RTW Investments-Backed Ji Xing Pharmaceuticals Appoints Joseph Romanelli Chief Executive Officer
Former President of Merck’s Operations in China and 25-year Industry Veteran Brings Significant Biopharmaceutical Expertise and Proven Ability to Drive Growth
Announces Partnership Between Ji Xing and Milestone Pharmaceuticals
Ji Xing Completes Series B Financing Round
SHANGHAI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ji Xing Pharmaceuticals (“Ji Xing” or the “Company”), a biotechnology company focused on bringing innovative medicines to underserved Chinese patients with serious and life-threatening diseases, today announced that Joseph Romanelli has been named Chief Executive Officer and member of the board of directors, effective immediately. Ji Xing is backed by RTW Investments, LP (“RTW”), a leading healthcare-focused entrepreneurial investment firm with a strong track record of creating companies developing life-changing therapies.
“I am thrilled to join a Company so committed to the cause of delivering innovative therapies to underserved Chinese patients,” said Romanelli. “Ji Xing’s differentiated approach, growing drug pipeline, and extremely talented team make this the perfect fit for me, and I look forward to building on the Company’s strong track record of growth to deliver these innovative therapies to our patients.”
Romanelli has more than 25 years of biopharmaceutical and biotechnology experience, nearly all with Merck & Co., Inc. (“Merck” or “MSD”). Most recently, he served as the President of MSD China for more than four years, where he oversaw over 20 product launches, including Keytruda and Gardasil, the latter becoming the largest multinational company (MNC) product in China by revenue. Due to the outstanding product launches and industry leading growth, MSD grew from the 7th to the 2nd largest MNC in China by revenue under his leadership. From an industry and organizational perspective, he was named a “Top Ten Pharma Leader of the Year” in 2019 by the National Healthy China Forum and managed the company’s more than 5,000 employees in the market. He also briefly served as President of U.S. Human Health at Merck overseeing the company’s largest market by revenue. Previously, Romanelli held senior roles, including Vice President of Investor Relations.
“Joe has unmatched expertise in building outstanding teams and delivering exceptional, life-saving drugs to the Chinese market,” said Roderick Wong, Ji Xing’s Chairman and Founder and Managing Partner of RTW. “Joe’s reputation as one of the most influential biopharmaceutical leaders in China, combined with our shared sense of mission and values, make him an excellent fit to oversee Ji Xing. We are thrilled he will be leading the company into the future”
Romanelli will build upon the strong foundation established by Ji Xing’s founding Chief Executive Officer, Peter Fong, PhD, who will remain with RTW in his role as Head of Company Creation and on Ji Xing’s board of directors. Fong led Ji Xing’s formation and ran the Company for its first two years of operations, overseeing its first 45 hires, two drug in-licenses, and first clinical studies.
One of Romanelli’s first responsibilities will be overseeing the development of Ji Xing’s recently announced licensed drug etripamil for the treatment of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (“PSVT”) and other cardiovascular indications in Greater China. Etripamil, licensed from Milestone Pharmaceuticals, is a novel calcium channel blocker designed as a self-administered nasal spray for a rapid response therapy in episodic cardiovascular conditions, which has the potential to shift the current treatment paradigm for the millions of Chinese patients with PSVT from the hospital to home. Etripamil is advancing through Phase 3 clinical trials for PSVT.
Ji Xing also announced the close of its Series B financing from RTW. The new capital is expected to help fund Ji Xing’s commitments to its partners as well as other aspects of the company’s operations.
About RTW Investments
RTW Investments, LP ("RTW") is a New York-based, global, full life-cycle investment firm that focuses on identifying transformational and disruptive innovations across the biopharmaceutical and medical technologies sectors. As a leading partner of industry and academia, RTW combines deep scientific expertise with a solution-oriented investment approach to support emerging medical therapies and the companies and/or academics developing them.
For further information about RTW, please visit www.RTWfunds.com.
About Ji Xing Pharmaceuticals
Backed by RTW Investments, LP, Ji Xing is a privately held, leading biotechnology company headquartered in Shanghai committed to bringing innovative science and medicines to underserved Chinese patients with serious and life-threatening diseases.
Nathaniel Garnick/Genevieve Pirrong/Sam Cohen
Gasthalter & Co.