Akcea Therapeutics, Inc., an affiliate of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., focused on developing and commercializing drugs to treat patients with serious cardiometabolic diseases caused by lipid disorders, has announced the establishment of its Ottawa-based Canadian subsidiary and the appointment of Jared Rhines as general manager for Akcea Therapeutics Canada Inc. The step reflects Akcea’s commitment to Canadian patients, their caregivers and the Canadian medical community, according to the company.
Rhines plans to build and lead Akcea Therapeutics Canada, setting the stage for the potential commercial introduction in 2018 of the organization’s most advanced drug, volanesorsen, for the treatment of familial chylomicronemia syndrome (FCS). In addition, Akcea Therapeutics Canada has joined Innovative Medicines Canada, the association that represents the innovative pharmaceutical industry in Canada. Rhines has led the successful launch of three orphan drug products in Canada.
In addition, his prior roles have included extensive international experience in drug and device development, regulatory submissions and approvals, and commercialization in Canada, Asia, Latin America, the United States, and Europe. Based in Ottawa, he most recently served as group vice president and general manager, Canada for Horizon Pharma. He is a past member of the board of directors of Innovative Medicines Canada and its Health Research Foundation. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Business Administration from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
“We are delighted to formally establish our presence in Canada as part of the expansion of Akcea’s global operations. I am also pleased to have Jared join us in Canada to lead our new subsidiary,” said Paula Soteropoulos, president and chief executive officer of Akcea. “Today is a milestone for Akcea and our connections to this country, which run very deep. Canada can be justifiably proud of its world-renowned scientists in lipidology who have played a critical role in the clinical trials for volanesorsen.
“The opportunity for volanesorsen in FCS began with a Canadian study, and the clinical program has included six trial sites in Canada,” she continued. “In fact, many of the patients enrolled in the landmark, multi-national, Phase 3 APPROACH study in FCS were from Canada. Additionally, Jared brings vital knowledge of Canada’s unique healthcare system and regulatory environment and enjoys strong professional relationships that will be invaluable in collaborating with our many stakeholders.”
“Being able to help patients with a rare disease is extremely humbling and personally motivating,” Rhines said. “Building awareness of FCS and volanesorsen in Canada, listening and collaborating with our stakeholders across the country and providing local market intelligence and responsiveness is how we will bring value to patients, caregivers, and the medical community. I am confident and excited about helping shape Akcea Canada and the contributions we will be able to make in Canada and globally. As a member of Innovative Medicines Canada, Akcea will now be present and vocal in representing the particular challenges of rare diseases within the association that speaks for Canada’s research-based pharmaceutical companies.”