Agios blood cancer drug lead jumps ship to Aprea Therapeutics

Board game with pieces on it
Eyal Attar is making the move from Agios after it recently saw two FDA approvals for its blood cancer drugs. (Zajcsik/PD)

Swedish p53 cancer biotech Aprea Therapeutics has nabbed former Agios senior medical director Eyal Attar as its senior vice president and chief medical officer.

Attar worked on Agios’ two blood cancer drugs: Idhifa, which won FDA approval to treat certain patients with relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia (and partnered with Celgene), as well as its first FDA nod for a wholly-owned medicine, Tibsovo, an oral drug to treat r/r AML patients with the IDH1 mutation.

Now, he’s moving into the smaller biotech world, joining Aprea, which also has a base in Boston, Massachusetts, where he will help the company push on with clinical work for its cancer therapies targeting the p53 tumor suppressor protein.

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"Dr. Attar's deep medical and biotech industry experiences will strengthen our clinical development efforts as we continue to advance our first-in-class p53 reactivating agents in late-stage clinical studies," said Christian Schade, president and CEO of Aprea.

"His proven leadership and focus on improving outcomes for patients with limited therapeutic alternatives is an excellent fit with Aprea's determined strategy to advance novel oncology therapies."

Aprea is already in phase 3, working on a drug in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), while also finishing off enrollment in an Phase 1b/2 test in p53 mutated high-risk MDS and oligoblastic acute myeloid leukemia with APR-246 and azacitidine. Combo studies are also in the works.

"I am thrilled to join the Aprea team at this exciting time in the company's evolution," added Attar.  "I believe Aprea's leading scientific approach in reactivating the mutated tumor suppression gene, p53, represents a new paradigm in anti-cancer treatment and a promising novel therapeutic approach for patients for whom there is tremendous need."

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