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F-star hires ex-BMS immuno-oncology leader

New CMO to oversee development of lead candidate

LK

UK biotech F-star has appointed Louis Kayitalire, MD, as its new Chief Medical Officer (CMO), wooing him from a senior role in BMS’ immuno-oncology research divison.

Dr Kayitalire has over 20 years’ experience in oncology and immuno-oncology (IO) including spells at Celgene and Eli Lilly as well as BMS.

Dr Kayitalire’s background will be of benefit to F-star, as it looks to advance its bispecific antibody pipeline in oncology.

Hewill oversee the clinical development of F-star’s lead product candidate, FS118, a LAG-3/PD-L1-targeting tetravalent bispecific antibody currently in aphase 1 clinical trial, recruiting the expansion cohorts of the two highest dose levels.

Another key role for him will be in leading the clinical strategy and operations for F-star’s pipeline of potential first- and best-in-class immuno-oncology bispecific antibody therapeutics, including FS120 and FS222.

These two proprietary product candidates are currently in cGMP production and on track for investigational new drug application submissions this year.

Louis Kayitalire said: “This is an exciting time for me to join F-star as the company pivots to a wholly-owned portfolio strategy and accelerates the clinical development of its pipeline. As we saw at the recent ASCO meeting, bispecific antibodies are leading a paradigm shift in cancer care and the potential to improve the outcome for cancer patients has never been greater. I believe F-star is ideally positioned to become the next leader in this field.”

F-star says Dr Kayitalire has strong commercial acumen to complement his extensive clinical expertise, with a track record in developing and delivering clinical research programmes and ensuring alignment with overall medical and commercial strategies.

Dr Kayitalire completed his medical training at Butare University, Rwanda and later held a position as Assistant Professor in Oncology at the Paris XI University of France. He is an active member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

F-star says this newly created management position will be crucial toitstransition to a wholly-owned portfolio strategy.The Cambridge, UK-based firm gained a new CEO in November last year, when Eliot Forster joined the firm from Oxford-based Immunocore.

Eliot Forster, CEO of F-star, said: “We are delighted to welcome Louis to the F-star team. His oncology expertise and extensive experience advancing clinical research programmes will be invaluable at this stage in F-star’s evolution as we accelerate development of our lead product candidate, FS118, and work to rapidly progress more assets into the clinic.”

From: PME

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