Sector News

Fresh from a $3.85B deal, biotech CEO sets sights on the next big thing

December 2, 2014
Life sciences
In the biotech world, completing a deal worth billions in cash is cause for a prolonged celebration and a lengthy professional sabbatical. But just a few months after Ron Renaud completed the sale of Idenix to Merck for $3.85 billion, the biotech CEO’s vacation is officially over. Instead, he’s opening a new chapter in his career–taking the helm at the upstart RaNA in Cambridge, MA, and switching focus from hepatitis C to long noncoding RNA.
 
Says Renaud: “I don’t sit still for very long.” And he’s in it for the long haul.
 
The pioneers in RNA have focused considerable attention on using their technology to turn genes off to fight disease. RaNA, though, has a preclinical effort underway to flip genes’ switches on. “The platform itself was very, very unique,” says Renaud. Which is one reason why he was attracted to the challenge of running a company still looking at its first IND.
 
“A big part of what’s happened (at RaNA),” says the CEO, “is getting a big, big library of oligonucleotides together.” Over the next 12 to 18 months, the company–which has a staff of 25–plans to identify its first clinical-stage candidates and start prepping for human trials. It’s possible that an IND could be ready by late next year.
 
RaNA has been operating with $25 million raised in a Series A announced back in early 2012–after the biotech was initially seeded by Atlas Venture. Atlas brought in SR One, Monsanto and the Partners Innovation Fund on the syndicate, and Renaud says there’s money left in the bank to get to the next big turning point. After that, they’ll need to raise more cash, with the potential for partners to step in and cover some of the freight of R&D. And he’d clearly like to start challenging the leaders in the field–companies like Alnylam and Regulus–in inking some major deals.
 
“Here, it’s about building the company with the right people; partnerships are going to become a critical part of what we do,” he adds, particularly considering the wide range of potential clinical programs that could be mounted with this kind of technology.
 
Renaud takes over from Art Krieg, who left the company to take the CSO’s job at Sarepta ($SRPT). Krieg’s move, though, was ill-fated. He was fired in the summer as Sarepta continued its roller-coaster ride with a closely watched drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
 
By John Carroll
 

comments closed

Related News

February 4, 2023

MedTrace receives U.S. patent for diagnosing the human heart

Life sciences

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent to MedTrace for their method of diagnosing the human heart via 15O-water PET. The patented method is the foundation of the company’s software aQuant, currently under development. Hendrik “Hans” Harms, PhD and Senior Scientist at MedTrace, and Jens Soerensen, Professor and Clinical Advisor to MedTrace, are the originators of the method.

February 4, 2023

Roche taps insider Teresa Graham for top pharma job as setbacks prompt M&A questions

Life sciences

Teresa Graham, currently head of global product strategy for Roche pharma, will become the division’s new CEO next month, Roche said Thursday. Simultaneously, Roche is elevating Levi Garraway, chief medical officer, to the executive committee.

February 4, 2023

J&J’s pharma group quietly works through global overhaul, with layoffs expected to reach multiple countries

Life sciences

Fierce Pharma has obtained internal documents and video of a town hall meeting conducted this week describing what J&J called a “comprehensive review” of its portfolio. Moving forward, J&J plans to operate its vaccines and infectious diseases outfits as one group, the executives explained.

How can we help you?

We're easy to reach