Lumena, A Rady Cinderella Story
Lumena Pharmaceuticals is a San Diego-based drug development company that was recently acquired by Shire for $260 million upfront plus near term milestone payments for ongoing clinical trials. While the numbers alone are undeniably impressive, the story goes far deeper, demonstrating the interconnectedness of the Rady network and influence to converge upon one incredible startup that has grown dramatically since its inception in 2011.
The team behind Lumena was built from Rady alumni—from Turner Jenkins and Sean McCarthy (Rady '08 and '06 respectively), who were both instrumental in initial seed funding to Ciara Kennedy (Rady '06), COO of Lumena and responsible for day to day operations to Niall O'Donnell, who facilitated Series A funding through RiverVest Venture Partners and shaped the early implementation of the clinical plan. The team recently added Lisette Acevedo, Rady student, as a consultant to assist with clinical project management.
Over the course of three years, Lumena's team flawlessly navigated the regulatory bodies, recruited top clinical trial sites and ran an aggressive, ambitious clinical program. The early validation of this approach came when Lumena was acquired by Shire for over $260 million. The ultimate validation, at least in the eyes of the Lumena team, will be innovative, life-changing pharmaceuticals that will help sick children and their families. From initial funding to acquisition, the Rady network has been instrumental in developing Lumena into a drug development powerhouse dedicated to treating rare pediatric liver diseases.
"Drug development is a tough business, with failure always a very real possibility. Having a team that can execute rigorously, head-off problems early, and have a laugh or two along the way, is a must. The Lumena team, enriched with Rady graduates in key operating roles, ticked all the boxes." –Niall O'Donnell, Rady MBA '06