, Clarissa was CEO at the Centre of excellence in Personalized Medicine, a federally-funded think tank created to promote personalized medicine research and policies.

Dre Desjardins is the recipient of the 2018 Bloom Burton Award for her contribution to Canada’s innovative healthcare industry, the BRIO award for outstanding contributions to the biotechnology industry from the Quebec Biotechnology Association and was named one of 2017’s Fiercest Women in Life Sciences by FiercePharma. Dre Desjardins currently sits on the boards of BELLUS Health (BLU) and INSMED (INSM). Dre Desjardins earned a doctorate in Neurology and Neurosurgery from McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine with a minor in History and Philosophy of Science.

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