36 Intriguing Delawareans • Kris Vaddi
Kris Vaddi is “driven by science in health care,” and he is excited to be back working in the cohesive teams that characterize startups. “I love the exuberance of being in a small environment and using science to help solve certain problems,” he says, with one of them being how to make medicines easier or more convenient to take. He’s juggling several ventures. Prelude Therapeutics, founded in 2015, focuses on cancer and rare diseases. Nonprofits in Africa and India tackle sickle cell anemia and cervical cancer, with pilot testing on the former due this year with Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. “We will go wherever the science takes us,” he says.
Vaddi, 51, is an Incyte co-founder working out of Delaware Technology Park and the University of Delaware’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research Campus. He had a childhood dream of discovering new medications. To make that a reality took a lot of education: after earning a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University in India, he headed to the U.S. to get another doctorate from the University of Florida. At Incyte, Vaddi was known for developing Jakafi, the only federally approved medication for two bone marrow disorders, myelofibrosis and polycythemia vera. Vaddi, who labels himself an entrepreneur on his LinkedIn profile, wants to instill that drive among youth. He’s already succeeded with his son, Tej, who before graduating from Tower Hill this year had developed a small, simple test to detect sickle cell anemia.