Retrophin, Inc. (OTCQB: RTRX) today announced that it will acquire privately-held Kyalin Biosciences, Inc., an early-stage company based in San Diego, CA, that is developing therapies targeting the core symptoms of autism and related conditions. Its lead product is an optimized intranasal delivery form of carbetocin, a synthetic analog of the naturally occurring peptide hormone, oxytocin. The deal is scheduled to close by year-end.
As part of the transaction, Srinivas Rao, M.D., Ph.D., Founder and President of Kyalin Biosciences, joins Retrophin effective today as Executive Vice President, Head of Neuroscience with responsibility for central nervous system (CNS) drug development.
"We are pleased to announce the acquisition of Kyalin Biosciences and look forward to leveraging Dr. Rao's extensive work and expertise, particularly in the area of autism, as we seek to bring new treatment options to this catastrophic condition," said Martin Shkreli, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Retrophin. "Kyalin's development of carbetocin for the treatment of autism and related conditions is a seamless fit with our strategy, which was outlined in this morning's announcement of our U.S. licensing agreement with Novartis for intranasal Syntocinon, and our planned clinical trial program for potential use of the drug as a treatment for schizophrenia and autism."
Dr. Rao has more than 13 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, in both R&D and senior management positions. Prior to Kyalin Biosciences, Dr. Rao spent approximately 11 years at Cypress Bioscience, Inc., most recently as Chief Scientific Officer, where he played key roles in both preclinical and clinical drug development. In addition, he played an integral role in business development at Cypress, with responsibility for all aspects of technical diligence, as well as negotiation and financial modeling on a select number of opportunities, including intranasal carbetocin for the treatment of autism. Further, Dr. Rao was responsible for the development, prosecution, and maintenance of Cypress' patent estate and was the inventor on more than 30 patents and patent applications filed at Cypress for a range of indications. He is the parent of two sons with autism.
Dr. Rao earned an M.S. and B.S. in electrical engineering, as well as an M.D. and Ph.D., from Yale University. He completed an internship in Internal Medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital. His Ph.D. research focused on the neuropharmacology of working memory. Dr. Rao has published 17 manuscripts with topics ranging from original, basic science and clinical research to invited, topical reviews. He currently serves as an advisor to the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI).