Infinity Pharma (INFI) Promotes a Handful of Execs, Announces Retirement of R&D Head Effective Jan. 6
1/4/2017 6:36:43 AM
January 4, 2017
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Julian Adams, head of research and development at Infinity Pharmaceuticals (INFI) is leaving the company after 13 years in the position. His last day is Jan. 6, the company announced this morning.
Adams said this was the right time to retire from Infinity, particularly following the licensing transfer of duvelisib to Verastem (VSTM). Duvelisib, was Infinity’s investigational, oral, dual inhibitor of phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K)-delta and PI3K-gamma.
That transaction came several months after duvelisib failed in a Phase II trial. In its Phase II study, duvelisib demonstrated an overall response rate of 46 percent, but they were all partial responses, the company said in a statement at the time. That setback forced the company to terminate 46 jobs, about 21 percent of its workforce.
Adams also touted the company’s Phase I study evaluating IPI-549 both as a monotherapy and in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY)’s Opdivo.
“The Phase 1 study builds on strong preclinical research which was recently published in two Nature articles. I have the utmost confidence in Infinity's clinical team to successfully advance IPI-549, and I wish everyone at Infinity success with this potentially first-in-class development candidate,” he said in a statement.
IPI-549 is an oral immuno-oncology development candidate that selectively inhibits PI3K-gamma.
Adelene Perkins, Infinity’s chief executive officer, praised Adams for his contributions to the company.
“Julian has made significant contributions to Infinity, building and leading a strong R&D organization, including the team that discovered IPI-549. Julian's scientific acumen and desire to improve treatments for people fighting cancer will continue to be a source of inspiration for everyone at the company as we advance IPI-549. We wish Julian all the best following his retirement from Infinity," Perkins said in a statement.
Adams will be replaced by Lawrence Bloch, who will retain responsibility for the finance, business development, corporate communications and investor relations functions at Infinity. Also, Bloch will assume responsibility for pharmaceutical development as well as facilities operations, the company said. Bloch joined Infinity as chief financial officer and chief business officer in 2012.
While Infinity framed Adams’ departure as a retirement, Endpoints’ Arsalan Arif speculated that Adams will pop up again at another company. His departure from Infinity came within days of earning payment for a $249,000 retention bonus, Arif reported.
In addition to Bloch’s promotion, the company announced it had promoted Claudio Dansky Ullmann to senior vice president of clinical development. Dansky Ullmann joined Infinity as vice president, clinical development in 2015 and has since led Infinity's clinical development team, the company said. Prior to Infinity, Dansky Ullmann served as a senior medical director at Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TKPYY) from 2012 to 2015.
Other appointments made by Infinity include the promotion of Joseph Pearlberg to vice president of clinical development and Melissa Hackel to vice president of finance.
Perkins said the company’s new leadership team is well placed to enable the advancement of IPI-549.
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