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Immunomedics’ whirlwind in the C-suite continues

Published on: 18/04/18

Immunomedics hasn’t had the most straight forward year, its $2 billion deal with Seattle Genetics was scuppered by activist investors, which eventually led to CEO, Cynthia Sullivan, and CSO, David Goldenberg, heading to the door.

Not long prior to this maelstrom, the company had lost its CFO, Peter Pfreundschuh, who decided to pursue other opportunities – ending up at Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, just before Mallinckrodt swooped to acquire it.

Now, it will be hoping, under the leadership of former Celgene veteran, Michael Pehl, that it can achieve some stability at the leadership level of the company. It made a move to consolidate in this direction by securing the services of Robert Iannone (pictured) as Chief Medical Officer and Head of R&D, who arrives from AstraZeneca.

At AstraZeneca, Iannone had been Head of Immono-oncology after having previously worked for over six years in oncology at MSD.

“Immunomedics has a unique and highly differentiated ADC pipeline and platform technology. I am very excited to be joining the Company to help develop sacituzumab govitecan and other pipeline assets, to be foundational therapies in a wide variety of hard-to-treat solid cancer indications, in both early- and late-line settings, including the potential for combining with immune checkpoint inhibitors and other targeted cancer therapies,” remarked Iannone.

Immunomedics will be hoping that he can use his knowledge of playing a significant role in bringing AZ’s immunotherapy Imfinzi to market to bear on its lead candidate, IMMU-132. From his statement, it also looks like the company may be assessing its options to combine the lead candidate with the PD-1/L1 treatments on the market.

IMMU-132 was at the centre of a legal wrangle between Seattle Genetics and Immunomedics, after the former had agreed a $2 billion deal for the antibody-drug conjugate but activist investors, from venBio, argued that the deal was rushed and undervalued.

Investors agreed and forced major changes at the company that have led to it going alone in the development of IMMU-132, with a FDA BLA application penned in for the end of May for the treatment of metastatic triple negative breast cancer.

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