Martin Mackay, CEO of Rallybio, Shares his Thoughts on the Appointment of Jonathan I. Lieber as Chief Financial Officer

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Martin Mackay, CEO of Rallybio, Shares his Thoughts on the Appointment of Jonathan I. Lieber as Chief Financial Officer


  • Martin shared his views on the appointment of Jonathan I. Lieber as the CFO of Rallybio. Martin spoke about Jonathan's educational background and experience while talking to PharmaShots' team
  • He also talked about how Jonathan I. Lieber’s expertise in finance, capital raising, long-range strategic planning, operations, and investor relations can contribute to the long-term goals of the company
  • The interview also highlighted the development of life-transforming therapies by Rallybio for patients with severe and rare diseases

Smriti: Congratulations on the appointment of Jonathan I. Lieber, as Rallybio’s Chief Financial Officer. Please share with our readers about his background (education, past experiences, and something personal)

Martin Mackay: Jon brings an outstanding record of leadership in finance, capital raising, long-range strategic planning, and operations, as well as investor relations, and we are excited he has joined Rallybio at this important time for our programs. He has more than 30 years of experience as a CFO for public and private life sciences companies and an investment banker. Most recently, he served as the CFO of Applied Genetic Technologies Corporation (AGTC), a publicly traded biotechnology gene therapy company focused on rare diseases, where he led all capital raising activities and was responsible for accounting and finance, human resources, investor relations, information technology and project management. Prior to AGTC, he was a Managing Director at Danforth Advisors, a private equity-backed firm, where he provided CFO services and strategic advice to public and private healthcare companies. Previously, Jon served as CFO at firms including Histogenics, a publicly traded cell therapy company, Repligen, Xcellerex (acquired by GE Healthcare), and Altus Pharmaceuticals. Jon began his career in healthcare as an investment banker at Salomon Brothers / Salomon Smith Barney and SG Cowen.

He is a member of the board of directors of Salarius Pharmaceuticals and serves on the Audit and Nominating and Governance Committees. 

He earned his Bachelor of Science in business administration and finance from Boston University and a Master of Business Administration in finance from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

When not working Jon enjoys spending time with his family (including the family’s two dogs) and exercising.  Additionally, Jon loves food and wine and is an avid sports fan.

Smriti: With Mr. Jonathan I. Lieber’s experience and expertise in finance, capital raising and long-range strategic planning what is his first-year focus in Rallybio?

Martin Mackay: Jon’s experience building and executing strategic plans for clinical stage biotechs will be invaluable.  He will be an important thought partner as Rallybio focuses on execution of our current pipeline and expanding our pipeline.    Jon will be a key player as we look for opportunities to bring in additional funding to continue to support our pipeline. He will also work closely with our business development team in their continued efforts to evaluate and acquire, by license or otherwise, additional product candidates with the potential to change the odds for patients with rare diseases, with a focus on determining the best ways to fund those programs.  Jon will collaborate with the team to evaluate potential preferred partners for one or more of the programs in the pipeline. Finally, his experience in investor relations will also allow us to continue to reach potential investors and introduce them to the Rallybio story.

Smriti: What are the long-term plans of Rallybio with Jonathan I. Lieber? What are important measures for him to monitor?

Martin Mackay: Jon will help us execute on our long-term strategic plan and provide us with important attributes to be a sustainable enterprise, continue to grow as a company, and continue to fund our pipeline and assets. It will be important to monitor the markets, assess whether investors are open to raising capital and on desirable terms, the perception of companies in rare disease and where we can focus.

Smriti: How will Jonathan’s appointment be important for the development of therapies for severe and rare diseases?

Martin Mackay: His appointment brought along a wealth of knowledge that is needed at a time when the company is evolving and growing.

Smriti: What is the vision and goal of Rallybio in short term and long term and how Mr. Lieber is key to achieving that goal?

Martin Mackay: Vision/goal short term: Continue to advance a diversified portfolio that addresses unmet needs including maternal-fetal health, complement dysregulation, hematology and metabolic diseases. Continue to maintain a strong financial position and leverage our global relationships to expand our portfolio.

Vision/goal long term:
We believe that Jon’s experience in capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, licensing transactions and strategic planning will enable him to play a key role in helping Rallybio grow into a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company with a diversified pipeline.  

Smriti: Shed some light on the product portfolio of Rallybio. Why it is working to develop its rare disease pipeline?

Martin Mackay: Currently we are focused on advancing a diversified portfolio to address patients with severe and rare diseases where there is unmet need. There are four areas we are currently focused on and those include maternal fetal blood disorders, complement dysregulation, hematologic disorders, and metabolic disorders.

We recently announced that we have achieved Proof-of-Concept in our lead candidate, RLYB212, a novel human monoclonal anti-HPA-1a antibody in development for the prevention of fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (FNAIT). Additionally, we are advancing our FNAIT natural history alloimmunization study. This non-interventional study is designed to provide key information on the frequency of women at higher risk for FNAIT across a broad population of pregnant women of different racial and ethnic characteristics, and the occurrence of HPA-1a alloimmunization in these women.

We also initiated dosing in the first multiple ascending dose cohort of a Phase 1 study of RLYB116 in the fourth quarter of 2022. RLYB116 is a novel, potentially long-acting, subcutaneously administered inhibitor of complement component 5, or C5, in development for the treatment of patients with complement-related diseases. The single-blind, dose escalation, placebo-controlled study is designed to evaluate the safety, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of RLYB116 in healthy participants.

We also continue to advance the development of RLYB114, formulated for intravitreal injection, for the treatment of ophthalmic disorders. And recently announced a research collaboration with Eyepoint that will evaluate sustained delivery of Rallybio’s inhibitor of complement component 5 (C5) using EyePoint’s proprietary Durasert® technology for sustained intraocular drug delivery. The initial focus will be on geographic atrophy, an advanced form of age-related macular degeneration that leads to irreversible vision loss.

We continue to conduct investigational new drug (IND)-enabling activities for RLYB331, a preclinical, potentially first-in-class therapeutic monoclonal antibody that inhibits Matriptase-2 (MTP-2), to support the transition of this product candidate into clinical development.

With our partner Exscientia, we continue to work toward the selection of a small molecule development candidate to advance into the clinic targeting ENPP1 for the treatment of patients with hypophosphatasia (HPP).

And in December 2022, we announced a strategic alliance with AbCellera to discover, develop, and commercialize novel antibody-based therapeutics for rare diseases. Under the terms of the agreement, AbCellera and Rallybio will co-develop up to five rare disease therapeutic targets, which will be chosen together by both companies. The partnership’s first program will focus on addressing the significant unmet therapeutic needs of patients with rare metabolic diseases.

Image Source: Canva

About the Author: 

Martin Mackay is the CEO and Co-Founder of Rallybio with more than 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry holding leadership roles at companies including Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Alexion. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Charles River Laboratories and Novo Nordisk. Martin is also a Senior Advisor at New Leaf Ventures. He obtained his Honours Degree in microbiology from Heriot-Watt University and his Ph.D. in molecular genetics from the University of Edinburgh.

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Senior Editor

Senior Editor at PharmaShots. She is curious and very passionate about recent updates and developments in the life sciences industry. She covers Biopharma, MedTech, and Digital health segments along with different reports at PharmaShots.

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