Healthcare Industry News:  RNAi therapeutic 

Biopharmaceuticals Personnel

 News Release - April 2, 2009

RXi Pharmaceuticals Announces an Addition, Promotions Among Senior Management Team

Ramani Varanasi, MS, MBA Joins RXi as Vice President of Business Development

Stephen DiPalma Becomes Executive Vice President of Business Operations and Chief Financial Officer

Joanne Kamens, Ph.D. Becomes Senior Director of Discovery Research


WORCESTER, Mass.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Nasdaq: RXII ), a biopharmaceutical company pursuing the development and commercialization of proprietary therapeutics based on RNA interference (RNAi), today announced that Ramani Varanasi, MS, MBA has joined the company as Vice President of Business Development. The Company also announced that Stephen DiPalma, MBA has been promoted from Chief Financial Officer to Executive Vice President of Business Operations and Chief Financial Officer and that Joanne Kamens, Ph.D., formerly Director of Discovery Research, has been named Senior Director.

Ms. Varanasi has more than 15 years of experience in structuring, negotiating and executing strategic alliances, licenses and collaborations and in providing business development, management and strategic leadership in the pharmaceutical industry. In this new position she will focus on developing product and technology partnering strategies as well as leading all new and existing business development relationships for RXi.

“Ramani has a distinguished track record in structuring successful biopharmaceutical alliances and she is an industry leader in identifying and completing winning business strategies.” stated Tod Woolf, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of RXi Pharmaceuticals. “Ramani will be a tremendous resource to the management team in identifying the best opportunities for growth through partnerships and we look forward to her leadership in this area.”

Ramani spent 9 years at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, where she served in a variety of management roles in the areas of technology licensing and technology and product business development. She served as Director of Business Development at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and cultivated her business strategy skills, executed several broad technology and product focused deals with global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and grew her network of connections in the pharmaceutical industry. She then joined Momenta Pharmaceuticals as Director, Corporate Development, where she successfully led various business and corporate development activities for the company. Most recently, Ramani served as Head of Business Development at Archemix Corporation where she was responsible for and lead the strategic development and execution of several strategic technology, research collaboration and product alliances, including the partnership between with Merck Serono, a multi-year alliance with a deal value greater than $600M. Ramani holds a B.Sc. and a M.Sc. from McGill University in Microbiology & Immunology and Biochemistry, respectfully, and an MBA from Northeastern University.

On the promotions of Mr. DiPalma and Dr. Kamens, Dr. Woolf commented: “Steve and Joanne have been an integral part of RXi’s progress to date, and these two promotions acknowledge their significant contributions and expanding roles. Since joining RXi, Steve has played a broad operational and managerial role in helping to move the Company forward.”

As EVP of Business Operations/CFO, Mr. DiPalma will formally add operational, development and strategic planning responsibilities to his existing role in leading finance, accounting, human resources, and other administrative functions for RXi. Prior to joining RXi in 2007 he was founder, President and CEO of Catalyst Oncology, Inc., a specialty diagnostic company. Mr. DiPalma earned an MBA from Babson College and holds a B.S. in finance and information systems from the University of Massachusetts.

Dr. Woolf continued, “RXi is increasing its focus on inflammatory diseases and Joanne brings over 15 years of pharmaceutical experience in inflammation and immune disease. With her extensive knowledge she will be instrumental in leading the company towards identifying a lead drug candidate in this important therapeutic area, a pivotal phase in the company’s growth.”

As Senior Director of Discovery Dr. Kamens leads RXi’s research group in evaluating novel rxRNA™ compounds and delivery technologies, and will manage RXi’s inflammatory disease program using an oral administration technology to deliver rxRNA compounds to specific cell types that are involved in inflammatory diseases. Before joining RXi in 2007, Dr. Kamens was a Group Leader in Molecular Biology at Abbott where she led discovery research projects covering both small molecule and antibody approaches to immunological and inflammatory diseases. Dr. Kamens holds B.A. in biology form University of Pennsylvania and Ph.D. in Genetics from Harvard University.

About RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation

RXi Pharmaceuticals is a discovery-stage biopharmaceutical company pursuing the development and potential commercialization of proprietary therapeutics based on RNA interference (RNAi) for the treatment of human diseases. RXi has a comprehensive RNAi platform that includes both RNAi compounds and delivery methods. RXi Pharmaceuticals' rxRNA™ compounds are distinct from the siRNA compounds used by many other companies developing RNAi therapeutics and are very active and potent (10-100pM activity in cell culture) based on the company’s internal research, in addition to being nuclease resistant and readily manufactured. RXi Pharmaceuticals believes it is well positioned to compete successfully in the RNAi-based therapeutics market with its accomplished scientific advisors, including Dr. Craig Mello, recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize for his co-discovery of RNAi; a management team that is experienced in developing RNAi products; and a strong early intellectual property position in RNAi chemistry and delivery. www.rxipharma.com

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements about future expectations, plan and future development of RXi Pharmaceutical Corporation’s products and technologies. These forward-looking statements about future expectations, plans and prospects of the development of RXi Pharmaceutical Corporation’s products and technologies involve significant risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including the risk that the development of our RNAi-based therapeutics may be delayed or may not proceed as planned and we may not be able to complete development of any RNAi-based product, the risk that the FDA approval process may be delayed for any drugs that we develop, risks related to development and commercialization of products by our competitors, risks related to our ability to control the timing and terms of collaborations with third parties and the possibility that other companies or organizations may assert patent rights that prevent us from developing our products. Actual results may differ materially from those RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation contemplated by these forward-looking statements. RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation does not undertake to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect a change in its views or events or circumstances that occur after the date of this release.


Source: RXi Pharmaceuticals

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