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Merck KGaA exec takes top job at UK biotech Kymab

UK biotech veteran returns to head antibody specialist

kymab

Simon Sturge has been appointed the new chief executive of Kymab, taking over from fellow UK biotech veteran David Chiswell.

Cambridge, UK-based biotech Kymab was founded in 2010 Professor Allan Bradley based on work in his laboratory at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and has a pipeline of novel antibodies in development across immune disease, immunology, haematology and infectious disease.

David Chiswell is stepping down after four years as CEO of the biotech, and will remain a scientific adviser to the company, which is due to present its first proof of concept data later this year.

“We are delighted that such an experienced leader as Simon will lead Kymab to its next stage of growth,” said Martin Nicklasson, non-executive chair. “Led by Simon, Kymab will continue to progress its innovative portfolio of products through the clinic and to market, driving our strategy to transform patients’ lives.”

simon sturge

Simon Sturge

Mr. Sturge has 30 years in pharma and biotech under his belt, joining from Merck KGaA, where he was executive vice president global strategy, Business Development & Global Operations. Over the past five years, he has overseen key launches of immunotherapy Bavencio in solid tumours and Mavenclad for relapsing multiple sclerosis.

Mr. Sturge had previously served as SVP, Biopharmaceuticals at Boehringer Ingelheim, overseeing its global biosimilar portfolio, as well as an earlier CEO role at Celltech Biologics. He was also founder and CEO of Ribotargets, one of the UK’s earliest biotechs, which was acquired by British Biotech and subsequently renamed Vernalis.

“I am excited to have this opportunity to head Kymab at such a transformative time in its development,” said Simon Sturge. “With its competitive antibody research platforms and evolving clinical pipeline, Kymab is well positioned as it progresses into an integrated discovery and development company.”

“It has been rewarding to guide Kymab through a period of significant growth. Kymab is now a recognised leader in the antibody space, with an extensive pipeline and two lead candidates in the clinic,” said Dave Chiswell, former CEO of Kymab. “I have known Simon for some years and I am pleased to hand over the reins to him.  Simon is highly experienced and well positioned to lead Kymab and its exceptional staff, pipeline and partnerships, as it continues to discover and develop transformative antibody therapies for patients in need.”

The company’s most advanced pipeline candidate is KY1005, a potential first-in-class monoclonal antibody to treat an underlying immune system imbalance in patients with many autoimmune conditions.

It binds to OX40L and blocks it from activating OX40, a protein that induces a prolonged response in T-cells of the immune system, which can lead to diseases of the immune system and damaging effects on patients.

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

9th April 2019

From: Research

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