San Diego-based biotech startup Solstice Biologics, which is backed by venBio and Aeris Capital, has hired Dr. Lou Tartaglia as president and CEO. Tartaglia has also been added to the firm’s board of directors. Also, the firm has named John Borgeson as chief financial officer. Previously, Tartaglia worked at Third Rock Ventures where he was a partner while Borgeson was vice president of finance for Pfizer‘s biotherapeutic and bioinnovation center.
SAN DIEGO, June 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Solstice Biologics LLC, a company focused on the targeting and delivery of nucleic acid therapeutics, today announced that Dr. Lou Tartaglia joined as President and Chief Executive Officer, and member of the Board of Directors. In addition, John Borgeson joined as Chief Financial Officer. The expansion of the leadership team follows the achievement of internal technology milestones that further enable RNA molecules to cross membranes of multiple cell types, a perplexing problem that has been a bottleneck in delivering on the therapeutic potential of RNA interference (RNAi) and microRNA outside of the liver. Solstice, founded in 2012, is funded by venBio and Aeris Capital AG.
“The technology continues to advance and gives us increased confidence in its ability to overcome the historical barriers of realizing the promise of RNAi therapeutics,” said Corey Goodman, Ph.D., Executive Chairman of Solstice Biologics and a Managing Director of venBio. “Lou brings a wealth of scientific, therapeutic and business development acumen to Solstice from his many successful years shepherding Third Rock portfolio companies. We are delighted that Lou is joining us at this important juncture.”
Dr. Tartaglia has over 20 years of scientific experience and therapeutic product project leadership. Prior to joining Solstice, Dr. Tartaglia was a Partner at Third Rock Ventures where he played an integral role in the formation of many Third Rock portfolio companies and assumed active leadership roles in many portfolio companies, including as interim CEO or CSO post launch. Prior to joining Third Rock Ventures, Dr. Tartaglia was SVP and a General Manager of GeneLogic, and before that, he was Vice President of New Ventures at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and also Vice President of Metabolic Diseases. Before joining Millennium, he worked at Genentech on the tumor necrosis factor receptors. He holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.
“At Solstice, we have developed our core technology to the point where we can now target RNAi molecules to a variety of different cell types beyond liver,” said Curt Bradshaw, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Solstice. “This is the perfect time for us to bring in a science-based CEO, and given his experience, Lou is the perfect person to help us chart our strategic path and take us to new levels of corporate and business development.”
Solstice acquired an exclusive license to University of California, San Diego intellectual property from Dr. Steve Dowdy’s laboratory. Since its inception, Solstice has further refined the technology and developed additional proprietary IP covering the technology.
“After seven years in venture capital I have been exposed to hundreds of business plans, many in the RNAi space,” said Lou Tartaglia, Ph.D., President and CEO of Solstice Biologics. “The Solstice program is the first new idea in next-gen RNAi technology that felt truly breakthrough to me, and I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.”
John Borgeson joins as Chief Financial Officer after serving as a financial advisor to Solstice since its inception. Mr. Borgeson spent 20 years at Pfizer where he was a member of Pfizer’s Financial Leadership Team and held several financial positions of increasing responsibility. John’s most recent role at Pfizer was Vice President, Finance for Pfizer’s Biotherapeutic and Bioinnovation Center where he had broad strategic, financial and operational responsibility over building Pfizer’s biotechnology franchise. Since leaving Pfizer in 2010, Mr. Borgeson has helped oversee finance for a variety of private companies, including venBio portfolio companies Labrys Biologics (recently acquired by Teva Pharmaceuticals) and Heart Metabolics Limited. John has also helped oversee finance at venBio.
“To hit the ground running, we need an experienced head of finance and operations, and John is the perfect person to fill that key role,” added Dr. Tartaglia. “I am very pleased to have John join our team.”
About Solstice Biologics
Solstice Biologics is a private company focused on solving the problem of targeting and delivery of nucleic acid therapeutics. The company is developing small, cell-permeable RNAi pro-drugs that can enter many different cell types and deliver on the promise of RNAi therapeutics. In January 2013, Solstice raised $18 million in a Series A financing backed by venBio and Aeris Capital AG.