Mathai Mammen Finds New Home at FogPharma
Pictured: A CEO heads a boardroom meeting/courtesy of Getty Images
Mammen will formally assume his post as CEO, chairman and president of FogPharma in June 2023, but will serve as an advisor to the company effective immediately. Gregory Verdine, current chairman and CEO of FogPharma, will transition into his new role as vice chairman of the company’s board of directors.
Mammen’s appointment comes as FogPharma marches toward the clinic. Its lead asset, FOG-001, is a first-and-only-in-class molecule that blocks the β-catenin protein. The company expects to file an Investigational New Drug application for FOG-001 by mid-2023.
FOG-001 was discovered using the company’s proprietary tandem discovery engines, which combine a variety of cutting-edge technologies to design and synthesize FogPharma’s signature therapeutic molecules called Helicon polypeptides.
Based on the α-helix structure in proteins, the company’s Helicon polypeptides combine the oral availability and intracellular action of small-molecule drugs with the specificity of antibody therapies. This functionality is what allows FOG-001 to target β-catenin’s protein – protein interaction inside a cell, Mammen said in a statement.
Aside from its β-catenin program, FogPharma is studying several other cancer targets, including the TEAD, RAS and ERG pathways.
Track Record and Legal Issues
Before landing FogPharma’s top post, Mammen led J&J’s R&D division, where he helped maneuver the company through several pivotal moments, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under his leadership, J&J notched several crucial regulatory approvals, including for Tremfya (guselkumab) in psoriatic arthritis, Carvykti (ciltacabtagene autoleucel) for multiple myeloma and Rybrevant (amivantama-vmjw) for non-small cell lung cancer.
Mammen’s R&D team also oversaw the 2019 approval of Spravato (esketamine), a nasal spray therapeutic for refractory major depressive disorder that works by non-competitively targeting the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. At the time, Spravato was hailed as the first new approach for this indication in nearly 50 years.
Still, Mammen’s tenure at J&J was not without controversy. In December 2020, former J&J employee Gina Bilotti filed a lawsuit against her employer and accused top executives, including Mammen, of gender discrimination. The company denied these allegations and settled with Bilotti in 2022.
Prior to J&J, Mammen had also served in various leadership positions at Merck and Theravance.
Clarification - April 3, 2023: This story has been updated from its original version to clarify that FogPharma has selected FOG-001 as the IND candidate for its β-catenin program.