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NextRNA Therapeutics names Dominique Verhelle as CEO and expands leadership team

August 11 2022

BOSTON, Aug. 11, 2022 (BUSINESS WIRE) – NextRNA Therapeutics, a biotechnology company unlocking the potential of non-coding RNAs to develop novel and transformative therapeutics, announces the appointment of Dominique Verhelle, PhD, MBA as the Chief Executive Officer. Dominique is a co-founder of NextRNA who has led the scientific and corporate strategy since its launch over the past year and a half.

“Dominique is an exceptional leader who brings over 20 years of R&D, company building, and management experiences. She has rapidly built NextRNA’s unique platform and capabilities to identify and develop small molecule drugs to disrupt non-coding RNA-protein interactions. Early    achievements  at the company have enabled Dominique to secure $56M in financing. Her leadership will be central in our mission to translate pioneering science into first-in-class small molecules for this new emerging field.” said Bobby W. Sandage, Jr. PhD, Lead Director of NextRNA Therapeutics and Managing Director at the Paula and Rodger Riney Foundation and Lightchain Capital, LLC who co-led the company’s Series A.

Prior to NextRNA, Dominique was formerly the Head of Academic Innovation, Center for External Innovation at Takeda Pharmaceutical Company (NYSE: TAK). She played a significant role accelerating innovation by building partnerships with academic investigators around the world. Dominique was previously a Principal at Third Rock Ventures, where she played an instrumental role in launching Fulcrum Therapeutics (Nasdaq: FULC) and Cedilla Therapeutics. She was a Director Epigenetics at Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) in the Oncology Research Unit. Before that, she held several positions at Celgene where she contributed to the understanding of the mechanism of action of IMiDs and established the internal epigenetic group.

“I am honored to take on the role of CEO at NextRNA,” said Dominique. “I am excited about the tremendous progress we are making on our two lead programs and our proprietary target and drug discovery engine. I look forward to expanding our team and capabilities as we build and advance our pipeline of non-coding RNA-directed medicines.”

NextRNA is also excited to announce the appointment of Jason Katz as VP, Head of Drug Discovery, who joins NextRNA after 5 years as Sr Director of Medicinal Chemistry at IFM Therapeutics and 13 years of drug discovery experience at Merck & Co. At IFM Therapeutics, Jason worked on several programs targeting the innate immune system, including the team that developed a suite of NLRP3 antagonists that were acquired by Novartis and advanced into Phase 2 clinical trials. At Merck, Jason and his teams discovered and advanced into clinical development molecules addressing challenging oncology and immuno-oncology targets.


About NextRNA Therapeutics

NextRNA is a biotechnology company unlocking the potential of non-coding RNAs to develop transformative medicines for multiple diseases. The company is leveraging its proprietary technology platform to identify non-coding RNAs and their interacting proteins responsible for disease, and to develop selective small molecules to disrupt these interactions.

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