The biopharmaceutical company Antisense Pharma has announced the appointment of Dr. Philippe Calais as CEO.
The native-born Frenchman has more than two decades of international experience in executive positions in biotech and pharmaceutical companies - including Hofmann La-Roche and ICI Pharmaceuticals - and has successfully guided several medicines from their clinical development to their commercialization.
Dr. Calais steps in for interim Chief Executive Officer Dr. Hubert Heinrichs, who led the business on an interim basis in addition to his primary duties as Chief Medical Officer since July of last year.
Dr. Calais’ international drug development, business and capital market expertise convinced Antisense Pharma’s shareholders that his appointment as CEO will contribute to the added value of the company.
The new CEO brings expertise in international medicinal product development and commercialization to Antisense Pharma.
“With Dr. Calais, Antisense Pharma has gained an experienced global player in the pharmaceutical sector for its management board,” comments Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hubert Heinrichs.
Dr. Heinrichs continued, “During his professional career, he has been actively involved in all stages of the development of medicinal products, from discovery to clinical development, registration and commercialization. Dr. Calais has valuable experience in the creation of strategic partnerships and alliances in the biotech sector. His expertise in biotech organization management makes him the ideal executive for Antisense Pharma.”
“I am proud and honored to join Antisense Pharma to lead the company’s efforts in the new strategic direction,” Dr. Calais commented. “Trabedersen’s development package convinced me of the value of this drug candidate as I see its great potential in the fight against aggressive tumors.”
Strategic realignment should make Trabedersen available to more patients in a shorter time.
Antisense Pharma’s new CEO, Dr. Calais, sees this decision as a great opportunity for both the company and for patients suffering from cancer: “During recent years, the regulatory requirements for large late-stage clinical studies aiming for approval have increased so much that they can hardly be managed by a VC-financed biotech company alone. Antisense Pharma has elected to concentrate on preclinical and early-stage clinical studies to reach critical regulatory milestones faster in selected indications. We continue targeting the treatment of aggressive tumors for which the unmet medical need is very high. We will seek partnerships and/or funding from other biopharmaceutical companies or suitable investors to fund the late-stage clinical development of Trabedersen.”
Antisense Pharma’s main investor, MIG, is also very optimistic about the future. “Antisense Pharma remains more than ever a major investment opportunity. The company is the world leader in the development of antisense molecules against TGF-β2, an oncology target that is increasingly becoming the focus of research, medicine and industry,” says Dr. Matthias Kromayer, member of the Executive Board of MIG Verwaltungs AG.
Dr. Kromayer continued, “The positioning in a broader indication spectrum, combining the use of diverse treatment regimens with the deepening of the knowledge of the exact mode of action of Trabedersen not only reduces the entrepreneurial risk, but also increases the chances of successfully establishing partnerships for the product candidate. The experience and the profound knowledge of Dr. Philippe Calais will help Antisense Pharma to implement the most suitable strategic approach to expediently drive forward the development and commercialization of Trabedersen.”
This year, Antisense Pharma plans to start a Phase I-study with Trabedersen in the second-line treatment of pancreatic cancer.
In parallel, the company is already performing the preparatory work for its use in the first-line treatment of malignant brain tumors and pancreatic cancer.