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Meet the new CEO tasked with taking SA drug developer's first human product to market
July 11, 2017


Rapamycin Holdings, Inc. has tapped Dan Hargrove as its new CEO. SABJ FILE PHOTO

W. Scott Bailey
Reporter/Project Coordinator
San Antonio Business Journal


Rapamycin Holdings' new leader will oversee a major fundraising round needed to position the company for commercial success.
Rapamycin Holdings Inc., a privately held drug development company with deep San Antonio roots, has a new leader behind the wheel as it shifts gears in a bid to bolster its opportunities for commercialization.


The Alamo City company has hired Dan Hargrove as CEO, a veteran health care entrepreneur and lawyer who will oversee a multimillion-dollar fundraising round needed to support Rapamycin's first human Phase I clinical trial for its lead compound, eRapa. The success of those two initiatives will have a significant bearing on Rapamycin's ability to move closer to market with its first human product.

Randy Goldsmith, who founded Rapamycin, has previously led the company as CEO. The insertion of Hargrove into that role is one of several tactical maneuvers the company is making in an attempt to convert years of research into commercially viable products that could improve the treatment of cancer.

“Rapamycin Holdings is at an inflection point,” Hargrove told me. “We just closed a $2 million convertible note. That’s positioned the company to get to the next phase.”

That next phase is a Series B fundraising round that Rapamycin plans to launch soon. Hargrove said the goal is to raise $3.5 million before the end of the year.

“That would be a huge milestone,” Hargrove said. “Once we have those resources, we can start the prostate cancer trial.”

Goldsmith said he and his board understood from the start that his job would be to generate the vision, recruit talent, secure market validation and move the company toward the clinical stage.
"My job is complete," he said. "Now, it is time for a CEO with clinical experience. Dan's credentials speak for themselves."

Hargrove's familiarity with other key stakeholders could further boost Rapamycin's commercialization efforts. One of those familiar faces is Dr. George Peoples, a globally recognized surgical oncologist who is developing the human clinical trial for Rapamycin. Peoples and Hargrove co-founded Cancer Insight LLC, a San Antonio-based research and development organization that is conducting multiple Phase I and II clinical trials.

Another familiar ally is Dr. Ian Thompson, who previously directed what was UT Health San Antonio’s Cancer Therapy & Research Center before becoming president of Christus Santa Rosa Hospital-Medical Center. Thompson will recruit patients and run the Rapamycin clinical trial.

“With those two together, it’s a dream team for the city,” Hargrove said. “They are world-class scientists.”

Goldsmith said the addition of Hargrove — who was chief development officer for Cancer Insight and a director for the Cancer Vaccine Development Program — will strengthen Rapamycin's support base.
"This gives our investors the message we are making the right moves with the right people to maintain momentum and achieve our next set of clinical milestones," he said. "We are in a good place."
Hargrove acknowledges that none of this would have happened without Goldsmith’s vision.

“He took great risks and got the company to this point,” Hargrove said. “Now, we’re taking a very big step toward getting the product approved and ultimately into the commercial market. For San Antonio, that would be a huge success. It would put San Antonio on the map.”

https://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/news/2017/07/11/meet-the-new-ceo-tasked-with-taking-sa-drug.html

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