Putting one more arrow in its muscular dystrophy quiver, Sarepta has snagged a top executive from one of its partners to lead the company’s newly-created gene therapy unit. Louise Rodino-Klapac is coming on board as vice president of gene therapy.
Rodino-Klapac is coming from Sarepta’s partner Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where she was heading up the laboratory for gene therapy research for muscular dystrophies. Her work has involved 11 investigational new gene therapy drugs, and six that have reached human trials. Sarepta is partnered with the hospital on a micro-dystrophin Duchenne gene therapy that got IND clearance last November.
But Rodino-Klapac also has ties to another Sarepta partner — she’s CSO of Myonexus, the company Sarepta licensed five gene therapies from earlier this month. The deal allowed Sarepta to edge into Limb-girdle muscular dystrophies, paying Myonexus $60 million upfront with $45 million in potential milestones — and snaring a buyout option at proof-of-concept.
She’s keeping her gig at Myonexus, too, according to Sarepta’s statement.
“Making an impact on the lives of patients affected by muscular dystrophies has been central to my professional work,” said Rodino-Klapac. “Sarepta’s RNA platforms and multiple gene therapy programs provide significant opportunity to make a profound difference for patients with neuromuscular diseases. I’m excited to join the Sarepta team leading its gene therapy development efforts, and share the organization’s urgency to advance its robust pipeline of potential therapies.”
Sarepta’s CEO Doug Ingram had this to say:
Her appointment to lead our gene therapy division perfectly exemplifies our strategy of quickly becoming among the most meaningful global genetic medicine companies by retaining and nurturing the field’s best and brightest gene therapy and neuromuscular scientists. It would be challenging to find a scientist that has matched Dr. Rodino-Klapac’s record of advancing our understanding of gene therapy and its application to neuromuscular conditions while accelerating bench-side research into human clinical trials.
Image: Louise Rodino-Klapac. NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
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