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UK biotech Artios Pharma appoints new medical director

Joins from senior role at Lilly

artios

UK-based Artios Pharma has unveiled Dr Ian Smith, former Lilly and AstraZeneca clinical development leader, as its new chief medical officer.

Based at the well-known Babraham Research Campus just outside Cambridge, UK, Artios was launched in 2016 by chief executive Niall Martin and chief scientific officer Graeme Smith, and attracted $84m in financial backing last August from a host of independent and pharma-backed venture capital funds.

That's because Niall Martin and Graeme Smith are world-leading experts in the field of DNA damage response (DDR) pathways, and were instrumental in developing olaparib, the first DDR inhibitor, AstraZeneca's fast-growing oncology treatment Lynparza.

Dr Ian Smith has been recruited from his senior medical director role at Lilly, where he oversaw the clinical development and regulatory approvals in the firm's oncology franchise, and before that he had served for eight years in AstraZeneca's oncology clinical development. He will focus on helping Artios progress its pipeline of first-in-class DNA damage response (DDR) therapies.

The company is developing a next generation of DDR therapies, targeting mechanisms such as the down-regulation or loss of certain DNA repair pathways.

Ian Smith

Dr Ian Smith

The company says the programmes in its pipeline “have the ability to kill cancer cells as single agents, or to sensitise cancer cells to radiotherapy and other DNA-damaging agents, including novel treatments, such as PARP inhibitors or immunotherapies”.

Smith will take a leading a role within these programmes, particularly during the preclinical and clinical development stages.

“The Artios pipeline offers one of the most exciting approaches to cancer treatment,” said Smith.

“I look forward to working with the rest of the management team and world-leading Clinical Advisory Board, to progress our pipeline of DDR therapies, particularly Polθ which has multiple opportunities to treat some difficult cancers, providing new treatment options for patients.”

The company’s chief Niall Martin can call on his experience of previous success in the field - still relatively rare among UK biotech entrepreneurs in the UK - having sold oncology biotech KuDOS Pharma to AstraZeneca back in 2005, along with the rights to what would become Lynparza.

Niall Martin said: “Ian brings a wealth of experience in advancing oncology compounds from early to late stage clinical development and through to market. With his expertise, and the guidance we will receive from our newly formed Clinical Advisory Board, Artios is in a strong position to accelerate the development of its pipeline of highly promising first-in-class DDR therapies.”

The company has also announced the formation of a new clinical advisory board, appointing five eminent clinical oncologists Professor Jonathan Ledermann (UCL, London), Professor Johann de Bono (The Institute of Cancer Research, London), Professor Andrew Tutt (KCL and the ICR, London), Professor Kevin Harrington (ICR, London), and Professor Geoff Shapiro (Dana-Farber, US).

2nd April 2019

From: Sales

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