Jounce Names Ex-Ariad's Top Dealmaker as Its New CBO

Jounce Names Ex-Ariad's Top Dealmaker as Its New CBO August 16, 2017
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Jounce Therapeutics has tapped a former Ariad Pharmaceuticals executive as its new chief business officer.

The immunotherapy company has hired Hugh Cole as its new CBO and head of corporate development, Jounce announced Tuesday afternoon. The move comes about eight months after Jounce went public.

As Cole steps into his new role at Jounce, he brings more than 25 years of experience in biotech across business development, corporate strategy, R&D portfolio, program, and alliance management, commercial planning and execution, and overall corporate leadership, the company said in its announcement. The role at Jounce will be a familiar one to Cole, who also served as CBO at Ariad Pharmaceuticals before that company was acquired earlier this year by Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceuticals for $5.2 billion. As part of the deal, Takeda acquired the leukemia drug Iclusig, which became controversial during the 2016 presidential election over its pricing. Additionally, Takeda picked up the late-stage drug brigatinib, which is being developed for patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase positive (ALK+) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease is resistant to crizotinib.

At Ariad, Cole oversaw nine different business development deals, as well as developed and implemented that company’s corporate strategy. Before his time at Ariad, Cole was in charge of strategic planning at Shire PLC . He also served as head of corporate development at Oscient Pharmaceuticals and served as senior director of business development and strategy at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, according to the announcement.

“Hugh has tremendous experience and a great track record in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, with robust knowledge of oncology pipeline progression and commercial strategy. We are thrilled to welcome him to Jounce at a critical point in our drug development process,” Richard Murray, chief executive officer of Jounce Therapeutics, said in a statement. “As we continue with the clinical development of our lead program, JTX-2011, and progress our pipeline of innovative immunotherapies, it will be crucial to have Hugh’s business and strategic leadership, and portfolio management expertise.”

Cole is well-versed in commercializing drugs. While at Shire , he was responsible for the global commercialization of rare disease drug Firazyr.

In June, Jounce announced preliminary Phase I data that showed JTX-2011 was well tolerated in small doses when used as a monotherapy and in combination with nivolumab in patients with advanced solid tumors. A Phase II trial was announced earlier this year to test efficacy of its lead program. JTX-2011, a monoclonal antibody, is designed to target tumors displaying high percentages of ICOS-expressing infiltrating immune cells.

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