People, Rare Diseases

Ramaswamy’s rare-disease offshoot Enzyvant poaches Alexion exec Rachelle Jacques to replace Alvin Shih at the helm

Alexion’s Rachelle Jacques is jumping ship to another rare disease biotech with a big promotion: CEO of Enzyvant Sciences, which was forged out of Vivek Ramaswamy’s prolific shop at Roivant back in 2016.

The company’s claim to fame is its lead drug — RVT-802 — for which a rolling marketing application has been initiated. The regenerative therapy, in-licensed from Duke University, is designed to reconstitute the immune system to treat primary immune deficiency resulting from congenital athymia, or a complete lack of a thymus. The FDA has laid out a red carpet for it by granting the experimental treatment breakthrough therapy designation and regenerative medicine advanced therapy (RMAT) status.

Rachelle Jacques

Jacques has replaced Alvin Shih — who was appointed months after the formation of Enzyvant — as the company preps for the commercial roll out of RVT-802. She previously served as senior VP and global franchise head of Complement at Alexion, and has also worked with Shire, Baxalta, Baxter and Dow Corning.

Ramaswamy’s Roivant Sciences and Plexcera Therapeutics created Enzyvant Sciences in July 2016, launching with a recombinant human acid ceramidase (rhAC), an enzyme replacement therapy for Farber disease, a rare inherited metabolic disorder. The drug, now dubbed RVT-801, is being primed for in-human studies. Last year, Enzyvant joined forces with PerkinElmer $PKI to develop a test for genetic mutations associated with Farber disease.

Outgoing CEO Shih, who previously worked with Retrophin, will remain as an adviser to Enzyvant.

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