Former Agios Executive to Take Over Deciphera After CEO Steps Down

CEO in office looking out window

After five years at the reins, Mike Taylor will step down from his role as president and chief executive officer of Waltham, Mass.-based Deciphera Pharmaceuticals. Taylor’s last day in the role will by March 18, the company announced late Monday.

Steve Hoerter, the chief commercial officer of Agios Pharmaceuticals, will take over the top spot of Deciphera. Hoerter has been serving as a member of the company’s board of directors. Taylor will assist Hoerter through the transition for a period of about six months, the company said in its announcement.

Taylor took over the helm of Deciphera in 2014. During his five years as president and CEO, he has guided the company’s oncology pipeline to have to Phase III candidates that could become approved products. In the fall of 2018, Deciphera completed enrollment of the Phase III INVICTUS study f DCC-2618, a broad-spectrum KIT and PDGFRα inhibitor, in fourth-line and fourth-line-plus gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) patients. At the time of the announcement in November, Taylor said the company anticipates the report of top-line data by the middle of 2019. If the results are successful, he said that would support filing a New Drug Application for full approval in fourth-line and fourth-line-plus GIST patients.

The company also initiated a Phase III study in second-line GIST patients who have progressed or are intolerant to front-line therapy with imatinib, including those with any KIT or PDGFRα mutation.

Taylor also oversaw the initial public offering of the company in 2017.

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James A Bristol, chairman of the board of directors at Deciphera, touted the work accomplished by Taylor during his time at the helm of the company. Bristol said that since Taylor took over as CEO in 2014, the company has transitioned from an “early-stage private company into a public company with two ongoing pivotal Phase III studies, multiple promising clinical product candidates, and a robust discovery engine.” Bristol noted that Taylor’s departure comes as the company prepares for a potential transition into a commercial-stage oncology company, one that Hoerter will be able to handle.

“Steve’s significant contributions as an existing member of our board of directors give us great confidence that he will be an exceptional CEO who will lead Deciphera to continued success as we seek to become a commercial oncology company,” Bristol said of Hoerter.

Hoerter joins the executive ranks of Deciphera with more than 25 years of global pharmaceutical and biotechnology sales, product launch and general management experience. In addition to his most recent role as CCO of Agios, Hoerter has held senior commercial positions at leading oncology companies including Agios, Clovis, Roche, Genentech, Chiron and Eli Lilly.

“This is an exciting time at Deciphera as we prepare for the read-out of our first Phase III trial of ripretinib and the potential transition to a commercial-stage company. I am honored to succeed Mike as CEO, and to lead Deciphera as we rapidly advance our portfolio of transformative product candidates with the goal of improving the lives of people living with cancer. Together with the great team at Deciphera, I look forward to building on the strong science and patient-focused culture of the company,” Hoerter said.

Taylor noted that he was proud of all that the Deciphera team has accomplished in his five years as CEO. He touted the experience of Taylor and said he will be the “right person” to lead Deciphera into its next phase as a commercial oncology company.

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