Another Alexion alum joins Rallybio ranks

Just a week after nabbing a $145 million series B round, rare disease biotech and former Fierce 15 winner Rallybio has grabbed ex-Alexion exec Róisín Armstrong, Ph.D., to run the research work on its leading investigational med.

She joins the team after being vice president and global medicine team leader at Alexion and will work alongside a trio of Alexion veterans who started Rallybio two years back.

At the biotech, she will lead work on RLYB211, a hyperimmune globulin made by purifying antibodies from donated plasma. It works by a process called antibody-mediated immune suppression, a mechanism that’s been known about for more than a century but for which the drivers are still unclear.

Rallybio acquired the program from a tiny startup in Norway. It’s designed to treat fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (FNAIT), a condition in which a pregnant woman develops antibodies that attack her fetus’s platelets.

There is no treatment for FNAIT, which can lead to miscarriage, death of the newborn baby or neurological disability due to bleeding in the fetus’s brain.

Armstrong will now be in charge of RLYB211’s push into a phase 1/2 study that is slated to start in the second half of this year.

Following behind are RLYB212, in development for a rare blood disease, and a trio of preclinical-stage protein therapeutics for the treatment of immune-inflammatory diseases. The company expects to move RLYB212 and one of the latter programs into the clinic next year, it recently told FierceBiotech.

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“Róisín’s track record of success in shepherding therapeutics through global clinical development, and in securing regulatory approvals for the benefit of patients in need around the world is remarkable. We are delighted that she has joined the Rallybio team,” said Martin Mackay, Ph.D., co-founder of Rallybio.

“We look forward to the rare disease experience and expertise that Róisín brings to the company as we work to advance RLYB211 into the clinic this year.”

“I’m excited to join the Rallybio team, and to lead the development of RLYB211, which has the potential to eradicate a devastating disease,” Armstrong added.  

“This team of top-class drug developers has the potential to bring change to the lives of patients with severe and rare diseases, and I’m delighted to be a part of Rallybio’s future.”