Monday, July 28, 2014

Dear Chris Garabedian,

I am writing to you today to introduce myself as a potential candidate for the CSO position at Sarepta.  Based on media reports last week (see here for the Wall Street Journal version), it seems that this position has become vacant after you had a little spat with Art Krieg.  If the anonymous sources close to Sarepta cited so abundantly in those reports were to be believed, at least some of the disagreement related to Art’s failure to push and expand the morpholino-based product pipeline the way you would have liked.  Art maybe be an icon in the oligo industry, but I believe that I am the right man for you as I know where the gold mine for morpholino oligonucleotides lies.

First, however, a few words about myself.  You may have read or at least heard about my critical writings of your company’s pursuit of getting eteplirsen, your exon-skipping drug candidate for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, on the market.  In case that there was some truth to speculations that some of the disagreement related to the accelerated approval strategy for eteplirsen, rest assured that I will ignore all my concerns about the conduct of the rather small trial and biochemical assays used, and tow the party line anyway.  Even better, I would be prepared to cede any involvement in the experimental conduct and interpretation of data generated in preparation of filing for accelerated approval although these activities would naturally call for my involvement as the CSO of the company.

Coming back to my prior criticisms of the company….to be frank it was Janet Yellen and the adverse impact her comments have had on biotech stocks that now forces me to apply for employment.  Nothing personal, no hard feelings, we will all be able to get along and laugh about it later.  I am running out of options as I have burned down bridges with virtually all other RNA Therapeutics companies in the field as I have freely criticized them before when I still had money.  As you know from reading the message boards carefully, I have been desperately applying for jobs there only to be rejected and attack them even more venomously.  Given my track record and financial situation, regardless of the fates of both Krieg and Linsley before that, please forgive my youthful follies and I fully expect you to be a difficult and demanding boss and I will put up with it.

I know that you have long made up your mind to not hire me and the only reason for humoring me and reading on is the thing about the gold mine.  I genuinely believe there is one and- you are right- it’s got to do with splice modulation and by extension the modulation of RNA processing by masking sites for RNA binding proteins.  In particular, I find morpholinos highly attractive for splice modulation in pharmacologically contained compartments such as the CNS where the risk- and please excuse my language here- that the expensive oligo is pissed out immediately is limited.  There is a reason why morpholino has become such a popular tool to study developmental biology in zebrafish embryos and the like: they cannot pee!!!  So with the ability of maintaining high tissue concentrations and the amazingly safe morpholino chemistry, you may be able to generate invaluable medicines for awful diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy (maybe even better/safer than what ISIS is generating currently) and Huntington’s disease.

Kind regards,



Anonymous said...

Dirk, The only reason I ever would hire a non-team player like you would be so I can get the satisfaction of firing you and in having my personal security team of Hanz and Franz escort you out of the building.


Anonymous said...

C.G., aren't you even a little intrigued by the gold mine. You could at least talk to the guy. Don't you owe it to your investors?

Anonymous said...

Researchers Fret as Social Media Lift Veil on Drug Trials Online Chatter Could Unravel Carefully Built Construct of 'Blind' Clinical Trials

On Facebook groups, online forums and blogs, some patients are effectively jeopardizing the blind. In trials for hepatitis C, multiple sclerosis and ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), patients have been sharing details of their reactions and trying to figure out whether they are getting the active drug.

Patients, for their part, often say they have the right to talk about their experiences. In life-threatening diseases such as ALS, patients "want, need and deserve to know" how others are doing, says April Moundzouris, a Chattanooga, Tenn., woman whose "April's ALS Blog" chronicles her experience with an experimental stem-cell treatment. The early-stage research by Neuralstem Inc. CUR -9.20% isn't blinded.

This is just one of the ways the Internet and social media bear on the drug-discovery process. Richard Bedlack, who runs the ALS clinic at Duke University, is involved in a project that asks patients to tweet tips about alternative and off-label treatments that he and other doctors assess to see if they might make promising research candidates.

By Dirk Haussecker. All rights reserved.

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