Novartis, Lilly-backed Cavion poaches Teva executive as R&D head

Cavion got off a $26.1 million series A financing this year with Lilly Ventures, Novartis Venture Fund and Enso Ventures.

Spyridon "Spyros" Papapetropoulos has joined the ranks of small, neurological disease-focused biotech Cavion as EVP of research and development and CMO.

The Charlottesville, Virginia-based company has taken on Papapetropoulos from struggling Teva, where he was most recently VP of global specialty development, neurodegenerative diseases, movement disorders and clinical trial innovation.

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He’s also managed neuroscience research and medical affairs programs at Pfizer, as well as held roles at Allergan and Biogen, and joins the growing ranks of former Big Pharma execs marching into biotech roles.

Papapetropoulos will now lead Cavion’s R&D ops, namely its therapies based on the company’s T-type calcium channel (Cav3) platform, which aims to restore the brain’s natural rhythms.

“Spyros joins the Cavion team at an exciting time. He is an experienced leader with a passion for conducting innovative trials that deliver new treatment options to patients with neurological diseases with limited treatment options,” said Cavion CEO and President Andrew Krouse.

He added that Papapetropoulos would also help boost Cavion’s presence in the Boston/Cambridge area.

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Papapetropoulos added: “Cavion’s selective Cav3 modulating platform, which includes best-in-class clinical stage compounds, is expected to restore rhythmic neuronal firing in brain regions associated with a variety of chronic neurological diseases.

“I look forward to working closely with Cavion’s team to apply innovative but empathetic approaches to achieving clinical breakthroughs. Our end goal is to bring safe, effective and accessible treatments to people with chronic neurological diseases, quickly and efficiently.”

Back in January, Cavion got off a $26.1 million series A financing with Lilly Ventures, Novartis Venture Fund and Enso Ventures.

Cav3 works by mediating thalamocortical dysrhythmia, and is slated to work in a host of neurological diseases such as essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease, neuropathic pain, and epilepsy, as well as orphan neurodevelopmental and genetic disorders such as Angelman and Dravet syndromes.

Cavion says it is will working on a “robust” proof-of-concept phase 2 for its Cav3 inhibitor CX-8998 in essential tremor, the most common movement disorder, which has more than 10 million patients in the U.S.

The biotech has also been cosponsoring a phase 1 trial of mibefradil, combined with hypofractionated radiation therapy, for recurrent glioblastoma with the Yale University Comprehensive Cancer Center.