Biotalk Episode 7: A Conversation with Howard Federoff of Ryne Biotechnology

On this episode of Biotalk, Locust Walk‘s Geoff Meyerson welcomes Howard Federoff, MD PhD, Scientific Co-Founder, Chief Medical Officer, and Director of Ryne Biotechnology, to the podcast. Join us as we delve into Ryne Bio’s pioneering work centered on advancing off-the-shelf neuron replacement therapies, poised to revolutionize the treatment landscape for neurological disorders. 

During the conversation, Howard shares his diverse background, drawing from his roles as a CEO overseeing companies employing both allo and auto-based approaches to cell therapy. He discusses the exciting prospects of a groundbreaking generation of cell therapy that eliminates the need for immunosuppression. 

Additionally, the episode explores the future of iPSC technology, which holds the promise of transforming the field, positioning it as the coveted “holy grail” in the realm of neurological treatment. 

We invite you to tune in to this engaging podcast episode. Subscribe or follow Biotalk on Apple Podcasts | Spotify.   


1:18: How did you find yourself in the biotech industry? 

3:51: What is your perspective on AAV gene therapy compared to IPSC’s, and your take on the differences between the two?

5:55: Is it a fair framework to think that gene therapy (within neurology) is better suited for situations where there is not a lack of cellular viability and cell therapy is better where there aren’t enough cells that gene therapy can make a difference? 

9:38: Having been CEO of companies like Aspen Neuro and now founding Ryne Bio, how do you think about the different approaches in this space, and why did you decide to go after an allo-based approach?  

15:13: How do you think about commercial differentiation with allo vs. auto approaches? 

17:16: Is your assumption that it will be comparable efficacy across all of these products, but just differential safety in cost profiles, or is there a reason to believe that your consistency with manufacturing, source of mitochondria, etc. might have better efficacy?   

18:38: Do you believe there is room for multiple players and, if your approach works in Parkinson’s, presumably this could work in many other neurological applications? 

20:39: Thinking through all the different approaches that one could go after (gene therapies, small molecule, cell therapies, etc.), is it a function of when in the disease progression to use which approach, or do you think the cell therapy approach could be used a lot earlier to forestall a lot of the negative impact of the disease and allow a longer, healthier lifespan? 

23:06: Is there a next gen that you envision that would allow to not need conditioning and immunosuppression, or how do you think about the ultimate product?  

25:48: Is your view on the future of cell therapy in CNS thinking about the right edits to various HLA subtypes or ways to make it less immunogenic; Is there anything else that can be done that would be the holy grail for CNS cell therapy? 

28:40: Despite all of these headwinds, we at Locust Walk remain highly optimistic about the future of biotech after this bear market recedes.  Are you optimistic as well?