CINCINNATI, Ohio — AssureRx, which is developing a genetic test for psychiatric medicines, has switched chief executives as it prepares for a broader commercial launch and a round of private equity funding later this year.
New chief executive James S. Burns is the former head of oncology at inflammatoriesÂ drug makerÂ EntreMed. In addition, he helped found two other drug companies:Â MedPointe Pharmaceuticals and Osiris Therapeutics;Â andÂ started two equity funds: MedPointe Capital Partners and Healthcare Ventures LP.Â
He takes over from Mark Byrne, who returns to his consulting business, PriMedicus Development, after working the last three years managing AssureRx through its pre-commercial stage.
“This is a signal to our current and next investors that we’re ready to make the next step,” said Al Lucas, AssureRx’s vice president of sales and marketing.
Byrne said the nextÂ challenge for AssureRx will be to complete a series of additional clinical studies that it can use to convinceÂ payers to reimburse for the drug. The company’s product, GeneSightRx, is supposed to help doctors understand how a patient’s geneticÂ makeup could affectÂ use of psychiatric drugs, leading to aÂ better dosage for the patient. The productÂ was developed using research from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Mayo Clinic.
Burns will prepare the company and product for a commercial launch, which could come at the end of 2009. He’ll also begin to recruit investors and priceÂ the company’s Series A round, set to close early in 2010, Lucas said. The company doesn’t yet know how much money it wants to raise, he said.
AssureRx recently built its own lab where it can conduct tests and generate reports for physicians who useÂ its drugs. In early 2008, the company closed a round of funding. Altogether,Â the company has previouslyÂ raised about $3 millionÂ from Mayo, Queen City Angels, CincyTech Ventures, Blue Chip Venture Co. and Cincinnati Childrenâ€™s Tomorrow Fund, among others, Lucas said.