→ Surface Oncology has promoted its BD chief to run the company. Jeffrey Goater is taking the helm of the Cambridge, MA-based biotech, focused on new drugs targeting CD47 and CD73 in the tumor microenvironment. He’s replacing AstraZeneca vet Detlev Biniszkiewicz, who was recruited a little less than three years ago. There’s no immediate word on Biniszkiewicz’s next step.
→ Jeremy Caldwell is trading the CSO seat at Ardelyx $ARDX for a CEO job at an undisclosed “early stage biotech start-up company based in San Diego,” the Fremont, CA-based company announced today. His departure from the biotech, best known for IBS drug tenapanor, follows a bumpy three-year ride that set tenapanor on course for an NDA submission despite some doubts along the way. No successor has been named just yet. “I believe that tenapanor will play a critical role in treating both hyperphosphatemia and IBS-C in the future. I’m proud of what we’ve discovered with the RDX013 program, as it represents an entirely new approach to treating hyperkalemia,” Caldwell said in a statement.
→ Netherlands-based RNA company ProQR Therapeutics $PRQR has inked a deal with Maryland nonprofit Foundation Fighting Blindness to develop a drug that would combat vision loss in patients with a rare genetic disease. The drug, called QR-421a, is a RNA oligonucleotide that targets mutations in exon 13 of the causative USH2A gene to treat Usher syndrome 2A. Patients with the rare and genetic disease first develop hearing loss, and progressively lose their hearing as well. There is no treatment for the ophthalmic manifestation of the disease, so ProQR has received orphan drug designation from the FDA for the drug. As part of the new deal, Foundation Fighting Blindness will provide up to $7.5 million in milestone-based funding for preclinical and clinical development of QR-421a, which should be in the clinic in 2018, the company said in a statement.
With contribution by Brittany Meiling and Amber Tong.
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