July 11, 2018

Farmington biotech hires two more Alexion execs

PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
Jeffrey Fryer, CPA, Martin Mackay, Ph.D., and Stephen Uden, MD (left to right) co-founded Rallybio

A Farmington-based biotechnology startup is slowly making a name for itself, not necessarily by any scientific breakthroughs its made -- at least not yet -- but by the executives and scientists it's brought on.

Rallybio LLC, which identifies and accelerates the development of therapies for patients suffering from rare disorders, announced the hiring this week of two veteran executives from Alexion Pharmaceuticals to expand its drug acquisition and development capabilities.

Drs. Zubin Bhagwagar and Haren Vasavada will be joining Rallybio's three founders, who also all worked for Alexion, one of Connecticut's best-known bioscience companies that announced last year plans to move its corporate headquarters to Boston.

"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 Rallybio Co-founder Martin Mackay, who was Alexion's former global head of research and development.

Other Rallybio founders include Stephen Uden, Alexion's former head of research, and Jeffrey Fryer, Alexion's former chief tax officer.

The company announced its founding in April after it secured $37 million in funding from myriad northeast investment firms.

Bhagwagar is a physician-scientist with more than 25 years of academic and industry experience in several therapeutic fields. He also has expertise in business and drug development in small molecules and biologics, Rallybio says.

Prior to joining Rallybio, Bhagwagar served as vice president of external innovation at Alexion and previously led its global business development group.

He earned his medical degree from Delhi University and his Ph.D from the University of Oxford.

Vasavada also spent over 25 years as a scientist, manager and research and development leadership member in biopharmaceuticals, small molecule therapeutics and research technologies.

Vasavada recently led Alexion's new-target team evaluating over 150 pre-clinical and clinical stage opportunities. Rallybio says his efforts led to several licensing and collaboration agreements and academic collaborations for early stage research programs.

Prior to Alexion, he was vice president of process science at New Haven-based Optherion Inc., which is now closed.

Vasavada earned his Ph.D at the Indian Institute of Science and received his postdoctoral work from Yale University.

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