Outsourcing, Startups

Ex-Merrimack CEO Mulroy launches oncology startup Partner Therapeutics

Two veterans in this business — the former Merrimack CEO and the ex-CMO of Seragon — have launched a new cancer startup that’s built on an increasingly popular business model in biotech: fill the C-suite first, then the pipeline.

Robert Mulroy

The new venture is called Partner Therapeutics, or PTx, and it’s led by Robert Mulroy, who resigned as Merrimack’s CEO in October 2016. Also at the helm is Debasish Roychowdhury, who’s serving as PTx’s CMO. You might remember Roychowdhury from his time as CMO of Seragon Pharmaceuticals, the company Roche/Genentech acquired for $725 million back in 2014. But Roychowdhury also has a long resume in pharma, previously serving as clinical development VP at GSK, heading Sanofi’s oncology unit, and leading the global oncology regulatory group at Eli Lilly.

The duo plans to leverage their experience in drug development, fundraising, approval and commercialization to take approved and late-stage treatments to the market.

Debasish Roychowdhury

PTx plans to build its portfolio through the acquisition of programs, operating as an integrated commercial, development, and manufacturing organization.

The model is one we’ve seen a lot lately, in which trusted executives are prioritized before the pipeline. The hope is that they can deliver one or more returns, often following a business model in which an umbrella company finds promising assets to advance, and then spins them out into separate entities to see if the science sinks or swims. That way, one failure doesn’t tank the whole enterprise and the veteran executives can drive on.

“We formed PTx to address gaps in treatment and improve cost effectiveness of cancer care through a mission-driven organization focused on exceptional execution on behalf of patients,” Mulroy said in a statement.

Image: Robert Mulroy and Debasish Roychowdhury

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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