Sier­ra On­col­o­gy brings on for­mer Aim­mune CEO to the helm; Flag­ship woos ex-No­var­tis ex­ec Fab­rice Chouraqui

Stephen Dil­ly

Mo­melo­tinib-fo­cused Sier­ra On­col­o­gy, which launched a Phase III tri­al in No­vem­ber for myelofi­bro­sis pa­tients, has made Stephen Dil­ly its pres­i­dent and CEO, ef­fec­tive June 1. Dil­ly was pre­vi­ous­ly the CEO at Aim­mune from 2014 un­til what was billed as his re­tire­ment in 2018, but now he’s back at the helm of an­oth­er com­pa­ny and is al­so a mem­ber of Sier­ra’s board of di­rec­tors. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, the sea­soned vet has held posts at Genen­tech, Ch­i­ron and GSK.

Mean­while, Velox­is Phar­ma­ceu­tics CEO Craig Col­lard was al­so named to Van­cou­ver-based Sier­ra’s board.

→ Fab­rice Chouraqui has added a new ti­tle to his ré­sumé. Af­ter steadi­ly ris­ing through the ranks and jour­ney­ing the globe to nab a top job as pres­i­dent of US phar­ma for the Basel-based No­var­tis, Chouraqui has hit the ex­it to head a hy­brid po­si­tion as a CEO-part­ner at Flag­ship. In his new po­si­tion, he’ll take a shot at lead­ing Cel­lar­i­ty — one of the VC’s lat­est par­a­digm-chang­ing com­pa­nies mold­ed on a ground­break­ing mod­el that as­pires to de­liv­er a new plat­form to the world of drug R&D. He’s chang­ing a top ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tion in a glob­al or­ga­ni­za­tion su­per­vis­ing thou­sands of staffers for a role run­ning a team of 50 en­gaged in deep sci­ence that mar­ries new in­sights in­to cel­lu­lar bi­ol­o­gy and AI in Cam­bridge, MA. And he’s com­mit­ted to a dual role as ven­ture part­ner, con­tribut­ing his own ideas to shap­ing the strat­e­gy and ex­e­cu­tion at Flag­ship.

Peg­gy Sotiropoulu

→ Celyad, the Bel­gian biotech now mak­ing a low-pro­file run for off-the-shelf CAR-T suc­cess along­side more promi­nent peers like Cel­lec­tis, Servi­er and Al­lo­gene, has pro­mot­ed Peg­gy Sotiropoulou to head of R&D. Sotiropoulou joined the com­pa­ny in 2017 and pre­vi­ous­ly served as di­rec­tor of R&D.

Just a lit­tle more than a month since tak­ing over as the lat­est CEO to helm Im­munomedics, Harout Se­mer­jian is ex­it­ing the com­pa­ny af­ter be­ing con­front­ed by “lo­gis­ti­cal” ob­sta­cles thrown up by the pan­dem­ic that made it im­pos­si­ble for him to move from Lon­don to car­ry out the job. And he’s get­ting a lit­tle over a mil­lion dol­lars in cash plus perks to grease the skids on the way out. Se­mer­jian, a long­time No­var­tis ex­ec who jumped to Ipsen for a 3-year stint as head of com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions, took the biotech job on April 16, grab­bing a salary of $675,000 a year, a bonus equal to a min­i­mum of 70% of that fig­ure, stock op­tions and a $225,000 bud­get for mov­ing from Ipsen to New Jer­sey. Now Be­hzad Ag­haz­adeh is back in charge and he’s in no hur­ry to restart their head­hunt­ing op­er­a­tion for a new CEO. That, says the com­pa­ny, will have to wait un­til the pan­dem­ic is over.

Yil­maz Mahshid

Swedish biotech Medi­vir will wel­come Yil­maz Mahshid as CEO in the fall, suc­ceed­ing Uli Hack­sell, who had been at the helm since Oc­to­ber 2018. Hack­sell will stay on as a mem­ber of Medi­vir’s board. Mahshid has been the CFO at an­oth­er Swedish com­pa­ny, Pled­Phar­ma, since De­cem­ber 2017. Be­fore Pled­Phar­ma, Mahshid was at In­dus­tri­fonden as in­vest­ment man­ag­er and con­troller.

