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Riva leaves Gilead to head Glenmark’s innovation spin-off

Company has own bispecific antibody platform

A Riva

Indian pharma company Glenmark has appointed Alessandro Riva as the chief executive of its new spin-off company focused on innovative medicines.

Glenmark’s business is dominated by its presence in generic drugs, and has elected to spin-off its growing pipeline of novel drugs into a standalone innovation-based company.

The new company will be headquartered in Paramus, New Jersey and will have a pipeline of eight assets, which includes three bispecific antibodies developed through Glenmark's proprietary BEAT (Bispecific Engagement by Antibodies based on the T cell receptor) platform.

Attracting Riva to head up the new company is a coup for Glenmark, but a setback for Gilead, which only appointed him as head of its oncology and cell therapeutics in January 2017.

Of its five clinical and three preclinical assets in development, three are currently in phase 2b, and another is set to enter phase 2b in 2020. The new, as-of-yet unnamed company's lead candidate is GBR 830, an anti-OX40R antibody in phase 2b development for moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis.

In a statement, Riva said he was excited to join a company committed to “entrepreneurial innovation” and with a diverse pipeline.

"I'm looking forward to bringing my experience to lead the company and work together with highly experienced teams to deliver first-in-class therapies to the patients who need them the most."

The new company's global locations include two R&D centres in Switzerland, its R&D centre in Mahape, Navi Mumbai, India and the GMP biologics manufacturing facility in Switzerland, with a global headcount of around 400 employees.

The departure of Riva will be a headache for Gilead’s new CEO, Daniel O’Day, who took over the role just last week.

Faced with contraction in its hepatitis C franchise, many expect O’Day to draw on his experience as Roche’s R&D to expand further into cancer therapies, a process which Riva began.

He played a lead role in acquiring CAR-T pioneers Kite Pharma and guiding the development of Gilead's broader oncology pipeline.

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

6th March 2019

From: Research

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