After selling off a clutch of Vants, Roivant CEO Ramaswamy moves upstairs to executive chair

Roivant CEO and founder Vivek Ramaswamy is to become the biotech builder’s executive chairman as he promotes Chief Financial Officer Matt Gline to the chief’s role.

There’s less to manage these days after Roivant sold off five Vants—Myovant, Urovant, Enzyvant, Altavant and Spirovant—to Sumitomo Dainippon, which now runs them under a new company, Sumitovant. The December 2019 deal also gave the Japanese pharma a 10% stake in Roivant as well as the chance to buy six more Vants—an option that lasts until 2024.

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Since that deal, two Sumitovant companies, Urovant and Myovant, have seen their first FDA approvals—in overactive bladder and prostate cancer, respectively. As for the Vants still under the Roivant umbrella, Dermavant delivered two successful phase 3 studies for a psoriasis cream picked up from GlaxoSmithKline.

“For many of our employees and close partners, this decision will not be a surprise since it reflects how Roivant has been operating as a business over the past year.,” Ramaswamy wrote in his annual update email.

Since the deal with Sumitomo Dainippon, Ramaswamy’s role has “evolved to overseeing key strategic decisions,” while Gline has worked with Roivant’s senior management team on running day-to-day business and managing the Vants, Ramaswamy wrote.

It’s a management structure that Roivant put to the test last spring, when Ramaswamy’s family members fell ill with COVID-19 and he stepped back from the company. And it will continue with Ramaswamy and Gline in their new roles.

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“As Executive Chairman I will be able to focus more exclusively on guiding Roivant’s strategy in partnership with Matt, in particular focusing on our expansion into drug discovery and on consummating large collaborations that unlock value with new partners,” Ramaswamy wrote.

When it started, Roivant’s bread and butter was to pick up programs from other companies and institutions against promising drug targets. As it evolved, the Roivant team began identifying targets faster and faster, which led to its foray into discovery and development, Gline wrote in the email.