* Nermeen Varawalla, MD, PhD, MBA appointed Chief Medical Officer, replacing Gilles Della Corte, MD
* Jeremy Meinen promoted to Chief Accounting Officer
* Marco Marotta promoted to Chief Business Officer
Geneva, Switzerland – RELIEF THERAPEUTICS Holding SA (SIX: RLF, OTCQB: RLFTF, RLFTY) (“Relief”), a biopharmaceutical company seeking to provide patients therapeutic relief from serious diseases with high unmet need, announced today a series of executive changes.
Nermeen Varawalla, MD, PhD, MBA has been appointed to the position of Chief Medical Officer, reporting to Raghuram (Ram) Selvaraju, PhD, MBA, Chairman of Relief. Dr. Varawalla will replace Gilles Della Corte, MD, who is leaving to pursue other opportunities. Nermeen brings to Relief deep expertise in clinical trials and medical affairs, having successfully led numerous international teams and clinical development programs for the global adoption of new pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
“Nermeen’s more than 30 years of international experience in the pharmaceutical sector, including her proven clinical development and regulatory expertise and experience within the rare disease space, is a major asset which we will immediately leverage as we seek to expand our clinical pipeline through our recently announced strategic collaboration with InveniAI, and as we progress our current proprietary and partnered product development programs,” stated Dr. Selvaraju. “Her contributions will be invaluable across the board including, of course, as it relates to the potential of RLF-100™ (for, among other respiratory issues, complications of COVID-19), the prospective launch of ACER-001 to treat Urea Cycle Disorders in 2022, and our other pipeline programs.”
Dr. Varawalla will join Relief from Atlantic Healthcare plc, a specialist pharmaceutical company with late-stage clinical assets for inflammatory bowel disease and gastrointestinal dysmotility in rare diseases, where she served as Chief Medical Officer and Head of Clinical Development. Before that, Dr. Varawalla was Managing Director of Clinstrat Ltd, a life science and healthcare business consultancy, where, among other projects, she worked with private equity firms to develop the investment thesis and business plan for the buy-out of BTG plc’s specialty pharmaceutical business unit, valued at approximately $1 billion. Before that, Dr. Varawalla was Senior Vice President and Head of Clinical Development at BTG International plc, where she led a global team responsible for clinical development of the company’s product portfolio across both pharmaceutical and medical device business units before it was acquired by Boston Scientific for $4.4 billion in 2019.
Earlier, Dr. Varawalla was Chief Medical Officer at Accord Healthcare UK, an international division of Intas Pharmaceuticals and Executive Vice President of Lambda Therapeutic Research, Intas’ full-service contract research organization. She began her career as a physician in obstetrics and gynecology at KEM Group of University Hospitals, Mumbai before continuing her specialist training at NHS University Hospitals in the United Kingdom. She is the current President of the INSEAD UK Alumni Association and is presently Chair, Medical Advisory Group, Atorvia Health Technologies and a Member of the International Advisory Council of the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development.
Dr. Varawalla received both her MBBS, Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, and MD degree from the University of Mumbai; her PhD from the University of Oxford where she was a Rhodes Research Fellow and her MBA from INSEAD.
“I am honored and delighted to accept the role of Chief Medical Officer with Relief,” said Dr. Varawalla. “I look forward to working with the company’s talented management team to develop and commercialize new medicines that will address important unmet medical needs for patients around the world.”
Relief also announced today that Jeremy Meinen, who currently serves as Relief’s Vice President of Finance and Administration, will also assume the role of Chief Accounting Officer. In that new role, he will continue to report to Jack Weinstein, Relief’s Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer.
Marco Marotta, who became part of Relief upon Relief’s acquisition of APR Applied Pharma Research SA (APR), has been promoted to Chief Business Officer, responsible for business development activities across the entire company, including strategic partnering, the management of the InveniAI collaboration and Relief’s various in-licensing and out-licensing initiatives. He will continue to report to Paolo Galfetti, President of Relief Europe. Mr. Marotta has deep expertise in operations, sales and business development in the pharmaceutical industry. During his tenure with APR, he has increased the organization’s presence in Asia and South America, executing multiple, key licensing and co-development deals. Mr. Marotta holds a Master of Science in Engineering from the University of Naples and an Executive MBA from Bocconi University.
Dr. Selvaraju added, “Today’s announced management appointments and changes reflect the expansion of Relief’s pipeline and expected future opportunities and will more strongly position the company for continued growth going forward. As I congratulate Nermeen, Jeremy and Marco on their new roles, I would like to extend our collective gratitude to Gilles for his significant contributions during what has been a truly transformative year for Relief and wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”
Relief focuses primarily on clinical-stage programs based on molecules with a history of clinical testing and use in human patients or a strong scientific rationale. Relief’s drug candidate, RLF-100™ (aviptadil), a synthetic form of Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP), is in late-stage clinical testing in the U.S. for the treatment of respiratory deficiency due to COVID-19. As part of its pipeline diversification strategy, in March 2021, Relief entered into a Collaboration and License Agreement with Acer Therapeutics for the worldwide development and commercialization of ACER-001. ACER-001 is a taste-masked and immediate-release proprietary powder formulation of sodium phenylbutyrate (NaPB) for the treatment of Urea Cycle Disorders and Maple Syrup Urine Disease. In addition, Relief’s recently completed acquisitions of APR Applied Pharma Research SA and AdVita Lifescience GmbH bring to Relief a diverse pipeline of marketed and development-stage programs.
RELIEF THERAPEUTICS Holding SA is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange under the symbol RLF and quoted in the U.S. on OTCQB under the symbols RLFTF and RLFTY. For more information, visit www.relieftherapeutics.com. Follow us on LinkedIn.
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