After a strong few years, Aimmune CEO Dilly to step down in 2018

Peanuts in shell
The focus of the new CEO will likely be focused on the sales and marketing of its phase 3 peanut allergy med AR101, should it gain approval.

After a good run that has seen his company pass key tests, set up deals with Big Pharmas and have its market cap top $1.5 billion, Aimmune chief Stephen Dilly, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., is calling it a day.

His retirement date is set for the end of 2018. A search for a successor starts in earnest, with Dilly saying he will stick around to help out the new CEO during the transition period.

Dilly has been heading up the company during a positive few years that has seen its peanut allergy med AR101 perform well in an open-label study posted last year, as it now aims to complete phase 3 and go on toward a potential approval and launch (which will be the main focus of the new CEO).

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He’s also helped in the deal with Sanofi/Regeneron, penned just a few weeks back, that will see the companies combine AR101 with Dupixent (dupilumab) in a midstage test. And a year ago this week, the Californian biotech also saw Nestlé Health Science invest $145 million into its pipeline as part of its desire to bolster its food-allergy programs.

RELATED: Regeneron/Sanofi, Aimmune collaborate on peanut allergy combo test

So why is he leaving? The decision to retire “is based solely on my personal desire to have more time for my family, especially my eldest son, who has special needs,” Dilly explained.

“We are announcing this now in order to facilitate an orderly executive search and transition period, and I remain completely committed to continuing to lead Aimmune through the exciting events ahead. We are looking forward to the completion of our pivotal phase 3 PALISADE trial around year-end and sharing top-line data in the first quarter of 2018.”

Mark McDade, chairman of the biotech’s board, added: “Based on what Aimmune has accomplished, the board and management are grateful for the tremendous contributions Stephen has made. We respect his very personal decision and appreciate the fact that his deep and sustained commitment allows us to spearhead a fulsome search for the right next CEO of Aimmune, an individual with significant commercial and strategic experience, to build upon what Stephen and the team have delivered to date.

“We have never been more excited about Aimmune’s potential, and will work deliberately to identify and land our next leader while the team led by Stephen maintains focus on our 2017 and 2018 objectives.”