Ni­ma Farzan is tak­ing over as CEO of San Diego pre­ci­sion on­col­o­gy play­er Kin­nate Bio­phar­ma, re­plac­ing Stephen Kaldor, who has been ap­point­ed chair­man. Farzan had been pres­i­dent and CEO of Pax­Vax from 2011-19 and is cur­rent­ly a board mem­ber at Keros Ther­a­peu­tics. Pri­or to Pax­Vax, Farzan was with No­var­tis in nu­mer­ous ca­pac­i­ties, in­clud­ing VP of US mar­ket­ing in the vac­cines & di­ag­nos­tics di­vi­sion.

Ex-Pfiz­er ex­ec Mark Schney­er will step up to the plate in the new­ly-cre­at­ed role of SVP, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and CBO at Aca­dia Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, which re­vealed pos­i­tive Nu­plazid da­ta in De­cem­ber and a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­si­ty this month on tar­get­ing mus­carinic M1 re­cep­tors. Schney­er was at Pfiz­er for nine years, most re­cent­ly as their VP, busi­ness and cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment for the Up­john di­vi­sion.

→ New­ly op­er­at­ing Lari­mar Ther­a­peu­tics — cre­at­ed from a merg­er be­tween Chon­dr­i­al Ther­a­peu­tics and Zaf­genhas en­list­ed some new faces in­to its ranks. Joseph Tru­itt has been named chair of the board of di­rec­tors, Nan­cy Ruiz as CMO and Michael Celano as CFO. Tru­itt for­mer­ly served as CEO of Achillion Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. Ruiz joins the com­pa­ny from Pro­long Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, where she served as VP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and head of drug safe­ty, while Celano most re­cent­ly served as CFO and COO at Re­cro Phar­ma.

Savi­ta Bernal has joined the ranks as CBO of French mi­cro­bio­me biotech MaaT Phar­ma, which racked up €18 mil­lion in Se­ries B fi­nanc­ing in Feb­ru­ary. Be­fore her ap­point­ment at the Ly­on-based biotech, Bernal spent 7 years at an­oth­er Ly­on-based com­pa­ny, Ado­cia, where she was di­rec­tor of strate­gic mar­ket­ing and cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment.

William De­laney

An­oth­er lead­er­ship tran­si­tion is un­fold­ing at South San Fran­cis­co-based As­sem­bly Bio­sciences, where Gilead vet William De­laney is re­plac­ing the re­tir­ing Richard Colon­no as CSO, vi­rol­o­gy, ef­fec­tive June 1. Colon­no now moves in­to a se­nior ad­vi­so­ry role. The Gilead con­nec­tions are strong, as As­sem­bly CEO John McHutchi­son spent 9 years at the big biotech, where he was CSO and head of R&D. De­laney spent 20 years at Gilead, start­ing as a re­search sci­en­tist in vi­rol­o­gy and ris­ing to ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, bi­ol­o­gy.

Biodesy has un­veiled a new name this week: Blue­light Ther­a­peu­tics. The South San Fran­cis­co biotech al­so has a new CSO: Mark Gal­lop, a board mem­ber since 2018. An ex­ec­u­tive-in-res­i­dence at 5AM Ven­ture Part­ners, Gal­lop co-found­ed Rube­do Life Sci­ences, Nurix (where he was al­so CSO) and Xeno­Port (where he was al­so SVP of re­search).

→ Af­ter spend­ing a lit­tle over a year at Ap­plied Ther­a­peu­tics, CFO Mark Vi­g­no­la is hit­ting the ex­it. Charles (Chuck) Sil­ber­stein has been named as his suc­ces­sor and head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. Sil­ber­stein joins the com­pa­ny from re­cent­ly ac­quired Al­ler­gan, where he served as SVP of cor­po­rate busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. In ad­di­tion, Sil­ber­stein has served posts at Gold­man Sachs As­set Man­age­ment and JP Mor­gan As­set Man­age­ment.

