Alnylam's Maraganore Stepping Down; Harpoon Taps New CEO

Maraganore_Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty

Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Alnylam Chief Executive Officer Dr. John Maraganore, who guided the company’s RNAi therapies from concept to commercialization, is handing over the reins of the company at the end of the year.

Maraganore is Alnylam’s founding CEO, having joined the company in 2002. He has overseen the growth of Alnylam since its days as a start-up to becoming the biggest RNAi company in the world. Under his guidance, Alnylam has won approval for four different drugsOnpattro (patisiran), Gilvaari (givosiran) and Oxlumo (lumasiran), which were solely developed by Alnylam, and Leqvio (inclisiran), which was commercialized by partner company Novartis. Taking over the helm of Alnylam will be Dr. Yvonne Greenstreet, who currently serves as the company’s president and chief operating officer.

Although he is stepping away from the role of CEO of the Cambridge, Mass.-based company, Maraganore will continue to support Alnylam’s growth, first in a consulting capacity and then as a member of the company’s scientific advisory board.

Before Alnylam, Dr. Maraganore served as senior vice president of Strategic Product Development for Millennium. In that role, he was responsible for the company’s product franchises in oncology and cardiovascular, inflammatory, and metabolic diseases. Before Millennium, Maraganore worked at Biogen, where he invented and led the discovery and development of Angiomax (bivalirudin for injection, formerly Hirulog).

Maraganore said after nearly 20 years leading Alnylam, this is the right time for him to step away from the day-to-day management and focus on his next chapter, which will involve “helping other entrepreneurs and companies advance new frontiers of medicine.” Looking at his tenure at the helm, Maraganore called his time as CEO of Alnylam a “remarkable journey of conquering the challenges of early science to create an entire new frontier of medicine with multiple RNAi therapeutics helping patients around the world.” He said he is excited about the future of the company and its prospects for Alnylam P5x25, a five-year strategy to become a top-five biotech based on market cap within the next five years.

“I couldn’t be more excited about Alnylam’s future under Yvonne’s leadership, and am more confident than ever in the company’s prospects,” Maraganore said.

Greenstreet joined Alnylam in 2016. Before Alnylam, she served as head of Medicines Development at Pfizer and spent 18 years at GlaxoSmithKline in multiple roles, including chief of Strategy for Research and Development and chief medical officer for Europe. In a brief statement, she thanked Maraganore for his leadership at Alnylam that culminated in creating of a new class of innovative medicines.

“I believe that Alnylam is well on its way toward achieving its P5x25 aspirations of building a top 5 biotech, and I’m confident that our continued leadership of RNAi therapeutics and commitment to innovation for patients will guide us for the future,” Greenstreet said in a statement.

Alnylam isn’t the only company to see a CEO transition this week. Bay Area-based Harpoon Therapeutics is also tapping a new leader. Julie Eastland has been named president and CEO, effective Nov. 8, 2021. Eastland will succeed Jerry McMahon, who has resigned from the company.

“I am excited to lead Harpoon Therapeutics as its next president and chief executive officer and to champion the company’s clinical programs targeting breakthrough treatments for cancer,” Eastland said in a statement. “I look forward to working alongside the medical and scientific teams to advance Harpoon’s novel immuno-oncology therapeutic modalities through the clinic and ultimately to commercialization, to make a difference in the lives of patients with cancer.”

Eastland has served on the company’s board of directors since 2018. She recently served as COO and chief financial officer of ReCode Therapeutics, a private genetic medicines company. Before ReCode, she served as CFO and chief business officer of Rainier Therapeutics, a private biopharmaceutical company focused in FGFR3 bladder cancer. Prior to Rainier, she served as CFO and CBO of Cascadian Therapeutics.

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