Ra Pharma Appoints Chief Scientific Officer And Expands Board Of Directors

-Biopharmaceutical industry veteran Robert Heft and Tim Pearson named Directors-

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ra Pharmaceuticals today announced the appointment of Simon Read, PhD, as Chief Scientific Officer, effective April 4, 2016. Dr. Read brings to Ra Pharmaceuticals more than 20 years of drug discovery and development experience including, leadership roles of increasing responsibility at GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Roche/Genentech and Grunenthal GmbH. During this period, Dr. Read has worked on the clinical development of some of the most well-known, breakthrough drugs in the immunology area, including Rituxan® (ritxumab) and Actemra® (tocilizumab). Most recently, he served as Vice President and Head of the Innovative Medicines Unit (IMU) at Grunenthal, a mid-sized pharmaceutical company headquartered in Aachen, Germany. Focused on rare and orphan diseases, Dr. Read led the foundation of the IMU in Aachen and opening of a second hub in Leiden, Netherlands.

“Ra’s Extreme Diversity™ platform is based on a cutting edge chemistry that has yielded a deep pipeline of macrocyclic peptides with unique characteristics, including RA101495, where convenient subcutaneous dosing and potential for improved control of hemolysis can advance the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH),” said Dr. Read. “I am looking forward to working with the discovery and development teams at Ra to build a rich and diverse pipeline of novel therapeutics.”

“Simon brings a wealth of experience and knowledge across various stages of drug discovery and development, particularly in rare and orphan diseases,” said Doug Treco, PhD, Founder and CEO of Ra Pharmaceuticals. “His leadership and insights will be invaluable as we continue to advance the development of our synthetic peptide C5 inhibitor, RA101495, for PNH, and other disorders stemming from dysregulation of the complement system.”

Dr. Read is well published, having authored over 50 articles in peer reviewed journals in Immunology and Neuroinflammation. In the UK, he is a member of Medical Research Council and Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry Steering Committee for the UK’s foremost Immunology Consortium. In the US, Dr. Read is a member of the Boston Children’s Hospital Technology Development Fund steering group. Dr. Read received his BSc from Manchester University and PhD from the University of Hertfordshire, England.

Expanded Board of Directors

Ra Pharmaceuticals also announced the appointment of biopharmaceutical industry veterans Robert Heft, PhD, and Tim Pearson to the Company’s Board of Directors.

“We are excited to welcome Robert Heft and Tim Pearson to our Board of Directors, and we look forward to leveraging their vast experience as we continue development of our pipeline of complement inhibitors,” said Doug Treco, PhD, Founder and CEO of Ra Pharmaceuticals. “The entire Ra team will benefit from their insights and guidance.”

Dr. Robert Heft brings more than 30 years of biopharmaceutical executive leadership experience to Ra. Dr. Heft currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Zingenix Ltd., a company focused on gene therapy for severe orphan disorders. Prior to Zingenix, Dr. Heft was President, Chief Executive Officer, and member of the Board of Directors of Enobia Pharma Inc. (Montreal, Quebec) from 2005-2012. In February 2012, Dr. Heft sold Enobia to Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. for USD 1.1 Billion, the largest-ever sale of a private, pre-commercial biopharmaceutical company. Prior to Enobia, Dr. Heft held several senior positions with BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. following BioMarin’s acquisition of IBEX Pharmaceuticals in 2001. Dr. Heft founded IBEX in 1986 and served as its President, Chief Scientist and board member. In addition to Ra Pharma, Dr. Heft currently serves on the boards of Zingenix Ltd., VisionGate, Inc., Lumos Pharma Inc., and Clementia Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and as Chairman of the Board of ELOXX Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. He also serves on the Advisory Board of Sectoral Asset Management. Dr. Heft obtained his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Genetic Engineering and Radiological Sciences.

“Ra’s proprietary drug discovery technology can be applied to a wide range of targets to address unmet medical needs in rare hematologic, ocular, and autoimmune disorders of complement regulation,” noted Dr. Heft. “I’m honored to be joining the Board as the Company advances RA101495 in the clinic, and I’m excited to work with Doug and the team to establish Ra as a leader in the complement space.”

Ra Pharma also announced the appointment of Tim Pearson to the Board. Mr. Pearson currently serves as Chief Financial Officer of TESARO, an oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company, since May 2014. Prior to joining TESARO, Mr. Pearson was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Catalyst Health Solutions, Inc., where he led the finance and strategic planning functions. Previously, Mr. Pearson held a number of senior finance positions at MedImmune, most recently as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the MedImmune division of AstraZeneca. During his thirteen year tenure at MedImmue/AZ, Mr. Pearson was involved with commercial launches, marketing partnerships, in-licensing transactions and several acquisitions. Mr. Pearson holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Delaware, an M.S. in Finance from Loyola College and a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Maryland. He is a licensed CPA.

About Ra Pharmaceuticals

Ra Pharma combines novel insights into innate immunity with leadership in macrocycle technology to transform the lives of patients with life-threatening disorders. Our proprietary Extreme Diversity™ peptide chemistry platform delivers drugs with the diversity and specificity of antibodies, coupled with the pharmacological properties of small molecules. Our primary clinical focus is on diseases of complement dysregulation and orphan indications defined by validated biomarkers. For more information, please visit: www.rapharma.com.


Argot Partners
Susan Kim, 212-600-1902

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