Meet Jonathan Rigby, CEO of Revolo Biotherapeutics Group
BioSpace recently spoke with Jonathan Rigby, CEO of the group Revolo Biotherapeutics, a biotherapeutic company that works to revolutionize the treatment of autoimmune and allergic diseases by achieving superior long-term disease remission through resetting the immune system.
Q: What is your role at Revolo?
A: I am the Group CEO of our revolutionary company Revolo Biotherapeutics, which includes Revolo Biotherapeutics Inc. in the United States and Revolo Biotherapeutics Limited in the United Kingdom. It’s my job to take care of both and I love it.
Q: What are you working on at Revolo?
A: We are working on two therapies that reset the immune system with the goal of superior long-term remission from autoimmune and allergic diseases with less frequent doses and without chronic suppression of the immune system. We have two drugs in development, “1104 and“ 1805 ”. “1104 is a peptide and” 1805 is a protein, both with immune reset properties.
We have demonstrated that these drugs have a short pharmacokinetic lifespan, but have pharmacodynamic effects that last for weeks or even months. A few hours after receiving an injection, the medicine wore off. During this time, we reset the immune system from a pro-inflammatory state to a regulated homeostatic state. We basically reset it.
Drugs like biologics work after inflammation, and there’s an inflammatory cascade, often referred to as a cytokine storm, that’s when your immune system goes haywire and can cause damage. Current drugs attempt to fight inflammation downstream of this release of cytokines, as we target the process early on and reset the immune system. In a phase II trial of ‘1805 in rheumatoid arthritis, some patients went into remission of the disease, starting from a single dose, which was observed during the 3 months of the study. In addition, these were patients with rheumatoid arthritis who had failed on other biologics and other therapeutic agents. We gave them an injection and we had patients in remission.
Q: What is the mechanism of this effect?
A: Right at the start of an inflammatory cascade you have dendritic cells and they communicate with T cells. If there is an allergen, in the case of allergic disease, or an autoantigen, in the case of an autoimmune disease, the dendritic cell instructs these T lymphocytes to transform into certain types of T lymphocytes, for example effector T lymphocytes. And these effector T cells cause this inflammatory cascade. What both ‘1104 and’ 1805 do is interfere with the communication between the dendritic cell and the T cell, so that the T cells become helper T cells instead, which does not cause this inflammatory cascade. and resets the immune system.
Q: How did you come to Revolo?
A: I have been in this industry for over 30 years. During this time, I told my colleagues, let’s not forget the patients and their suffering and do something about it. I saw Revolo could do that and that’s why I’m here.
Many people focus primarily on patients, but the heart of a good business is trying to help them. I started my career working for large pharmaceutical companies and over time I have shifted to smaller ones and those focused on rare diseases, where there are fewer treatments available.
I co-founded a company in 2006 called Zogenix, which is now a rare disease company, and another in 2012, SteadyMed, which worked on a rare condition called pulmonary arterial hypertension, another potentially fatal condition. SteadyMed was acquired in 2018. And then a little over a year ago I was looking for something new to do and found out that Revolo Biotherapeutics, formerly called Immune Regulation, was looking for a CEO. I looked at the data and it got me really excited. I became the first employee in the United States, R&D remains in the United Kingdom, and since then have led the close of a $ 53.4 million Series B funding and increased our presence in the United States. United with the hiring of expert executives who are passionate about and motivated by our mission.
We anticipate the launch of four Phase II clinical trials in the United States and Europe in 2021 for rheumatoid arthritis, non-infectious uveitis, eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) and allergic diseases. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been a very successful year for Revolo and we are delighted with the new successes to come with our breakthrough drugs.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: I love it. People say: “We have to think outside the box”. I say, “No, no, no. You have to think outside the box and make things happen.” I love working with a team that works with passion. If you’re not passionate about what you do, you should probably go and work somewhere else. You are passionate about the disease. You have the passion to improve it. You enjoy working with the people you work with. And the Zoom boom last year, it’s fascinating, I managed to build a team, and we all know each other or someone knows someone. This is how we have developed the team organically. We all get along very well. We are all singularly focused on the same mission. We’re all in the same boat, rowing in the same direction, at the same pace. I really like it. I get a lot of satisfaction.
I love talking to new people, new investors. We are just beginning a new investor outreach, seeking additional sources of capital to help us keep moving forward to advance our breakthrough therapies that have the potential to fundamentally reshape the treatment landscape for autoimmune and allergic diseases and improve patients.