Regado Biosciences has replaced co-founder and Aurora Funds venture capitalist Douglas Gooding with David Mazzo, a pharmaceutical industry veteran.

Gooding, a venture partner at Aurora, helped raise the initial funding for Regado and served as president of the firm. Regado closed on $23 million in Series C fundraising in 2007. Aurora is an investor in Regado.

A spokesperson for Regado declined to discuss the circumstances surrounding Gooding’s departure. A press release said the change in leadership was “effectively immediately.”

In a statement later provided to Local Tech Wire, Regado said Gooding “remains a consultant to the company.”

When asked to explain Gooding’s departure, Regado described the change as a “natural progression.”

“Dr. Mazzo’s appointment represents the natural progression in the evolution of a biotechnology company from the founding CEO to a new chief executive with more extensive development, regulatory and commercial expertise,” the company said in the statement. “Dr. Mazzo has a wealth of background in the pharmaceutical industry and this will be critical as Regado progresses its major product candidates through the clinic to registration and launch.”

Regado added that data from the ongoing Phase IIa clinical trial of its anticoagulation system is expected “later this year.”

Mazzo served most recently as president and CEO of AEterna Zentaris. He also has worked as an executive with Chugai Pharma USA, which is a subsidiary of Japan-based Chugai Pharmaceutical,.

Investors in Regado include Caxton Advantage Life Sciences Fund, Quaker BioVentures, Domain Associates and several individuals.

Regado is developing a DNA-based system to control bleeding. It is still involved in clinical trials. The technology was created at Duke University. The technology could present an alternative to such drugs as Heparin and Coumadin, which help prevent heart attacks, strokes and deep-vein thrombosis but also increase the risk of uncontrolled bleeding.

The Regado technology is called REG1.

"Dr. Mazzo’s appointment comes at an important growth phase for the company,” said Regado Chairman Dennis Podlesak. “The data from our ongoing Phase IIa study of the REG1 Anticoagulation System are expected later this year. This is the first study of the REG1 system in patients undergoing percutaneous [angioplasty] coronary intervention. Dr. Mazzo’s senior leadership experience, his strong scientific background and commercial and regulatory expertise will be invaluable to the company as Regado advances and expands its clinical development programs."

Mazzo is a graduate of Villanova University with degrees in arts and chemistry. He also received a masters and PhD in chemistry and analytical chemistry from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

"I am excited for the opportunity to lead Regado through its next stage of growth,” Mazzo said in a statement. “My primary goals are to build upon the company’s established success and further harness the great potential in Regado’s lead programs and discovery platform.”

“The company is unique in its focus on developing aptamer therapeutics paired with agents that can directly modulate their activity,” he added. “This has the potential to provide unprecedented control to the physician and represents an evolution for patient care in the hospital setting."

The Regado system uses aptamers, or short strings of single-stranded nucleic acids, either DNA or RNA, that bind to specific protein or small-molecule targets. Doctors can use the binding pair to control the degree of blood thinning that takes place and to reactivate clotting within five minutes.