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As Merck boosts R&D pact, NGM Bio gains Genentech, Lilly veteran as new R&D chief

March 20, 2019
Life sciences

It’s a pretty good news day for NGM Bio: Merck doubled down on its R&D pact, and it’s nabbed a Genentech executive to help run its trials.

The biotech sees Hsiao D. Lieu, M.D., become its new senior vice president and CMO, poaching him from Genentech, where he was VP of early clinical development at the Roche subsidiary for its noncancer work, including ophthalmology, metabolic, neurology and inflammation. Before Genentech, he was at Eli Lilly, working across several therapy areas.

Now, he’s taking the plunge into biotech waters, overseeing the clinical development of NGM’s pipeline, which includes its midstage NASH hopeful NGM282.

He takes over from Alex DePaoli, M.D., who had been NGM’s founding CMO and moves into a new role of SVP, chief translational officer.

CEO David Woodhouse said, “We are thrilled to welcome Hsiao to the NGM team. As we progress NGM282 into phase 2b studies in NASH in addition to several additional clinical programs, we look forward to leveraging Hsiao’s extensive experience leading early and late-stage clinical development across multiple therapeutic areas relevant to NGM.”

“I am excited to join NGM at this important time, given the company’s impressive scientific foundation and significant potential to help tackle some of today’s most critical unmet medical needs,” added Lieu.

“NGM has unlocked novel insights about powerful human biology and, in a relatively short amount of time, has transformed these findings into a deep pipeline of novel, first-in-class medicines for multiple therapeutic areas and diseases. I look forward to working closely with Alex and the rest of the team as we continue to translate NGM’s ongoing scientific accomplishments into potential breakthrough therapies for patients.”

Lieu joins Dave Goeddel, the first scientist hired at Genentech, who runs the biotech’s board of directors, with former Genentech CEO Art Levinson also on the biotech’s scientific advisory board.

This also comes on the same day NGM announced partner Merck will add two more years to its research pact with the biotech, although the shine was slightly less buffed after the Big Pharma also announced it was culling work on an NGM obesity drug, coming after it failed to make the grade in an early test last year.

The biotech filed for a $75 million IPO last year.

By Ben Adams

Source: Fierce Biotech

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