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Ex-Sanofi executive to head up translational medicine at LEO Pharma

January 28, 2019
Life sciences

LEO Pharma has hired on Thomas Hultsch as its new head of translational medicine. Hultsch will build LEO Pharma’s translational medicine presence in the U.S. and Europe, which includes overseeing the creation of a new translational medicine unit in Boston.

Hultsch most recently led translational medicine at Sanofi US as a senior director. He has also headed up R&D at Allergopharma and served as a clinical lead for dermatology programs at Sanofi Genzyme.

“Thomas Hultsch comes to LEO Pharma with an extensive network within immune dermatology in the US and Europe as well as an impressive track record of initiating successful scientific collaborations,” said Per Sproegel, vice president of medical science at LEO Pharma, in a statement. “With his appointment as Head of LEO Pharma’s new Translational Medicine Unit in Boston, we are ready to take translational medicine at LEO Pharma to the next level in terms of being a science-driven and patient-focused company.”

LEO’s mission is to “help 125 million patients [with skin diseases] by 2025.” The new translational medicine group in Boston will help it achieve that, said Kim Kjoeller, LEO’s EVP for global R&D, in the statement.

Hultsch’s appointment comes six months after LEO Pharma agreed to acquire Bayer’s prescription dermatology business, which pulled in €280 million ($328 million) in 2017 sales. The deal included the topical acne drug Skinoren, fungal skin infections dual Travogen and Travocort, rosacea remedy Finacea and several topical steroids, including Advantan, Nerisona and Desonate.

Financial details were not disclosed, but the assets could sell for as much as $1.1 billion, according to reports around the time Bayer first looked at selling its prescription dermatology unit. LEO took over sales and marketing for the assets in 14 countries, as well as 450 employees.

On the R&D side, LEO inked a deal with Pellepharm in November that could be worth up to $760 million. The Danish company handed over $70 million in equity financing and R&D support to bankroll a global phase 3 trial of Pellepharm’s patidegib, a topical gel that blocks the hedgehog path way to treat Gorlin syndrome.

“Supporting our ambitious 2025 strategy, it marks LEO Pharma’s entrance in rare skin diseases and it offers a unique opportunity to bring the first treatment forward to people suffering from a very severe skin disease for which there currently are no approved therapies,” said Thorsten Thormann, LEO’s VP of research, in the statement.

By Amirah Al Idrus

Source: Fierce Biotech

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