NEW YORK and BASEL, Switzerland, June 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Aruvant Sciences Inc. (Aruvant), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing transformative therapies for the treatment of severe blood disorders, today announced the appointment of V. "Palani" Palaniappan, Ph.D. as chief technology officer (CTO) effective immediately. In this role, Dr. Palaniappan will be charged with growing Aruvant's technical and manufacturing capabilities for current and future programs. With 25 years of research and drug development experience, including extensive work in chemistry, manufacturing and controls, a critical part of drug development, Dr. Palaniappan will oversee the manufacturing of ARU-1801, a one-time, potentially curative investigational gene therapy for patients with sickle cell disease administered with only reduced intensity conditioning.
"Dr. Palaniappan joins the team at an important time as we transition from academic to commercial manufacturing for ARU-1801, our potentially curative product candidate for individuals with sickle cell disease," said Will Chou, M.D., chief executive officer of Aruvant. "While we have already seen strong clinical results from ARU-1801 manufactured with our first-generation process, Dr. Palaniappan has the depth of experience to successfully lead us to an optimized commercial-ready process. His proven track record and extensive experience with vector-based products, recombinant biologics and other novel modalities will be valuable as we refine our approach with ARU-1801."
Dr. Palaniappan joined Aruvant from Sarepta where he was senior vice president, head of global technical operations and head of the Andover and Burlington sites. He was responsible for all stages of development from research through commercial for a portfolio of over 30 compounds using three modalities: antisense RNAs, gene therapy and gene editing. Prior to Sarepta, Dr. Palaniappan worked at Takeda for over a decade, where he led teams based in the United States and Japan focused on CMC development and manufacturing of novel modality products, including recombinant biologics and cell-based and live microbe products. Prior to joining Takeda, he worked in various development and product manufacturing roles of increasing responsibility at Millennium Pharmaceuticals (which was acquired by Takeda), Biogen and Nexstar Pharmaceuticals (which was acquired by Gilead). Dr. Palaniappan received his bachelor's and master's degree from Annamalai University of India. He earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.
"Given the importance of a sound CMC strategy and robust manufacturing, I am honored to join the Aruvant team to help guide ARU-1801 through the next stages of development and registration," said Dr. Palaniappan. "To accelerate bringing this potentially curative product to patients, we will focus on building capabilities to support a robust, sustainable manufacturing process and a sound regulatory strategy for ARU-1801."
Aruvant Sciences, part of the Roivant family of companies, is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing transformative therapies for the treatment of severe blood disorders, with an emphasis on helping patients suffering from sickle cell disease and β-thalassemia. The company's lead candidate, ARU-1801, is an investigational lentiviral gene therapy for sickle cell disease and transfusion-dependent β-thalassemia. ARU-1801 incorporates a patented modified gamma-globin into autologous stem cells, with the aim of restoring normal red blood cell function through increased levels of fetal hemoglobin. The high potency of the modified gamma globin enables ARU-1801 engraftment with only Reduced Intensity Conditioning (RIC). Preliminary clinical data from an ongoing Phase 1/2 study in patients with sickle cell disease demonstrated continuing durable reductions in disease burden and cessation of daily opioid use for over 18 months of follow-up. For more information, please visit www.aruvant.com.
Roivant aims to improve health by rapidly delivering innovative medicines and technologies to patients. Roivant does this by building Vants – nimble, entrepreneurial biotech and healthcare technology companies with a unique approach to sourcing talent, aligning incentives, and deploying technology to drive greater efficiency in R&D and commercialization. For more information, please visit www.roivant.com.