Jason Ryan, formerly Foundation Medicine’s chief financial officer, has hopped over to Magenta Therapeutics as its chief financial and chief operating officer. The move comes after he “played a key role” in orchestrating Foundation’s $2.4 billion buyout by Roche this summer.
Ryan will start his new role at the stem cell biotech on Jan. 1.
“As we grow as a public company and advance our portfolio, Jason’s depth of experience in capital creation and allocation, operations and finance, and commercial planning will nicely complement the skills of our existing team and position us well to bring our first-in-class therapies to patients as efficiently and effectively as possible,” said Magenta CEO Jason Gardner in a statement.
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Magenta is working on expanding stem cells outside the body to increase the number of cells that can be delivered during a transplant. Its lead asset is the ex-Novartis drug MGTA-456, which met its efficacy targets in a phase 2 study of patients with inherited metabolic disorders, but raised some safety questions.
MGTA-456 is based on cord blood-derived stem cells that, by using a larger dose of stem cells, is designed to reduce the time it takes for white blood cell populations to recover after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT). These treatments, which involve destroying a patient’s bone marrow as a first step, are important for patients with metabolic disorders, such as Hurler syndrome, who do not have a matched donor.
The phase 2 data, unveiled earlier this month, showed that MGTA-456 cut this recovery time from a historical average of about eight days to just one day. However, the study had only assessed the treatment in five patients so far—two with Hurler syndrome and three with adrenoleukodystrophy—and that both Hurler patients developed autoimmune cytopenia, or a reduction in the number of mature blood cells. One of them died, but the company said it believes the fatality wasn’t related to MGTA-456. Because the reactions happened in patients under the age of two, the company will only enroll patients older than two in the future. It expects to recruit 12 patients for the trial in total.
Ryan’s move to Magenta follows that of John Davis, the company’s chief medical officer who previously led early clinical development at Pfizer. In May, Magenta filed to raise up to $100 million in its IPO, just one month after getting off a $52 million series C round and one year after reeling in a $50 million B round.