→ Nathan Jor­gensen is head­ed to Cam­bridge, MA-based Vor Bio­phar­ma to be CFO. Be­fore go­ing to Vor, which en­gi­neers hematopoi­et­ic stem cells (eHSCs) to treat can­cer, Jor­gensen was most re­cent­ly with the Qatar In­vest­ment Au­thor­i­ty in a se­nior man­age­ment po­si­tion. Oth­er stops for Jor­gensen in the fi­nan­cial in­dus­try have in­clud­ed Calam­os In­vest­ments and Stifel Nico­laus.

Siob­han Nolan Mangi­ni

NGM Bio, which re­leased pos­i­tive da­ta in Feb­ru­ary in­volv­ing the use of aldafer­min in NASH pa­tients, will bring in Siob­han Nolan Mangi­ni as CFO, ef­fec­tive Ju­ly 13. Be­fore ar­riv­ing at NGM this sum­mer, Nolan Mangi­ni had been pres­i­dent and CFO of an­oth­er San Fran­cis­co-based com­pa­ny, Cast­light Health. She be­gan her Cast­light tenure in 2012 as di­rec­tor, strat­e­gy & busi­ness de­vel­op­ment.

Su­san Knud­son is mak­ing her way to San Diego-based re­gen­er­a­tive med­i­cine de­vel­op­er His­to­gen, where she will be­come EVP and CFO. She had held the same ti­tles at Pfenex since Feb­ru­ary 2018. Knud­son has al­so been the CFO of Neo­thet­ics and the se­nior di­rec­tor of fi­nance and ad­min­is­tra­tion at Av­era Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

Bel­gian biotech Hy­loris Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, which cor­ralled a $15 mil­lion fund­ing round in late April, has se­lect­ed Patrick Jean­mart as CFO. Jean­mart jumps to Hy­loris from De­groof Pe­ter­cam In­vest­ment Bank, where he was their glob­al head of health­care. From 2007-18, he was al­so the CFO at Celyad.

Da­mon Sil­vestry has signed on at San Diego biotech Prog­en­i­ty to be their COO. Be­fore start­ing at Prog­en­i­ty, which de­vel­ops mol­e­c­u­lar test­ing prod­ucts, Sil­vestry spent 5 years at Nat­era, where he was SVP, op­er­a­tions and peo­ple, and 3 years at Mira­ca Life Sci­ences, where he end­ed his tenure as SVP of op­er­a­tions.

Gregg Mc­Connell

→ Next-gen T cell play­er TCR² Ther­a­peu­tics has added some new faces to its lead­er­ship team. The Cam­bridge, Mass­a­chu­setts-based com­pa­ny wel­comed Gregg Mc­Connell as head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and Viera Muzithras as VP of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs. Mc­Connell hails from Blue­Rock Ther­a­peu­tics, where he served as VP and head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment un­til its ac­qui­si­tion by Bay­er. Pre­vi­ous­ly, Mc­Connell has served in roles at Pfiz­er. Muzithras steps in from Bris­tol My­ers Squibb (for­mer­ly Cel­gene), serv­ing as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of glob­al reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs. Pri­or to that, Muzithras was se­nior di­rec­tor of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs and glob­al reg­u­la­to­ry di­rec­tor at No­var­tis.

→ Just days af­ter lin­ing up $145 mil­lion to pay for their first for­ay in­to the clin­ic, the Rally­bio team is go­ing back to Alex­ion for their lat­est hire. They’ve re­cruit­ed Róisín Arm­strong, who will head the de­vel­op­ment of RLYB211, a plas­ma-de­rived hy­per­im­mune glob­u­lin in de­vel­op­ment for the pre­ven­tion of fe­tal and neona­tal al­loim­mune throm­bo­cy­tope­nia. Arm­strong served as VP and glob­al med­i­cine team leader at Alex­ion.

Salt Lake City bio­phar­ma El­e­var Ther­a­peu­tics, with its lead can­di­dates rivo­ceranib (ap­a­tinib) and Apealea fo­cused on treat­ing can­cers, has called up­on Mark Gelder to be glob­al head of med­ical af­fairs. Gelder, who has spent time with Pfiz­er, Wyeth and Bay­er, was the CMO at Pier­ian Bio­sciences, Ac­celo­vance and Heron Ther­a­peu­tics.

