John Maraganore (Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

John Maraganore want­ed to be­come a biotech grand­dad af­ter leav­ing Al­ny­lam. With his new role at RTW, it looks like he got his wish

On his way out of Al­ny­lam, out­go­ing CEO John Maraganore, who had led the biotech through thick and thin for 19 years, said late last year he want­ed to ad­vise new biotech com­pa­nies in the grand­fa­ther phase of his ca­reer.

“It’s like a grand­fa­ther, right? You get the ben­e­fit of lov­ing your grand­chil­dren, but not hav­ing to take care of them all the time,” Maraganore said at the time. “I want to be a grand­dad.”

And with his newest ap­point­ments in biotech and ven­ture, it looks like his wish has been grant­ed — with a whirl­wind five an­nounce­ments and some big names.

One of those re­cent an­nounce­ments is the prover­bial ic­ing on the cake: Maraganore is join­ing RTW In­vest­ments as an ex­ec­u­tive part­ner.

RTW had in­vest­ed in Al­ny­lam be­fore the biotech had its first drug — On­pat­tro — ap­proved in 2018. And RTW, as a ma­jor play­er in the glob­al VC sphere, has in­vest­ed in quite a few oth­er biotechs — just shy of 40, ac­cord­ing to the in­vest­ment firm’s web­site.

“When the rest of the world was skep­ti­cal of Al­ny­lam, RTW be­lieved in our vi­sion for RNAi ther­a­peu­tics and ex­hib­it­ed the long-term, sci­ence-based in­vest­ment ap­proach the firm is known for,” said Maraganore in a pre­pared state­ment with RTW. “I’m join­ing RTW as ex­ec­u­tive part­ner be­cause I share that ap­proach and have seen first-hand the pow­er it can have to im­pact pa­tients’ lives.”

Two days be­fore his ap­point­ment was an­nounced at RTW, the n-Lorem Foun­da­tion — the brain­child of Io­n­is founder Stan­ley Crooke — an­nounced that Maraganore was join­ing the team as chair of its ad­vi­so­ry coun­cil. The an­ti­sense oligonu­cleotide med­i­cines foun­da­tion put Maraganore in charge of a team of n-Lorem ad­vi­sors to fo­cus on fundrais­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The next day, bleed­ing dis­or­der out­fit Hemab Ther­a­peu­tics, led by Al­ny­lam alum Ben­ny Sorensen, an­nounced on Wednes­day that Maraganore was join­ing up as board chair — and Maraganore was all hap­py about it. Per his Twit­ter feed,

Sorensen worked at Al­ny­lum for sev­er­al years, work­ing his way up to se­nior di­rec­tor of clin­i­cal re­search be­fore leav­ing in 2016.

Sev­er­al hours af­ter that an­nounce­ment, At­las Ven­ture fol­lowed suit — an­nounc­ing via Twit­ter that Maraganore has joined up with At­las as a ven­ture ad­vi­sor. This made his sec­ond po­si­tion in the VC realm and his fifth po­si­tion since he an­nounced his im­mi­nent de­par­ture from Al­ny­lam — of­fi­cial­ly re­tir­ing from the biotech gi­ant on De­cem­ber 31.

And as of 6:45 am this morn­ing, Maraganore is part­ner­ing with cell ther­a­py out­fit SQZ Biotech­nolo­gies as a strate­gic ad­vi­sor.

So far, the past 48 hours and five newest posts put Maraganore in a head-spin­ning eight ap­point­ments. Be­fore the ap­point­ment del­uge, Maraganore an­nounced he was leav­ing Al­ny­lam in late Oc­to­ber and had part­nered with:

  • Beam Ther­a­peu­tics, a gene ther­a­py up­start out of David Liu’s lab. CEO John Evans timed the an­nounce­ment of Maraganore join­ing the biotech’s board in ear­ly No­vem­ber with Beam’s an­nounce­ment of reg­u­la­to­ry clear­ance for their very first IND for BEAM-101, a po­ten­tial one-time treat­ment for sick­le cell, which marked a shift in Beam no longer be­ing just a pre­clin­i­cal biotech with po­ten­tial — but now a clin­i­cal-stage com­pa­ny with high ex­pec­ta­tions;
  • Sali­o­Gen, a small gene cod­ing biotech that emerged out of a stretch in stealth with $20 mil­lion in March. Maraganore joined up as one of three heavy­weight ad­vi­sors to the com­pa­ny and CEO Ray Tabib­i­azar, along­side fi­nan­cial en­gi­neer An­drew Lo — the one who helped es­tab­lish Bridge­Bio and Roivant — and for­mer FDA com­mish Mark Mc­Clel­lan. At the time, Tabib­i­azar told End­points that to get John on board, “I thought it would be a mir­a­cle to get him,” he said. “To us, he was a celebri­ty.” And when John agreed, he told Ray: “I am here to share my scars with you.”
  • ARCH Ven­ture as a new ven­ture part­ner, his first for­ay post-Al­ny­lam in­to VC — join­ing oth­er biotech big­wig names such as ex-FDA of­fi­cial Lu­ciana Bo­rio, Ax­el Bou­chon (for­mer head of Leaps by Bay­er), Jake Bauer (pre­vi­ous­ly at MyoKar­dia) and Sabah Oney (of Alec­tor fame). The Bob Nel­son-led VC has ac­cess to its largest-ever fund of $1.85 bil­lion, giv­ing more op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­vest in gene edit­ing, cell ther­a­py and men­tal health.

