San Diego headquartered biotech company Fate Therapeutics has appointed William H. Rastetter as chairman and interim CEO. Rastetter is also a partner in venture capital firm Venrock. Fate Therapeutics has secured venture backing from OVP Venture Partners, Astellas Venture Management, Genzyme Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, Polaris Venture Partners and Venrock.
Fate Therapeutics, Inc. announced today that it has appointed William H. Rastetter Ph.D. as Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Rastetter served as Chief Executive Officer of IDEC Pharmaceuticals from December 1986 through November 2003, and as Chairman from May 1996 to November 2003. Upon the merger of IDEC Pharmaceuticals and Biogen in November 2003, Dr. Rastetter served as Executive Chairman of Biogen Idec until the end of 2005.
“Fate’s lead therapeutic, ProHema, has already demonstrated potential benefit to patients that are stricken with life-threatening hematologic malignancies and are in need of hematopoietic reconstitution. I am excited to shepherd ProHema’s further clinical development and its access to patients,” said Dr. Rastetter. “I am also impressed with Fate’s approach to identifying therapeutic intervention points in adult stem cell biology, which has translated into a promising pipeline of product candidates. I look forward to collaborating with the Fate team and board of directors to continue to drive forward in the development of innovative regenerative medicines.”
Fate Therapeutics announced yesterday promising clinical results from a Phase 1b trial of ProHema as part of double-umbilical cord blood (UCB) transplants in adult patients with hematologic malignancies who have undergone reduced-intensity conditioning therapy. The data were presented at the 53rd annual American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting. Of the twelve subjects that received ProHema, the median time to neutrophil recovery (> 500 cells/uL) was 17.5 days, which compares favorably to historical norms for patients undergoing double-UCB. In addition, ProHema provided the dominant source of hematopoiesis in ten of the twelve subjects, suggesting that treatment with ProHema may confer preferential engraftment.
“Given Dr. Rastetter’s industry experience in developing and commercializing highly innovative products, such as Rituxan®, we feel privileged that he will join our efforts in creating a world-leading therapeutics enterprise from our foundational science in adult stem cell biology,” said John Mendlein, Ph.D., founder and Vice Chairman of Fate Therapeutics. “Dr. Rastetter joins us at a transformational time as our innovative ProHema product advances closer to patient and commercialization reality. His proven leadership in translating new therapeutic modalities into successful products enhances our team and our vision to deliver life-changing therapeutics to patients.”
Dr. Rastetter also serves as the Chairman of Illumina, Inc., of Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc., and of Receptos, Inc., and is a partner in the venture capital firm Venrock. Dr. Mendlein, in addition to his role as founder and Vice Chairman of Fate Therapeutics, is currently the Executive Chairman and CEO of aTyr Pharma.
ProHema is a first-in-class therapeutic consisting of pharmacologically-enhanced hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), where pharmacologic modulation imparts a greater than 20-fold up-regulation of key biological factors for enhanced HSC homing and proliferation. Fate Therapeutics has completed a Phase 1b clinical study for ProHema in hematologic malignancy patients undergoing double-umbilical cord HSC transplant, and is exploring the therapeutic benefits of ProHema in other settings of HSC transplantation. The Company has submitted to the FDA a clinical protocol to evaluate ProHema in a single-cord blood allogeneic transplant setting, and intends to begin enrolling patients into that study within the next three months.
About Fate Therapeutics, Inc.
Fate Therapeutics is an innovative biotechnology company developing novel stem cell modulators (SCMs), biologic or small molecule compounds that guide cell fate, to treat patients with very few therapeutic options. Fate Therapeutics’ lead clinical candidate, ProHema, consists of pharmacologically-enhanced hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) designed to improve HSC support during the normal course of a stem cell transplant for the treatment of patients with hematologic malignancies. The Company is also advancing a robust pipeline of human recombinant proteins, each with novel mechanisms of action, for skeletal muscle, beta-islet cell, and post-ischemic tissue regeneration. Fate Therapeutics also applies its award-winning, proprietary, induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology to offer a highly efficient platform to recapitulate human physiology for commercial scale drug discovery and therapeutic use. Fate Therapeutics is headquartered in San Diego, CA, with a subsidiary in Ottawa, Canada.