Effective Immediately: Bristol-Myers Squibb Exec to Take the Reins at Kleo

Published: Jun 12, 2017

Effective Immediately: Bristol-Myers Squibb Exec to Take the Reins at Kleo June 9, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Kleo Pharmaceuticals, headquartered in New Haven, Conn., announced that Douglas Manion will join the company as chief executive officer, effective immediately.

Manion was previously senior vice president of Specialty Development of Bristol-Myers Squibb . He has had several roles at Bristol-Myers since 2005. Before that he held positions at GlaxoSmithKline and DuPont Pharmaceuticals. He received his medical degree from the University of Ottawa, Canada and completed training in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, then conducted a post-doctoral fellowship in bench and clinical research in HIV/AIDS at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

“Doug brings an incredible wealth of drug discovery and development expertise and experience to the Kleo team,” said Declan Doogan, Kleo’s chairman of the board, in a statement. “Without a doubt, the addition of Doug will further accelerate Kleo’s place as a leader in the field of immunotherapy be it in cancer, infectious diseases or other areas of high unmet medical need.”

Manion is replacing David Spiegel, co-founder of Kleo. Spiegel will take on the role of president.

Kleo Pharmaceuticals is focused on immunotherapy, developing small molecules that emulate biologics. The company holds the worldwide master license to the small molecule immunotherapy technologies patented by Yale University. It is also the recipient of the 2015 Boehringer Ingelheim Innovation Prize. The company was founded in 2015. A private company, it completed a Series A financing round in September 1, 2016 for an undisclosed amount from Biohaven Pharmaceutical.

The company’s technology is based on Antibody Recruiting Molecules (ARMs) and Synthetic Antibody Recruiting Molecules (SyAMs). They are being developed to treat cancer and infectious diseases. Both Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding and Kleo spun out of intellectual property arising from Yale University. In a statement in September 2016, David Spiegel, said, “Biologics have been the gold standards for immunotherapies. With ARMs and SyAMs, we have the opportunity to raise that bar. Our ability to rationally design and synthesize small molecules that emulate the functionality of biologics represents a great advancement in the field. Our molecules are hundreds of times lighter than their biological counterparts and thus may infiltrate tissue more efficiently than large proteins.”

As well as the financing, the two companies inked a clinical development master services agreement that leverages both companies’ strengths. Kleo’s expertise is in chemistry discovery. Biohaven’s is in pharmaceutical clinical development. Its management comes from the pharmaceutical industry, including experience at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer and Alexion Pharmaceuticals . Biohaven took a substantial equity stake in Kleo.

At the time, Vlad Coric, chief executive officer of Biohaven, said in a statement, “Strategic investments and partnerships like the one we are embarking upon with Kleo are a highly efficient way for small biotech companies to share risk and create value for its investors. Biohaven is funding a novel and potentially paradigm shifting technology in the cutting edge field of immune-based therapies, and also lending our clinical development expertise to Kleo.”

Manion will help lead the company’s work in advancing the company’s technology.

“I am thrilled to join Kleo Pharmaceuticals as it accelerates its quest to provide novel immunotherapies for patients with high unmet medical need,” Manion said in a statement. “The science is so compelling. I look forward to partnering with the scientists at Kleo led by David Spiegel and the rest of the team, in advancing a truly innovative approach to enlist patients’ own immune systems to fight serious disease.”

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