With some­one as well-known as Maraganore, it would not sur­prise peo­ple who keep close tabs on the in­dus­try if he took at least five board po­si­tions — with room for even more on the VC side of biotech. And now that he has eight new roles in biotech, it’s on­ly a mat­ter of time to see what else hap­pens — and who’s next in line for the “Maraganore touch” and en­su­ing pub­lic­i­ty.

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His­toric drug pric­ing re­forms pass; Pfiz­er ac­quires GBT; The long search for non-opi­oid pain drugs; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

The Endpoints Weekly has officially crossed the 60,000 mark on subscribers — thanks to all of your support. As the editorial team grows, we’ve been able to do a lot more, with many of those on display this week. Be sure to check out Lei Lei Wu’s deep dive on pain R&D. If you missed it, you may also rewatch her companion panel here.

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Gold for adults, sil­ver for in­fants: Pfiz­er's Pre­vnar 2.0 head­ed to FDA months af­ter Mer­ck­'s green light

Pfizer was first to the finish line for the next-gen pneumococcal vaccine in adults, but Merck beat its rival with a jab for children in June.

Now, two months after Merck’s 15-valent Vaxneuvance won the FDA stamp of approval for kids, Pfizer is out with some late-stage data on its 20-valent shot for infants.

Known as Prevnar 20 for adults, Pfizer’s 20vPnC will head to the FDA by the end of this year for an approval request in infants, the Big Pharma said Friday morning. Discussions with the FDA will occur first and more late-stage pediatric trials are expected to read out soon, informing the regulatory pathway in other countries and regions.

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No­var­tis re­ports two pa­tient deaths af­ter treat­ment with Zol­gens­ma

Two children with spinal muscular atrophy have died after receiving Novartis’ Zolgensma, a gene therapy designed as a one-time treatment for the rare fatal disease.

The deaths, which resulted from acute liver failure, occurred in Russia and Kazakhstan, Novartis confirmed in a statement to Endpoints News. Having notified health authorities across all the markets where Zolgensma is available, it will update the drug label “to specify that fatal acute liver failure has been reported,” a spokesperson wrote.

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Winselow Tucker, Eli Lilly's new Loxo unit chief commercial officer

Eli Lil­ly plucks a new com­mer­cial chief from Bris­tol My­ers in man­age­ment shuf­fle as HR chief re­tires

Eli Lilly has found a new chief commercial officer from among the ranks at Bristol Myers Squibb, as it says farewell to its longtime head of human resources Stephen Fry.

Fry announced on Thursday his plans to retire after more than 35 years with Lilly. He’ll vacate his seat as SVP of human resources and diversity at the end of the year, and current Loxo CCO Eric Dozier is slated to take his place. As a result, BMS’ Winselow Tucker is joining the team as Loxo CCO at the end of the month.

Simba Gill, Evelo Biosciences CEO

Sim­ba Gill heads back to Flag­ship af­ter sev­en-year run as Evelo CEO

Evelo Biosciences is on the hunt for a new CEO, with its founding chief Simba Gill switching to the chairman post to free up time for his new gig at Evelo’s incubator, Flagship Pioneering.

Gill will trade in his former Flagship title of venture partner with the higher-up role of executive partner, after originally joining in 2015. He’ll serve as CEO of Evelo until his successor is chosen, and at Flagship his priorities will be counseling and supporting the venture firm’s portfolio companies.

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House pass­es his­toric drug pric­ing re­forms, lin­ing up decades-in-the-mak­ing win for Biden and De­moc­rats

The US House of Representatives today voted along party lines (all Dems voted for it), 220-207 to pass new, wide-ranging legislation that will allow Medicare drug price negotiations for the first time ever, and cap seniors’ drug expenses to $2,000 per year and seniors’ insulin costs at $35 per month.

Setting up a major victory for President Joe Biden, representatives returned from their summer recess to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, even as many noted the bill would only modestly reduce inflation.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Francis Chung/E&E News/POLITICO via AP Images)

Sen­ate Fi­nance chair con­tin­ues his in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to phar­ma tax­es with re­quests for Am­gen

Amgen is the latest pharma company to appear on the radar of Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR), who is investigating the way pharma companies are using subsidiaries in low- or zero-tax countries to lower their tax bills.

Like its peers Merck, AbbVie and Bristol Myers Squibb, Wyden notes how Amgen uses its Puerto Rico operations to consistently pay tax rates that are substantially lower than the U.S. corporate tax rate of 21%, with an effective tax rate of 10.7% in 2020 and 12.1% in 2021.

FDA ap­proves sec­ond in­di­ca­tion for As­traZeneca and Dai­ichi's En­her­tu in less than a week

AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo’s antibody-drug conjugate Enhertu scored its second approval in less than a week, this time for a subset of lung cancer patients.

Enhertu received accelerated approval on Thursday to treat adults with unresectable or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have activating HER2 (ERBB2) mutations, and who have already received a prior systemic therapy.

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