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

June 8, 2024

Lilly CFO leaves to join Alphabet

Life sciences

Anat Ashkenazi will leave Eli Lilly’s executive suite at the end of July to become CFO and senior vice president of Google and Alphabet. Ashkenazi has been CFO at Lilly since 2021 and originally joined the company in 2001. Over her 23-year career at the Indianapolis-based drugmaker, Ashkenazi also served as controller, CFO of Lilly Research Laboratories and as the finance chief for several global divisions within the company.

June 8, 2024

Edwards Lifesciences to cell Critical Care to BD

Life sciences

Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE: EW) announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Critical Care product group to BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), in an all-cash transaction valued at $4.2 billion. With this agreement, Edwards is no longer pursuing the previously announced spin-off of Critical Care.

June 8, 2024

Danaher names Martin Stumpe as chief data and AI officer

Life sciences

The company, which owns diagnostics and life sciences businesses including Beckman Coulter and Cepheid, said the appointment reflects its increasing investment in AI as “a driving force for innovation and productivity.” Danaher is focused on AI by also spending on its internal capabilities and partnering with academic groups.

How can we help you?

We're easy to reach