Laronde Announces New Leadership - May 08, 2023

  • John Mendlein, Ph.D., Chairman of Laronde, Becomes Interim CEO as Pablo J. Cagnoni, M.D., Chief Executive Officer, Assumes Role as President and Head of Research & Development of Incyte
  • Trevor J. Hallam, Ph.D., President of Research and CSO of Sutro Biopharma, Named as Laronde’s Chief Scientific Officer

SOMERVILLE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Laronde, the company pioneering Endless RNA (eRNA) – a novel, engineered form of RNA that can be programmed to express proteins inside the body for breakthrough treatments – today announced that Pablo J. Cagnoni, M.D., will step down from his role as Chief Executive Officer effective May 26, 2023, to become President and Head of Research & Development of Incyte. Dr. Cagnoni will remain a member of Laronde’s Board of Directors. John Mendlein, Ph.D., the company’s Chairman, will become its interim Chief Executive Officer.

Laronde also announced the appointment of Trevor J. Hallam, Ph.D., as Chief Scientific Officer, effective May 15, 2023. Dr. Hallam joins Laronde from Sutro Biopharma, where he was President of Research and Chief Scientific Officer. Avak Kahvejian, Ph.D., Laronde Co-founder and Flagship Pioneering General Partner, who has been serving as Laronde’s interim Chief Scientific Officer and member of the Board of Directors, will continue as a member of the Board and advisor to the CEO and Chairman.

“Laronde is an incredible company and I believe that our eRNA platform has the potential to create an entirely new class of medicines across several therapeutic areas,” said Pablo J. Cagnoni, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Laronde. “I am taking the opportunity of a lifetime to lead a large research and development organization and I will miss the highly talented team at Laronde. Over the past several months, we have made significant progress in advancing our platform and research programs and I am excited to remain an active member of Laronde’s Board to support John, Avak, and the team who have pioneered the Laronde platform from the beginning as we continue this exciting journey.”

“Over the last year, our scientists have made tremendous progress unlocking the promise of eRNA therapeutics as a new class of treatments with far-ranging in vivo applications, including vaccines, rare diseases, gene editing, and antibodies. At this exciting juncture, we are thrilled to welcome Trevor to the team as we continue to build on this momentum,” said John Mendlein, Ph.D., Laronde Chairman and incoming interim Chief Executive Officer. “Trevor brings to Laronde more than 35 years of experience in drug discovery from big pharma and biotech as well as over a decade of scientific leadership building platforms and translating them into commercial and partnering opportunities. Laronde was built around a unique programmable eRNA platform with vast therapeutic applications. Trevor’s experience in transforming novel technology platforms into clinical-stage therapeutics will be invaluable as we continue to advance our platform. We thank Pablo for his efforts on behalf of Laronde over the past few months and look forward to continuing to leverage his deep expertise building platform companies as a member of our Board.”

“Laronde’s platform is an entirely new way to approach medicine, and the range of therapeutic possibilities enabled by eRNA could have a great impact on the lives of many patients in need,” said Trevor J. Hallam, Ph.D., incoming Chief Scientific Officer of Laronde. “I am thrilled to work alongside John, Avak, and the entire team in place at Laronde and to continue to explore the vast potential of eRNA.”

About Trevor J. Hallam, Ph.D.

Dr. Hallam joins Laronde from Sutro Biopharma where he spent the last 12 years, most recently as President, Research and Chief Scientific Officer. During his tenure at Sutro Biopharma, Dr. Hallam was instrumental in the transformation of Sutro’s cell-free protein synthesis platform from an early technology platform into a clinical-stage, multi-modality platform with proven manufacturing capability. Dr. Hallam was also responsible for the strategic refocusing of the company to oncology and designing differentiated and innovative oncology development candidates for Sutro’s wholly owned asset portfolio, including two medicines that are advancing to Phase 2 studies for the treatment of b-cell malignancies, and ovarian and endometrial cancers. While at Sutro, Dr. Hallam was also instrumental in securing strategic collaborations with Celgene (now BMS), EMD-Serono, Merck, and Astellas. Prior to joining Sutro, Dr. Hallam was Executive Vice President of R&D at Palatin Technologies, Inc., and held several senior management positions in various major pharmaceutical companies over 20 years, including AstraZeneca, Roche, and Glaxo SmithKline. Dr. Hallam is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Sutro Biopharma. Dr. Hallam received a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry from the University of Leeds and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Kings College, University of London. He then conducted post-doctoral training at the Physiological Laboratory, University of Cambridge.

About John Mendlein, Ph.D.

John Mendlein is an executive partner at Flagship Pioneering, contributing to Flagship’s strategic and operational objectives, including the growth stage companies like Laronde. A longtime member of Flagship’s broader ecosystem of companies, John is an experienced biotech entrepreneur. Prior to joining Flagship, John served as president of corporate and product strategy at Moderna and was a member of Moderna’s board of directors from 2012 to 2018. He has also played leadership or founder roles at multiple biotech enterprises, including Aurora Biosciences (acquired by Vertex Pharmaceuticals), Adnexus Therapeutics (acquired by BMS), Fate Therapeutics (FATE), aTyr Pharma (LIFE) and Affinium Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Debiopharm Group). John also worked at Smith Kline and French (now GSK) as a scientist. John currently serves on the boards of Flagship companies Empress, Laronde, Omega, and Senda Biosciences. John is also a co-author or co-inventor of over 210 publications and published patents. For more about John Mendlein, see here.

About Endless RNA

Ribonucleic Acids, or RNAs, play a significant role in biology. Among their functions, they provide the “code” that instructs cells to produce or regulate proteins, the building blocks of life and important regulators of disease processes. Because RNAs provide coded instructions to cells, they can be programmed to produce specific effects. This approach has been validated by the successful development of several important RNA-based medicines, but RNA’s potential as a drug development modality has just begun. Endless RNA, or eRNA, was invented at Flagship Labs and is a new class of synthetic, closed-loop RNA. Because eRNA has no free ends, it is not recognized by the immune system and is very stable, enabling a long duration of protein expression. In addition, eRNA can serve protein-coding and non-protein-coding functions, and its protein translation capabilities are completely modular — switching an eRNA “protein sequence cassette” enables the expression of a different protein or multiple proteins that can be tuned as needed on an application-by-application basis.

About Laronde

Laronde is pioneering a platform that offers a completely novel way of modulating human biology. Endless RNA (eRNA), invented at Flagship Labs, is a uniquely engineered RNA that can be programmed to express diverse proteins inside the body. It is non-immunogenic, allows for repeat dosing, and offers flexibility in formulation and delivery. Laronde was founded in 2017 by Flagship Labs, the innovation foundry of Flagship Pioneering. The company is rapidly scaling to support the parallel development of multiple programs across many disease areas. To learn more, please visit the company’s website at or Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Marissa Hanify, Director of Communications

Courtney Heath

Source: Laronde

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