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Tillman Pearce appointed chief medical officer at Threshold Pharmaceuticals

Former director of oncology clinical research at Novartis joins Threshold after it enters cancer research deal with Merck KGaA

Threshold Pharmacuetical has appointed Dr Tillman Pearce as its new chief medical officer and a key part of his new role will be to oversee the firm's cancer research partnership with Merck KGaA.

Pearce most recently served as chief medical officer at KaloBios Pharmaceuticals, and before that held a number of other senior industry roles, including director of oncology clinical research for Sandoz/Novartis and medical director at Sanofi-Synthelabo's oncology business unit.

At Threshold he replaces Dr Sam Saks who had been interim chief medical officer since the death of Dr John Curd in spring, 2011.

Pearce joins at a crucial time for the San Francisco-based biotech, with the company having recently announced a $750m deal with German-based Merck KGaA to develop and commercialise novel cancer treatment TH-302, which is designed to only work in tissue with low levels of oxygen. Tumour tissue has lower levels of oxygen than healthy tissue due to restricted blood vessel growth, so TH-302 should be able to effectively target tumours.

“Dr Pearce's experience in oncology drug development, from the perspectives of large pharmaceutical as well as smaller entrepreneurial biotech companies, will be a significant addition to Threshold,” said Threshold's CEO, Dr Barry Selick.

Pearce said of Threshold's drug prospect: “TH-302 has the potential to significantly benefit cancer patients and I'm looking forward to playing a role in supporting the development of this promising drug candidate."

21st February 2012

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