Rallybio Welcomes Laura Ekas, PhD and Eric Watsky, MD, Further Expanding Rallybio’s Drug Acquisition and Development Capabilities
FARMINGTON, Connecticut, August 7, 2018 – Rallybio LLC, a development-stage biotechnology company, today announced that it has further expanded its drug acquisition and development capabilities with the addition of Laura Ekas, PhD and Eric Watsky, MD to the Rallybio team. Dr. Ekas and Dr. Watsky now join Rallybio’s cofounders and other veteran industry executives in advancing Rallybio’s mission to identify and accelerate the development of transformative breakthrough therapies for patients with severe and rare disorders.
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.
Laura Ekas, PhD
Dr. Ekas brings Rallybio more than 10 years of experience in the biopharma industry, including in-depth scientific and clinical analysis of therapeutic candidates, assessments of global drug markets, and corporate operations. Most recently, she served as Director of Global Pricing and Reimbursement for Alexion Pharmaceuticals, where she led cross-functional teams to secure funded access to rare disease drugs in countries across North America, Latin America, Europe and Australasia. Before that, she was Chief of Staff to Alexion’s CEO and CFO, with responsibilities that included corporate planning, and the development and implementation of cross-functional corporate strategies, policies, and initiatives. Dr. Ekas originally joined Alexion in the investor relations function. Prior to Alexion, Dr. Ekas was Vice President, Senior Equity Research Analyst at Canaccord Genuity, where she conducted both medical/scientific and commercial due diligence on more than 50 biotech companies working across multiple therapeutic areas. Dr. Ekas received her PhD in Pharmacology and Signal Transduction from the New York University School of Medicine.
“Laura’s strengths include the deep scientific and clinical analysis of development candidates across the spectrum from pre-clinical through approved medicines,” said Dr. Mackay. “She is an important addition to our team as we review a large number of potential assets from sources around the globe.”
“Important work in basic science and pre-clinical development is taking place across some of the most severe, and previously unaddressed rare diseases. I am thrilled to join the Rallybio team, which has the passion and know-how to bring life-transforming treatments to patients suffering from rare diseases,” said Dr. Ekas.
Eric Watsky, MD
Dr. Watsky joins Rallybio with 22 years of experience in pharmaceutical research and development, as well as additional experience in patient care and clinical research in academia and at the National Institutes of Health. Most recently, Dr. Watsky served as Vice President, Global Development Team Leader for Alexion Pharmaceuticals, where he led clinical programs for first-in-class therapies for multiple orphan and ultra-orphan diseases. Prior to Alexion, Dr. Watsky held positions of increasing responsibility at Pfizer, rising to the role of Executive Director in the Specialty Care Business Unit focused on rare disease indications. His work at Pfizer included both exploratory and late-stage clinical development of more than 30 approved drugs and drug candidates in support of both clinical research and commercialization. Prior to Pfizer, Dr. Watsky was a Senior Staff Research Fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Watsky received his MD from Boston University and has taught at the medical schools of Harvard, where he was Chief Resident in Psychopharmacology, and George Washington University.
“Eric is a very strong and broadly experienced drug developer who has worked on the clinical development programs for several medicines, including orphan drugs, from first-in-human studies through regulatory approval and into the marketplace,” said Dr. Mackay. “We will benefit greatly from his special expertise in designing clinical studies and working with regulators in rare disease settings where there are essentially no established regulatory pathways.”
“The assets we are reviewing have strong and clear clinical potential to treat patients who currently suffer from a lack of effective treatment options,” said Dr. Watsky. “I am happy to be joining the Rallybio team and look forward to advancing the most promising of these candidates into clinical development.”
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