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BioInvent CEO resigns in shift toward scientific leadership

October 25, 2017
Life sciences

Michael Oredsson will step down as CEO of BioInvent at the end the year. The company framed the decision as mutual and motivated by a desire to install a leader with more scientific experience.

BioInvent said both its board and Oredsson think now “is a good time for a change in leadership as the company is transitioning to a specific focus on clinical development and R&D.” The Swedish biotech moved candidates into the clinic during Oredsson’s reign with mixed results, but the CEO’s main task was to strike deals to extract value from its technologies and pipeline prospects.

Now, BioInvent is looking for a CEO with a different skillset. In a statement, Oredsson said the firm “needs more scientific skills in the CEO role.” If BioInvent fails to find and appoint such a leader by the end of the year, CSO Björn Frendéus will step up on an interim basis.

The new broom will inherit a clinical pipeline with one wholly owned asset—BI-1206—and two takes on the antibody BioInvent is developing with ThromboGenics and its spinoff Oncurious. BI-1206 is an anti-CD32b antibody currently being tested in phase 1/2 in non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients who are resistant to Rituxan.

BI-505 is the notable absentee from the list of clinical prospects. BioInvent took the multiple myeloma drug as far as phase 2, only for an adverse cardiopulmonary event, full clinical hold and subsequent unfavorable assessment of its risk-benefit profile to force it to can the program.

That setback marred Oredsson’s time as CEO.

Oredsson arrived at BioInvent in the wake of back-to-back failures in two other mid-phase trials with a remit to strike deals covering its technology and portfolio. BioInvent expanded its existing deals with Bayer and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma within six months of naming Oredsson as CEO, but the rate of activity tailed off after that initial burst.

The standout deal from the second half of Oredsson’s tenure was unveiled in December, when Pfizer made a $6 million investment in BioInvent and committed $4 million more in the form of early research funding and an upfront payment. In return, Pfizer is working with BioInvent on antibodies against tumor-associated myeloid cells.

If the five antibodies covered by the deal progress well, Oredsson’s legacy will be the up to $500 million in milestones BioInvent is in line to receive from Pfizer.

For now, Oredsson leaves a firm with superficial similarities to the one he joined. The stock price is similar to when he arrived and the company is again coming to terms with a mid-phase blow up. One big difference this time is Oredsson leaves his successor with a clinical-phase pipeline.

By Nick Paul Taylor

Source: Fierce Biotech

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