Mol­ly Harp­er

New York-based Rel­ma­da Ther­a­peu­tics, which tar­gets CNS dis­eases, has brought on Mol­ly Harp­er as EVP of op­er­a­tions. Harp­er start­ed out as one of the ini­tial em­ploy­ees with Akcea Ther­a­peu­tics as their VP, com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment, even­tu­al­ly be­com­ing SVP and glob­al fran­chise gen­er­al man­ag­er.

Amu­nix, which raised $73 mil­lion in a Se­ries A fi­nanc­ing round in March, has named Anne Keane SVP of reg­u­la­to­ry and qual­i­ty. Keane makes the leap to Amu­nix from Lyell Im­munophar­ma, where she was VP of reg­u­la­to­ry.

Fol­low­ing the pass­ing of Michael Wake­lam at the end of March, epi­ge­net­ics ex­pert Wolf Reik has been named act­ing di­rec­tor of the Babra­ham In­sti­tute. Reik has been the head of the In­sti­tute’s epi­ge­net­ics re­search pro­gram since 2008 and as­so­ciate di­rec­tor since 2004.

→ Ox­ford spin­out Evox Ther­a­peu­tics has en­list­ed Mar­tin An­drews as non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. An­drews served as the SVP, rare dis­eases at Glax­o­SmithK­line and pre­vi­ous­ly served as SVP, glob­al vac­cines com­mer­cial at GSK’s vac­cines di­vi­sion.

David Lacey

→ A day be­fore Gilead‘s $2 bil­lion part­ner­ship deal, Ter­ry Rosen’s Ar­cus Bio­sciences ap­point­ed Am­gen vet David Lacey to its board of di­rec­tors. Lacey and Rosen are fa­mil­iar with each oth­er from their days at Am­gen, where Lacey was SVP of dis­cov­ery re­search.

→ Cam­bridge, MA-based An­chi­ano Ther­a­peu­tics has elect­ed Stan Polovets to be chair­man of its board of di­rec­tors. Polovets, the for­mer CEO of the Al­fa-Ac­cess-Ren­o­va (AAR) Con­sor­tium and the co-founder, chair­man and CEO of the Gen­e­sis Prize Foun­da­tion, has been on the board since April.

Ex-Al­ler­gan ex­ec James Hind­man has hopped aboard as a di­rec­tor at Urovant Sci­ences — which in March had Jim Robin­son step in and take over the reins of the com­pa­ny. Dur­ing his ca­reer at Al­ler­gan, Hind­man held var­i­ous roles lead­ing to his post as CFO un­til the com­pa­ny’s $70.5 bil­lion merg­er with Ac­tavis in 2015.

Bain-backed Pfiz­er spin­out Spring­Works Ther­a­peu­tics has wel­comed for­mer Ideaya Bio­sciences ex­ec Julie Ham­ble­ton, to its board of di­rec­tors. Ham­ble­ton joined the board at Arch On­col­o­gy in April. In ad­di­tion, Ham­ble­ton pre­vi­ous­ly served as VP, head of US med­ical at Bris­tol My­ers Squibb.

Joan­na Horobin

iOnc­tura — fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing mol­e­cules tar­get­ing can­cer and fi­bro­sis — has tapped for­mer CEO of Syn­dax Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals Joan­na Horobin as non-ex­ec­u­tive chair of its board.

→ In­flam­ma­to­ry dis­ease-fo­cused Ac­quist Ther­a­peu­tics has added to its board of di­rec­tors, se­lect­ing Thomas Haver­ty and John Red­man. Haver­ty is cur­rent­ly the in­ter­im CMO at Eloxx Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, while Red­man is CEO of Pro­teus Ven­tures.

Regeneron CEO Leonard Schleifer speaks at a meeting with President Donald Trump, members of the Coronavirus Task Force, and pharmaceutical executives in the Cabinet Room of the White House (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

OWS shifts spot­light to drugs to fight Covid-19, hand­ing Re­gen­eron $450M to be­gin large scale man­u­fac­tur­ing in the US

The US government is on a spending spree. And after committing billions to vaccines defense operations are now doling out more of the big bucks through Operation Warp Speed to back a rapid flip of a drug into the market to stop Covid-19 from ravaging patients — possibly inside of 2 months.

