Rafael Holdings realigns leadership team to support earlier-stage pipeline focus

Newark-based Rafael Holdings Inc. announced Monday several changes to its leadership team, which includes the departure of several executives as the pharmaceutical holding company shifts its focus to its early-stage pipeline following the failure of its lead product candidate.

Ameet Mallik will transition his CEO responsibilities to Chairman Howard Jonas, as of Feb. 1, but will remain highly engaged as a member of the board of directors of Rafael Holdings.

Patrick Fabbio will assume the position of president, in addition to continuing as chief financial officer, with the responsibility to lead the operations and finances of the business.
Dr. Mimi Huizinga will continue as chief medical officer and assume additional responsibilities as the head of research & development. She will lead the company’s research, development and medical strategy and operations. To oversee the management transition and the organization’s evolution, the board has established a Transition Committee, which Mallik will chair.

“I joined Rafael Holdings to recruit a top-tier leadership team to evolve the company into a fully integrated commercial organization. While the recent results of Rafael Pharmaceuticals’ two Phase 3 clinical trials for CPI-613 (devimistat) in metastatic pancreatic cancer and relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia are disappointing, I am proud of and grateful for the team’s significant contributions,” Mallik said.

With the change in company focus, Rafael Holdings also announced the planned departures of: William Conkling, chief commercial and business officer; Ashok David Marin, chief legal officer; Brandi Robinson, chief corporate affairs officer; and Melissa Lozner, chief compliance and ethics officer. These transitions will take place by the end of January 2022.

“I would like to thank Ameet and the current leadership team for enhancing the capabilities of the company,” Jonas said. “I look forward to Ameet continuing as a member of the Rafael Holdings board of directors and to working with Pat and Mimi to advance our research and development efforts. I’m excited about the future of Rafael Holdings and what we will accomplish together.”

Fabbio most recently served as chief financial officer of the company, and has more than 25 years of financial, operational and transactional leadership experience in both publicly traded and privately held life science and pharmaceutical companies. Prior to joining Rafael Holdings, Fabbio was chief financial officer of WindMIL Therapeutics Inc. Previously, he served as the chief financial officer of Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc. and electroCore Medical LLC; vice president of finance at NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc.; vice president of finance, innovation and growth at Catalent Pharma Solutions Inc.; and chief financial officer at Ikano Therapeutics. His other prior financial positions include roles at Sanofi, UniPath Diagnostics, BioMatrix and Coopers & Lybrand.

Huizinga recently served as chief development and medical officer of the company. Prior to joining Rafael Holdings, she was the head of U.S. Oncology Medical for Novartis, overseeing the clinical development and medical affairs activities of the Novartis oncology portfolio in the U.S. Before leading the medical function, Huizinga built and led the strategic data and digital function in the U.S. Oncology business unit at Novartis. The strategic data and digital function included real-world evidence, health care economics and clinical and value evidence liaisons, in addition to supporting digital marketing and constructing a data strategy and platform. During her time at Novartis, Huizinga participated in more than a dozen product and indication launches. Prior to Novartis, she was the chief health information officer at Premier Inc., where she also led the Applied Sciences division partnering with several pharmaceutical companies around evidence generation needs.