Rallybio Expands Drug Acquisition and Development Capabilities with Addition of Veteran Industry Executives Zubin Bhagwagar, MD, PhD and Haren Vasavada, PhD, join Rallybio to identify and advance early-stage assets into clinical development
FARMINGTON, Conn., July 10, 2018 – Rallybio LLC, a development-stage biotechnology company, today announced that it has expanded its drug acquisition and development capabilities with the addition of Zubin Bhagwagar, MD, PhD and Haren Vasavada, PhD. Drs. Bhagwagar and Vasavada will play an integral role in advancing Rallybio’s mission to identify and accelerate the development of transformative breakthrough therapies for patients with severe and rare disorders.
“With their deep academic backgrounds and broad leadership experience in acquiring and developing drugs for very rare disorders, Haren and Zubin bring Rallybio a range of strengths in basic science, business development, translational medicine, and clinical development,” said Martin Mackay, PhD, a co-founder of Rallybio. “We are continuing to evaluate a large number of opportunities, and we look forward to announcing our initial assets and development plans in the coming months.”
Rallybio was co-founded in January 2018 by Martin Mackay, PhD, Stephen Uden MD, and Jeffrey Fryer, CPA, recognized leaders from the biopharma industry. In April, the company announced that it had secured $37.0 million in Series A funding. Rallybio’s focus is on antibodies, small molecules and engineered proteins that have strong biological rationales for addressing specific disease mechanisms.
Zubin Bhagwagar, MD, PhD
Dr. Bhagwagar is a physician-scientist with over 25 years of academic and industry experience across multiple therapeutic areas. His expertise spans business development and drug development in both small molecules and biologics. Most recently, he was VP External Innovation at Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he was responsible for the organization, management and output of R&D diligence teams into various business development opportunities. Previously, he was Head of Global Strategic Evaluation in the Business Development Group of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he organized and led a team that screened more than 400 opportunities per year. Prior to Alexion, Dr. Bhagwagar held positions of increasing responsibility at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he rose to the position of Head of the Clinical Pharmacology Medical Group. Dr. Bhagwagar received his medical degree from Delhi University and his PhD from the University of Oxford. He has extensive clinical training in neuroscience and has conducted clinical research in neuroscience/psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine, where he also teaches.
“I am very pleased to join the Rallybio team at this exciting time, when the company is strategically assembling a portfolio of highly innovative drug candidates to serve patients who currently lack treatment options for severe diseases,” said Dr. Bhagwagar. “Our combined team at Rallybio is particularly well-suited to understanding both the scientific and commercial potential of various drug candidates.”
Haren Vasavada, PhD
Dr. Vasavada has more than 25 years of experience as a scientist, manager, and R&D leadership team member in the areas of biopharmaceuticals, small molecule therapeutics, and research technologies. Prior to joining Rallybio, he served as the Head of New Targets and Therapeutics at Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he led a new-target team that evaluated more than 150 pre-clinical and clinical stage opportunities, resulting in multiple licensing and collaboration agreements, and also led academic collaborations for early stage research programs. Prior to Alexion, Dr. Vasavada was Vice President, Process Science at Optherion, Inc. He began his career in the biopharmaceutical industry at Bayer, Inc., where he rose to the position of Director of Research in Bayer’s Department of Research Technologies, advancing a both small molecule and biologic drug candidates into product development. Before his industry career, Dr. Vasavada was an associate research scientist in Yale University’s Department of Human Genetics. He received his PhD from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and did his postdoctoral work at Yale University.
“Rallybio has a team of highly skilled and very experienced drug developers that will enable us to choose best-in-class therapeutic candidates and move them rapidly into the clinic,” said Dr. Vasavada. “I am thrilled to be joining Martin, Steve, Jeff and Zubin on this exciting mission for patients.”
Rallybio was established to identify and accelerate the development of transformative breakthrough therapies for patients with severe and rare disorders. The founders of the company – Martin Mackay, PhD, Steve Uden, MD, and Jeffrey Fryer, CPA – are seasoned leaders from the biopharma industry with a wide breadth of research, development, and financial experience. Rallybio has earned the support of highly-respected investors in the bioscience sector and announced in April 2018 that it had secured $37.0 million in a Series A funding led by 5AM Ventures, Canaan Partners, and New Leaf Venture Partners, with additional public-sector participation from Connecticut Innovations. The Company is based in Farmington, CT, at the University of Connecticut’s Technology Incubation Program. For more information, please visit www.rallybio.com.
Jeffrey Fryer, CPA