Adaptimmune CEO Noble to retire, CFO Rawcliffe steps up to the plate

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Rawcliffe joined Adaptimmune in March 2015, about a year after the company inked an R&D pact with GlaxoSmithKline potentially worth more than $350 million. (Pixabay)

After a global search, Adaptimmune has found its next CEO at home: Chief Financial Officer Adrian Rawcliffe will take over in September when CEO and co-founder James Noble retires. The T-cell therapy specialist is now on the hunt for a new CFO. 

“We were very fortunate to have Adrian as a candidate, not only given his role as CFO, covering a wide range of responsibilities from manufacturing to information management, but also his previous experiences at [GlaxoSmithKline]. … Adrian will now lead the company towards commercialization,” said David Mott, chairman of Adaptimmune’s board, in a statement. 

Rawcliffe joined Adaptimmune in March 2015, about a year after the company inked an R&D pact with GlaxoSmithKline potentially worth more than $350 million. He had worn various hats at GSK since 1998, including senior vice president overseeing worldwide business development and R&D finance, managing partner and president of SR One, Glaxo’s venture capital arm, and most recently, SVP of finance for the company’s North American pharma unit. 

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Since then, Adaptimmune has grown, pulling off a $191 million IPO in May 2015 and building a new R&D outpost near its headquarters in Oxford, U.K. 

RELATED: Adaptimmune hauls in $191M in an upsized immuno-oncology IPO 

“I am delighted and privileged to have been chosen to succeed James as CEO. … Over the next two months, I will work with James and the other Company leaders to ensure a smooth handover. I am excited about the future and look forward to delivering rapidly the promises of our investigational therapies, focussing on SPEARHEAD-1, our next-gen trial, and advancing our allogeneic platform,” Rawcliffe said in the statement. 

Adaptimmune’s pipeline is based on its SPEAR (specific peptide enhanced affinity receptor) T-cell platform, which allows the company to engineer T cells to target and destroy multiple types of solid tumors. Its SPEARHEAD-1 program is testing its lead asset, a T-cell treatment targeting the MAGE-A4 antigen, in sarcomas and is slated to enter phase 2/3 in by the end of the year. 

Known as ADP-A2M4, the treatment is in an open-label phase 1 study testing it in “certain patients with urothelial (bladder) cancers, melanoma, head and neck cancer, ovarian cancer, NSCLC, esophageal cancer, gastric cancers, synovial sarcoma, and Myxoid Round Cell Liposarcoma.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the year that Adrian Rawcliffe joined GlaxoSmithKline. He joined in 1998, not 1988.

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