Sector News

Genentech oncology head jumps ship to Bellicum as CEO

January 31, 2017
Life sciences

As David Epstein moved from Novartis’ cancer unit to VC Flagship and Alessandro Riva also left the Swiss major for an exec role at Gilead in the last few weeks, Rick Fair has become the latest to leave a Big Pharma as he exits as head of oncology at Roche/Genentech to become the new CEO and president of Texas biotech Bellicum.

Fair, who played a key role in the launch of five SMEs at the company, including Roche’s new I-O med Tecentriq, joins Bellicum as it prepares its global regulatory and commercial strategy for its leading phase 1/2 med BPX-501 in blood cancers, as well as advancing its pipeline of controlled CAR-T and TCR product candidates.

Fair succeeds Tom Farrell, who will serve as an adviser to the company “during the transition,” according to a statement from Bellicum.

The biotech banked $140 million in an upsized, above-its-range IPO back in 2014. Perhaps not as well-known as the likes of Kite Pharma and Juno as well as Novartis, Bellicum believes its approach to immunotherapy makes it a standout in the fast-crowding space, which could see the first-ever approved CAR-T this year.

Each of the biotech’s CAR-T candidates uses technology derived from BPX-501, a T cell therapy designed to ward off graft-versus-host disease in patients undergoing stem cell transplants.

The company’s platform comes with a so-called ‘safety switch’ which it says can mute unwanted transplant reactions like cytokine release syndrome, a common response to CAR-T therapy that had occasionally proven fatal in early studies.

“We are delighted to welcome Rick to Bellicum,” said James Brown, chair of the biotech.

“Rick’s depth and breadth of experience in oncology, clinical development strategy and commercialization, both in the U.S. and internationally, will be of great value as we prepare for commercialization of our lead product candidate BPX-501, accelerate our pipeline of CAR T and TCR product candidates, and solidify our leadership in the development of controllable cell therapies.”

“I am both honored and thrilled to join Bellicum at this exciting time,” added Fair, who also spent a number of years at Johnson & Johnson’s pharma unit.

“Cellular immunotherapies have shown great promise in treating cancers and blood disorders. Bellicum is the leader in molecular switch technologies, has advanced multiple novel and highly differentiated therapies into the clinic, and is preparing to bring its first product to market.”

By Ben Adams

Source: Fierce Biotech

comments closed

Related News

January 29, 2023

Colorcon, Inc. signs Put agreement with intent to acquire controlled atmosphere packaging specialist Airnov Healthcare Packaging

Life sciences

Airnov provides critical healthcare industries with high-quality, controlled atmosphere packaging, to protect their products from moisture and oxygen. The business has manufacturing facilities in the USA, France, China and India and employs around 700 people.

January 29, 2023

Takeda pledges up to $1.13B for rights to Hutchmed’s cancer drug fruquintinib outside of China

Life sciences

Takeda of Japan has partnered with Hong Kong-based Hutchmed, gaining the commercial rights to colorectal cancer drug fruquintinib outside of China for $400 million up front, plus $730 million in potential milestone payments. Takeda also will help develop fruquintinib, which can be applied to subtypes of refractory metastatic colorectal cancer, regardless of biomarker status, the companies said.

January 29, 2023

Vir taps Bayer dealmaker Marianne De Backer as its next CEO

Life sciences

On April 3, Scangos, who’s been chief executive officer at Vir since the start of 2017, will hand over the reins to Marianne De Backer, Ph.D. De Backer comes over from Bayer, where she currently heads up pharmaceutical strategy, business development and licensing. Alongside her CEO appointment, De Backer is set to join Vir’s board of directors, the company said Wednesday.

How can we help you?

We're easy to reach