The beneficiary this morning is Regeneron, the big biotech engaged in a frenzied race to develop an antibody cocktail called REGN-COV2 that just started a late-stage program to prove its worth in fighting the virus. BARDA and the Department of Defense are awarding Regeneron a $450 million contract to cover bulk delivery of the cocktail starting as early as late summer, with money added for fill/finish and storage activities.

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UP­DAT­ED: Bio­gen shares spike as ex­ecs com­plete a de­layed pitch for their con­tro­ver­sial Alzheimer's drug — the next move be­longs to the FDA

Biogen is stepping out onto the high wire today, reporting that the team working on the controversial Alzheimer’s drug aducanumab has now completed their submission to the FDA. And they want the agency to bless it with a priority review that would cut the agency’s decision-making time to a mere 6 months.

The news drove a 10% spike in Biogen’s stock $BIIB ahead of the bell.

Part of that spike can be attributed to a relief rally. Biogen execs rattled backers and a host of analysts earlier in the year when they unexpectedly delayed their filing to the third quarter. That delay provoked all manner of speculation after CEO Michel Vounatsos and R&D chief Al Sandrock failed to persuade influential observers that the pandemic and other factors had slowed the timeline for filing. Actually making the pitch at least satisfies skeptics that the FDA was not likely pushing back as Biogen was pushing in. From the start, Biogen execs claimed that they were doing everything in cooperation with the FDA, saying that regulators had signaled their interest in reviewing the submission.

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Daniel O'Day, Gilead CEO (Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A new study points to $6.5B in pub­lic sup­port build­ing the sci­en­tif­ic foun­da­tion of Gilead­'s remde­sivir. Should that be re­flect­ed in the price?

By drug R&D standards, Gilead’s move to repurpose remdesivir for Covid-19 and grab an emergency use authorization was a remarkably easy, low-cost layup that required modest efficacy and a clean safety profile from just a small group of patients.

The drug OK also arrived after Gilead had paid much of the freight on getting it positioned to move fast.

In a study by Fred Ledley, director of the Center for Integration of Science and Industry at Bentley University in Waltham, MA, researchers concluded that the NIH had invested only $46.5 million in the research devoted to the drug ahead of the pandemic, a small sum compared to the more than $1 billion Gilead expected to spend getting it out this year, all on top of what it had already cost in R&D expenses.

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FDA bars the door — for now — against Mer­ck’s star can­cer drug af­ter Roche beat them to the punch

Merck has been handed a rare setback at the FDA.

After filing for the accelerated approval of a combination of their star PD-1 drug Keytruda with Eisai’s Lenvima as a first-line treatment for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma, the FDA nixed the move, handing out a CRL because Roche beat them to the punch on the same indication by a matter of weeks.

According to Merck:

Ahead of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act action dates of Merck’s and Eisai’s applications, another combination therapy was approved based on a randomized, controlled trial that demonstrated overall survival. Consequently, the CRL stated that Merck’s and Eisai’s applications do not provide evidence that Keytruda in combination with Lenvima represents a meaningful advantage over available therapies for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic HCC with no prior systemic therapy for advanced disease. Since the applications for KEYNOTE-524/Study 116 no longer meet the criteria for accelerated approval, both companies plan to work with the FDA to take appropriate next steps, which include conducting a well-controlled clinical trial that demonstrates substantial evidence of effectiveness and the clinical benefit of the combination.

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Covid-19 roundup: Mod­er­na sticks to Ju­ly for its Phase III as ru­mors swirl; Fol­low­ing US lead, EU buys up Covid-19 treat­ments

The Phase III might be delayed from its original early July goal, but Moderna says it will still kick off the pivotal study for what could ultimately be the first Covid-19 vaccine before the end of the month.

