Oncolytic player abruptly terminates CMO, only a year in, and eliminates the job
A little more than a year after Replimune CEO Philip Astley-Sparke recruited Andrea Pirzkall from BeiGene to run the development programs for its oncolytic immuno-gene therapy cancer treatments, he’s now abruptly showing her out.
The experienced drug developer was terminated “without cause,” the biotech disclosed in an SEC filing. The move, which happened Wednesday, included a decision to eliminate the CMO job and put her responsibilities in the hands of the R&D chief.
Replimune Group, Inc. (the “Company”) has restructured the Company’s management and operations such that all functions previously reporting to the Chief Medical Officer now report directly to the President and Chief Research and Development Officer, Dr. Robert Coffin or the Chief Development Operations Officer, Tanya Lewis. This restructuring has resulted in the elimination of the role of Chief Medical Officer, effective immediately.
Pirzkall made her rep at Genentech before getting scooped up at BeiGene. And Replimune wooed away one of Genentech’s commercial players, Sushil Patel, who was in charge of selling Tecentriq, to head up its commercial ops just 4 months ago. Patel told Endpoints News at the time that he had about a year to build up a team to commercialize RP1.
Replimune has 2 pivotal trials set up for its lead drug in melanoma and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Like other oncolytic agents, the drug uses a virus to invade tumors, destroying cancer cells and spurring an immune response for a followup attack on tumors.