If you haven’t heard of Roivant Sciences, then you should have done! With a net worth of over $1360 million dollars, they are at the forefront of healthcare technology and drug development.
But recent months have seen big transitions at Roivant. Read on to learn more about this ground-breaking company and their new leadership team.
The History of Roivant
Vivek Ramaswamy founded Roviant Sciences in 2014. He is a graduate of both Harvard and Yale. Ramaswamy started out as a successful biotech investor. His previous experience in investing in numerous companies helped to prepare him for the launch of Roivant.
Roivant’s purpose is to deliver transformative innovation in healthcare. They partner with academic institutions and innovative partners in the biopharmaceutical industry to develop the most important medicines to meet the needs of the global population.
Roivant’s mission is to streamline the drug development process by working with subsidiary companies. This process enables the pipeline for development and delivery to be reduced, thus bringing the drugs to patients sooner.
It’s interesting to note that Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co in Japan owns a 10% stake of Roivant. This is another big global company that puts innovation at the heart of what they do.
Updates on Roivant Leadership Team
The big news for Roviant in 2021 is that Ramaswamy has stepped down from his role as Chief Executive and will instead occupy the role of Executive Chairman. Former Chief Financial Officer, Matthew Gline, replaces him as CEO.
Ramaswamy said in a letter to the company’s shareholders that the move would help to separate out his more public engagement roles from the day-to-day running of Roivant’s operations.
Matthew Gline is also a Harvard graduate. He was previously employed as a vice president with Barclays Investment Bank, then Goldman Sachs. Also co-founded a company that specialized in consulting and risk analytics technology.
He joined Roivant in March 2016. In their letter to shareholders, Gline and Ramaswamy acknowledged that Gline and the rest of the senior team at Roivant had effectively been running the day-to-day operations of the company for some time. Ramaswamy had focused instead on overseeing key strategic decisions instead.
Roivant’s Top Team
Joining Gline and Ramaswamey at the top is a team of high-profile executives, including Erik Venker, MD, who serves as President and Chief Operating Officer.
He began working for Roivant in 2014 and worked his way up through the ranks, including working as Chief of Staff to the CEO. Prior to moving to Roivant, Dr Venker worked as a physician, based at the New York Presbyterian Hospital.
While working as a physician, he also implemented operational initiatives to improve efficiencies across the whole hospital system. He also previously worked as a Clinical Pharmacist. Dr. Venker clearly brings an impressive skill set to the table.
He is joined in the boardroom by another MD, Mayukh Sukhatme, who serves as President and Chief Investment Officer. He has been with Roivant since 2015, in various roles.
His main role is to oversee the support and creation of the various pharmaceutical companies which make up the Roviant portfolio. His previous experience as a portfolio manager and also as a health analyst makes him ideally placed to handle this complex workstream.
What’s in Store for Roivant?
With a refreshed management team in place, what does the future hold or Roivant? The company is in a very strong position at the present time, with a cash position of around $2 billion dollars. This means that they can think long-term when it comes to investments.
Under the terms of the deal made in 2019, Sumitomo Dainippon was able to purchase an equity stake of 10% of the shares in Roivant, alongside a $3 billion purchase of five Roivant subsidiaries. They have a further option to purchase another six subsidiaries in the coming years, which may well change the future landscape for Roivant.
Launch of Tapinarof
One of the most exciting developments in the pipeline at Roivant is the launch of tapinarof. This is the first commercial launch that is owned in its entirety by Roivant.
Tapinarof is a topical cream used to treat psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Recent trials show that patients treated with it demonstrated improvement in their symptoms within less than two weeks of use. This was part of the Phase 2b randomized control trial.
The molecule used to develop the treatment is a naturally derived compound that was initially pursued for antibacterial purposes. But it did not show evidence of adequate potency to be used as an antibiotic, so scientists investigated whether it had the potential to be used as an anti-inflammatory instead.
Technology has now developed to allow the molecule to be developed synthetically. It has been formulated into a cream that is suitable to be used for daily dosing. This treatment has huge potential to improve symptoms and quality of life for patients with troublesome dermatological conditions.
Diverse Pipeline of Investigational Drugs
Alongside the launch of tapinarof, Roivant is working with various other partners to develop more innovative therapies to help patients suffering from a multitude of different conditions. Work is ongoing with Dermavent to develop a topical treatment called cerdulatinib. This is currently in phase 2 of development.
Phase 2 trials are also underway for an invesigational gene therapy that could be used to treat sickle cell disease and thalassemia. The innovative technology increases the effective functionality of red blood cells by using stem cell technology. This treatment has been shown to reduce vaso-occlusive crises and hospitalizations in sickle cell patients.
Roivant at the Forefront of COVID-19 Treatment Developments
A drug called gimsilumab is being developed by Kenevant, a subsidiary that is wholly owned by Roivant Sciences. This drug can be used to treat and prevent acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in COVID-19 patients.
ARDS is one of the most serious complications of COVID-19 and leads to the need for mechanical ventilation or other means of life support, often leading to long-term hospitalization or death.
Gimsilumab is an investigational fully human monoclonal antibody that targets the main causes of respiratory failure in COVID-19 patients. This drug has been developed by a world-class team of experts as assembled by Roivant. Their expertise spans immunobiology, clinical development, and COVID-19 disease management.
The BREATHE study is currently being run by Kinevant. This is a clinical trial that is enrolling patients who have had a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, alongside clinical evidence of ARDS or acute lung injury. The study is randomized on a 1:1 basis. Half the patients will receive gimsilumab and the other half will receive a placebo. The trial is intended to study the incidence of mortality by day 43.
The Roivant Way
These impressive pipeline developments leave us with no doubt that Roivant is at the forefront of drug development internationally. They are developing transformative medicines at an impressive rate, by harnessing the latest technologies and supporting talented people to deliver them.
The approach used to achieve this is by the development of ‘Vants’, which are a range of subsidiary biopharmaceutical and health technology companies.
These include Immunovant, a company focused on finding innovative treatments for patients with autoimmune diseases. This means that the body is unable to tell the difference between its own healthy tissues and harmful pathogens.
Immunovant currently has treatments in pre-clinical trials for thyroid eye disease and a form of anemia that affects patients with autoimmune disease.
We have already mentioned Dermavant, a company focused on dermatology drug development. This is a growing market, with up to 26 million people in the United States being affected by atopic dermatitis. There are also unmet needs in other large markets, including acne and vitiligo.
Healthcare Data Management
The Datavant subsidiary is focused on helping healthcare institutions to share health data to deliver value to patients. Great analytics requires data to be connected and easy to share across different providers and research companies and this is the vision of the Datavant team.
Improved data management can reduce costs and bring urgently needed medicines to market more quickly. All of these things combine to improve the quality of care provided to patients all over the world.
Gene Therapies for Rare Diseases
Aruvant is focused on helping patients who suffer from rare diseases, with their current focus being on sickle cell disease. Potentially curative gene therapies are in the pipeline and these exciting developments could transform the lives of millions of patients across the globe.
Combining research, development, manufacturing, and commercialization skills, the Aruvant team is at the forefront of gene therapy research.
The Future is Bright for Roivant
it’s impossible to read the huge range of developments underway at Roivant and not be impressed. With a new leadership team on board and a refreshed focus, we can expect to see great things in the future from this company.
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