26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Ruchita Sinha, Sanofi Ventures

Ruchita Sinha has been senior director of investments at France-based drugs maker Sanofi’s corporate venturing unit located in Cambridge, in the US state of Massachusetts, since joining in November 2016. In this capacity, she heads the digital health investments for the unit.

Under her leadership, the unit participated last year in US-based ventures – a $65m series B round for immunotherapy developer Kymera Therapeutics in November, a $19m venture round for digital medicine developer Click Therapeutics in October, a $30m series C round for health behaviour tracking platform Evidation Health in August and a $55.3m series A round for precision medicine developer Expansion Therapeutics in January.

Sinha is currently on the boards of portfolio companies including blockchain-equipped healthcare management platform developer Curisium, rare infant diseases’ medicines developer Inozyme Pharma and digital behavioural medicine service Omada Health, for which the unit provided funding in 2017 in $3.5m seed, $14m series A and $50m series C rounds, respectively.

The unit has had numerous successful exits to date, for example, cancer-focused, immune-based therapies developer Immune Design was acquired by pharmaceutical firm Merck & Co in February 2019 for $300m and neurodegenerative diseases-focused pharmaceutical company Lysosomal Therapeutics was acquired by pharmaceutical company Allergan in January 2017.

Meanwhile, some portfolio companies exited through an initial public offering (IPO), such as neurological disease treatment developer Ovid Therapeutics in May 2017 and immunotherapy developer Unum Therapeutics in March 2018, both having raised about $86m each for the corresponding IPO.

Sinha’s best exit so far has seen Sanofi exit cancer treatment developer Impact Biomedicines, which was acquired by fellow pharmaceutical firm Celgene for $1.1bn up front but with $6bn more dependent on milestones.

Founded in 2016, Impact had acquired the development and commercialisation rights from Sanofi for Fedratinib, an oral small-molecule inhibitor of the JAK2 kinase enzyme, which addresses bone marrow disorders polycythemia vera and myelofibrosis, which in turn took an equity stake of undisclosed size in the company.

Sanofi had originally developed Fedratinib but its roll-out came to a halt in 2013 when the US Food and Drug Administration issued a clinical hold order. After acquiring the rights, Impact managed, however, to convince the regulator that the issues were solvable, and the hold was rescinded.

Before Sanofi Ventures, she had been a director from 2013 for almost four years at GE Ventures, industrial product and appliance manufacturer General Electric’s corporate venturing unit, where her deals included board observer roles at non-invasive intracranial pressure monitoring devices developer HeadSense and senior care industry-focused communication platform developer CareMerge.

Previously she had been director for strategy, portfolio management and commercial operations at drugs peer Pfizer from 2010 for nearly three years, where she oversaw business development, strategic planning and portfolio management for therapeutic areas such as cardiovascular, diabetes and oncology.

Sinha holds a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry from Mount Holyoke College, a master of science in cellular and molecular biology and an MBA with a finance and entrepreneurship concentration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.