Sector News

Alessandro Riva to leave Gilead to lead Glenmark spinoff

March 6, 2019
Life sciences

Alessandro Riva is set to leave Gilead to take up the CEO role at Glenmark Pharmaceuticals’ new spinoff. The Indian drugmaker’s hiring coup leaves Gilead without the oncology leader that oversaw its takeover of Kite Pharma and push into CAR-T.

Riva arrived at Gilead at the start of 2017 with a brief to energize its floundering oncology unit by swiftly identifying and landing takeover targets. Within eight months of Riva’s arrival, Gilead unveiled its $11.9 billion takeover of Kite Pharma. The deal established Gilead as the chief rival to Novartis, the former employer of Riva, in the emerging CAR-T sector.

Now, Riva is moving on again. The appointment puts Riva in charge of a spinout from Glenmark, an Indian pharma company best known for its generics business. Glenmark outlined plans to spin off its pipeline of novel drugs, three R&D centers and production plant into a new company last month.

Riva will run this 400-person, eight-asset spinoff. Phase 2b atopic dermatitis and non-opioid pain drugs—anti-OX40R antibody GBR 830 and mPGES-1 inhibitor GRC 27864—are the most advanced assets in the Glenmark pipeline. But oncology prospects, and specifically bispecifics developed using Glenmark’s BEAT platform, form the core of the pipeline Riva will inherit.

Half of the assets are in oncology, with the rest split evenly between immunology and pain. Three of the oncology drugs are bispecific antibodies, a modality that threatens to steal the thunder of CAR-Ts by delivering comparable efficacy without the toxicity, logistical complications and associated costs.

The pipeline of bispecifics is led by HER2xCD3 drug GBR 1302 and CD38xCD3 asset GBR 1342, which are in phase 1 in HER2-positive cancers and multiple myeloma, respectively. Teams at Amgen, Roche and other drug developers have explored targeting CD3 in addition to HER2 or CD38 as a way to stimulate T cell-mediated killing, thereby countering resistance and otherwise boosting efficacy.

Glenmark has another CD3 bispecific, which targets EGFR, back in preclinical testing as a treatment for colorectal cancer. The fourth cancer asset is a small molecule “based on tumor antigen presenting biology.”

Riva is set to leave Gilead to take charge of these assets at the end of the month. The timing means new Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day will spend some of the early part of his tenure trying to fill the hole in the leadership team created by Riva’s departure.

Glenmark expects the transfer of assets to its spin-out company to take 6 to 9 months. Beyond that, the spin-out will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Glenmark with an independent board and CEO.

By Nick Paul Taylor

Source: Fierce Biotech

comments closed

Related News

September 25, 2022

Rise of the machines: Novo Nordisk pledges $200M to create first quantum computer for life sciences

Life sciences

Big Pharma has long seen the potential for AI and machine learning to accelerate drug development. But Novo Nordisk is going a step further by channeling $200 million toward the creation of a computer that will outrun anything in existence.

September 25, 2022

Mount Sinai AI uncovers new brain analysis method to predict dementia, Alzheimer’s disease

Life sciences

Current methods for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease rely on a complex combination of self- and caregiver-reported symptoms, a physical examination and either a PET scan or a spinal tap to look for evidence of amyloid plaque build-ups in the brain. But a new artificial intelligence-based method may make the diagnostic process a much more objective one.

September 25, 2022

New AstraZeneca-backed report finds big money behind diverse owners and entrepreneurs in Europe

Life sciences

There is lots of talk about diversity and inclusion in business, including in pharma and medtech. A new report by the Open Political Economy Network (OPEN), a think tank focusing on migration and diversity, released its “Minority Businesses Matter: Europe” report highlighting the successes and challenges of ethnic minority-owned businesses in Europe.