Raptor Pharmaceuticals names new CEO

[caption id="attachment_95043" align="alignright" width="200"] Julie Anne Smith[/caption]

NOVATO -- Raptor Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:RPTP), maker of treatments for rare genetic diseases, promoted its chief operating officer to succeed the co-founder who had been top executive for going on nine years.

This planned transition follows news that Raptor inked a deal to receive $70 million in a private placement of stock.

Julie Anne Smith, executive vice president of strategy and chief operating officer, was promoted, effective immediately. She will succeed CEO Christopher Starr, Ph.D., and join the board of directors on Jan. 1. He plans to continue working closely with her during the transition and will remain on the board and consult on Raptor development projects.

"Since the beginning, our vision at Raptor has been to use innovative science to develop highly effective therapeutics to treat patients with rare, debilitating diseases," Dr. Starr said in a statement. "With last year's U.S. and EU Procysbi approvals, its successful initial launch, promising data in both Huntington's and NASH and a strong balance sheet, I am confident in Raptor's long-term outlook. Thus it is a great time to focus my energy on the next generation of therapeutic compounds at Raptor and to pursue other interests."

Ms. Smith is a "proven leader," instrumental in the launch and commercialization of Procysbi, Raptor's first product, according to Llew Keltner, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the board.

[caption id="attachment_94932" align="alignright" width="117"] Christopher Starr[/caption]

"She has a wealth of experience in commercializing products for rare disease and has had the opportunity to work alongside Chris to share in the vision and future direction of the company," Dr. Keltner said. "The board of Raptor wholeheartedly supports her nomination and has confidence in her ability to lead Raptor to achieve its full potential."

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