Industry veteran becomes CEO of Transine Therapeutics

Transine Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing a novel class of therapeutic RNAs based on its pioneering SINEUP platform technology, has appointed Jan Thirkettle, Ph.D. as CEO. Management says he joins Transine’s team at a time of rapid growth following the company’s recent successful £9.1 million extended Seed financing, which was co-led by Takeda Ventures Inc. and the Dementia Discovery Fund.

“Transine has a world-class academic foundation based on 10 plus years of innovation from the Labs of Professors Stefano Gustincich and Piero Carninci who identified a new functional and naturally occurring class of long non-coding RNAs. Combined with an outstanding team the company has the opportunity to build an entire new class of therapeutic RNAs that can exquisitely modulate protein expression by interacting with the natural cellular translation machinery,” Dr. Thirkettle says. “This novel approach has tremendous potential, in particular as it overcomes the limitations of current gene therapy and RNA technology approaches. I am delighted that the board has asked me to lead Transine as we work to develop our pioneering SINEUP platform technology.” 

According to the company, Dr. Thirkettle has close to 25 years’ experience of building cross-functional teams to drive delivery of innovative technologies. He has built platforms and played a leadership role in the commercialization of multiple therapeutics across small molecule, biopharmaceutical, and gene therapy modalities.

Dr. Thirkettle joins Transine from Freeline Therapeutics Holdings where he was the start-up CEO and more recently chief development officer. There he led the early establishment of the company’s pipeline, overseeing the deployment of a novel AAV manufacturing platform and playing a core role in delivering Series B and C raises and a successful IPO in 2021.  

“Jan is a highly experienced leader with a proven track record of establishing novel platforms and developing new therapeutics, making him a perfect fit for Transine,” says Robbie Woodman, chairman of Transine’s board of directors. “His expertise in guiding biotechnology ventures across all stages of development and his deep scientific knowledge will be crucial in the development of Transine’s pipeline of novel mRNA-targeted therapeutics, initially focused on central nervous system and ophthalmology indications. We are thrilled to have him join.”

Prior to Freeline Therapeutics he spent 18 years at GSK in multiple leadership roles spanning from discovery to manufacturing, including overseeing the establishment of GSK’s Cell & Gene Therapy platform unit and playing a pivotal role in the commercialization of Strimvelis, the first ex-vivo gene therapy to receive an EU Marketing Authorization Application. He holds an MA in chemistry and a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from Oxford University.