A day after Reuters reported that squabbling between the Cambridge biotech and government regulators had held up the trial by about two weeks, Moderna released a statement saying that they had completed enrollment of their 650-person Phase II trial and were on track to begin Phase III by the end of the month. The protocol for that study, which is meant to prove whether or not the vaccine can prevent people from becoming sick, has been finalized, they said.

Stephen Hahn, AP

Trump and Navar­ro press again for hy­drox­y­chloro­quine. Can the FDA stay in­de­pen­dent?

Tuesday morning, economist and Trump advisor Peter Navarro walked onto the White House driveway and promptly brought a political cloud back onto the FDA.

Speaking to a White House pool reporter, Navarro said that four Detroit doctors were, based on a single disputed study, filing for the FDA to again issue an emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial pill that President Trump hyped for months as a Covid-19 treatment over the objections of his own scientists. Then, while avoiding directly calling for the FDA to OK the drug, blasted the agency. He said its decision to pull an earlier authorization “was based on bad science” and “had a tremendously negative effect” on doctors and patients.

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Donald and Melania Trump watch the smoke of fireworks from the South Lawn of the White House on July 4, 2020 (via Getty)

Which drug de­vel­op­ers of­fer Trump a quick, game-chang­ing ‘so­lu­tion’ as the pan­dem­ic roars back? Eli Lil­ly and Ab­Cellera look to break out of the pack

We are unleashing our nation’s scientific brilliance and will likely have a therapeutic and/or vaccine solution long before the end of the year.

— Donald Trump, July 4

Next week administration officials plan to promote a new study they say shows promising results on therapeutics, the officials said. They wouldn’t describe the study in any further detail because, they said, its disclosure would be “market-moving.”

— NBC News, July 3

Something’s cooking. And it’s not just July 4 leftovers involving stale buns and uneaten hot dogs.

Over the long weekend observers picked up signs that the focus in the Trump administration may swiftly shift from the bright spotlight on vaccines being promised this fall, around the time of the election, to include drugs that could possibly keep patients out of the hospital and take the political sting out of the soaring Covid-19 numbers causing embarrassment in states that swiftly reopened — as Trump cheered along.

So far, Gilead has been the chief beneficiary of the drive on drugs, swiftly offering enough early data to get remdesivir an emergency authorization and into the hands of the US government. But their drug, while helpful in cutting stays, is known for a limited, modest effect. And that won’t tamp down on the hurricane of criticism that’s been tearing at the White House, and buffeting the president’s most stalwart core defenders as the economy suffers.

We’ve had positive early-stage vaccine data, most recently from Pfizer and BioNTech, playing catchup on an mRNA race led by Moderna — where every little sign of potential trouble is magnified into a lethal threat, just as every advance excites a frenzy of support. But that race still has months to play out, with more Phase I data due ahead of the mid-stage numbers looming ahead. A vaccine may not be available in large enough quantities until well into 2021, which is still wildly ambitious.

So what about a drug solution?

Trump’s initial support for a panacea focused on hydroxychloroquine. But that fizzled in the face of data underscoring its ineffectiveness — killing trials that aren’t likely to be restarted because of a recent population-based study offering some support. And there are a number of existing drugs being repurposed to see how they help hospitalized patients.

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Zai Lab inks Chi­na deal with Turn­ing Point with $25M up­front; Xen­cor, Atre­ca team up on bis­pecifics

Zai Lab is paying out a $25 million upfront for the rights to sell Turning Point Therapeutics’ lead drug repotrectinib in Greater China. The San Diego-based biotech is also in line for up to $151 million in milestones, along with mid-to-high teen royalties. Zai plans to add sites to the Phase II trial of the drug, which is designed to treat ROS1-positive advanced NSCLC in patients who were not previously treated with a TKI.

Sin­gu­lar fo­cus on ROR1 earns Velos­Bio $137M to fund PhI ADC and oth­er pro­grams

Years after selling Acerta to AstraZeneca for $7 billion, largely on the promise of its BTK inhibitor, Dave Johnson has once again gathered hefty financial support behind a new cancer target.

Matrix Capital Management and Surveyor Capital are leading a $137 million round for VelosBio, which has recently begun a Phase I study for its lead antibody-drug conjugate targeted against ROR1. Johnson took up the CEO post in October 2018.