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Kymab announces Merck exec Simon Sturge as new CEO

Published on: 08/04/19

UK-based biotech Kymab has identified Merck KGaA executive Simon Sturge as its new Chief Executive Officer, taking over the reins from current CEO and Cambridge Antibody Technology co-founder David Chiswell effective 1 May.

The decision marks a next chapter in an international career spanning more than three decades in pharma and biotechnology; Sturge most recently served at Merck as its Executive Vice President Global Strategy, Business Development & Global Operations.

“We are delighted that such an experienced leader as Simon will lead Kymab to its next stage of growth,” commented non-Executive Chair Martin Nicklasson. “Led by Simon, Kymab will continue to progress its innovative portfolio of products through the clinic and to market, driving our strategy to transform patients’ lives. This appointment is part of Kymab’s strategy to position itself for long-term success, building on the incredibly strong R&D foundation of the Company. We’d also like to thank David for many years of leadership at Kymab as CEO and previously as Chair – his leadership has been instrumental to the Company’s evolution.”

Outgoing CEO Chiswell added: “It has been rewarding to guide Kymab through a period of significant growth. Kymab is now a recognised leader in the antibody space, with an extensive pipeline and two lead candidates in the clinic. I have known Simon for some years and I am pleased to hand over the reins to him.  Simon is highly experienced and well positioned to lead Kymab and its exceptional staff, pipeline and partnerships, as it continues to discover and develop transformative antibody therapies for patients in need.”

With the announcement of his new position, Sturge was praised for driving “continued growth in global sales at Merck KGaA, as well as the commercial launches of Bavencio in solid tumours and Mavenclad for relapsing multiple sclerosis” over his past five years with the company. Prior to his current role at Merck, he also served as Chief Operating Officer of Merck Healthcare, managing the company’s global commercial and manufacturing operations.

Earlier in his career, Sturge also worked at Boehringer Ingelheim as Corporate Senior Vice President, Biopharmaceuticals, and as CEO at a number of healthcare firms including Celltech Biologics.

Sturge himself remarked on the news of his appointment: “I am excited to have this opportunity to head Kymab at such a transformative time in its development. With its competitive antibody research platforms and evolving clinical pipeline, Kymab is well positioned as it progresses into an integrated discovery and development company.”

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