Kura Oncology Announces Transition of Chief Medical Officer

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kura Oncology, Inc. (Nasdaq: KURA), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of precision medicines for the treatment of cancer, today announced that Antonio Gualberto, M.D., Ph.D., will step down as Head of Development and Chief Medical Officer to pursue other opportunities. Bridget Martell, M.A., M.D., currently Vice President of Clinical Development at Kura, has been named acting Chief Medical Officer while the company completes an executive search. Dr. Gualberto plans to serve in an advisory capacity during the transition, which will take effect on February 7, 2020.

“Antonio has been a key contributor to the tipifarnib development program over the past five years,” said Troy Wilson, Ph.D., J.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Kura Oncology. “He is responsible for much of the underlying translational work that identified the biomarkers of activity, including the discovery of the CXCL12 pathway as a target of tipifarnib, which enabled us to achieve clinical proof of concept in multiple solid tumor and hematologic indications and provided the framework for our ongoing registrational strategies. We thank him for his many contributions to the company and wish him continued success in his future endeavors.

“Now, as we continue our pre-commercial efforts and prepare for the company’s next phase of growth,” Dr. Wilson continued, “we are very fortunate to have someone of Bridget’s caliber ready to step up and lead the clinical development organization. Bridget is a proven leader with broad expertise in drug development and a track record of success. Importantly, she has deep familiarity across our pipeline, having served as program lead for KO-539, our emerging menin-MLL inhibitor, for the past two years. I look forward to working even more closely with her in the months ahead as we seek to build on the potential opportunities for tipifarnib and maximize the value of our emerging pipeline.”

Dr. Martell began working with Kura as a consultant in November 2017 and joined the company as Vice President of Clinical Development in June 2018, bringing more than 18 years of experience in clinical development, regulatory and medical affairs. She has served in leadership roles of increasing responsibility at Pfizer and Juniper Pharmaceuticals, where she contributed to the development and approval of a number of products, including the renal adjuvant indication for the oncology drug Sutent®. Dr. Martell earned her B.S. in microbiology from Cornell University, her M.A. in molecular immunology from Boston University and her M.D. from the Chicago Medical School. She completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine and was an Internal Medicine chief resident and RWJ Faculty Clinical Scholar at Yale University. She is board certified in both internal and addiction medicine.

About Kura Oncology

Kura Oncology is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to realizing the promise of precision medicines for the treatment of cancer. The Company’s pipeline consists of small molecule drug candidates that target cancer signaling pathways where there is a strong scientific and clinical rationale to improve outcomes by identifying those patients most likely to benefit from treatment. Kura’s lead drug candidate is tipifarnib, a farnesyl transferase inhibitor, for which the Company is conducting a registration-directed trial in patients with recurrent or metastatic HRAS mutant head and neck squamous cell carcinomas and plans to conduct a second registration-directed trial in patients with relapsed or refractory angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma and related lymphomas. Kura’s pipeline also includes KO-947, an ERK inhibitor, and KO-539, a menin-MLL inhibitor, both of which are currently in Phase 1 dose-escalation trials. For additional information about Kura, please visit the Company’s website at www.kuraoncology.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to be materially different from historical results or from any future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements include statements regarding, among other things, Kura’s potential for growth and the anticipated provision of transitional advisory services. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially include the risk that compounds that appeared promising in early research or clinical trials do not demonstrate safety and/or efficacy in later preclinical studies or clinical trials, the risk that Kura Oncology may not obtain approval to market its product candidates, uncertainties associated with performing clinical trials, regulatory filings and applications, risks associated with reliance on third parties to successfully conduct clinical trials, the risks associated with reliance on outside financing to meet capital requirements, and other risks associated with the process of discovering, developing and commercializing drugs that are safe and effective for use as human therapeutics, and in the endeavor of building a business around such drugs. You are urged to consider statements that include the words “may,” “will,” “would,” “could,” “should,” “believes,” “estimates,” “projects,” “promise,” “potential,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipated,” “intends,” “continues,” “designed,” “goal,” or the negative of those words or other comparable words to be uncertain and forward-looking. For a further list and description of the risks and uncertainties the company faces, please refer to the company’s periodic and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available at www.sec.gov. Such forward-looking statements are current only as of the date they are made, and Kura Oncology assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.


Pete De Spain
Vice President, Investor Relations &
Corporate Communications
(858) 500-8803

Robert H. Uhl
Managing Director
Westwicke ICR
(858) 356-5932

Jason Spark
Managing Director
Canale Communications
(619) 849-6005

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