Arcus hires ex-AbbVie, Genentech researcher as CMO

Arcus unveiled news of William Grossman’s appointment alongside details of a deal with Strata Oncology. (Pixabay)

Arcus Biosciences has named ex-AbbVie and Genentech employee William Grossman as chief medical officer. Grossman joins the immuno-oncology biotech as it gears up for readouts from early-phase trials of its most advanced candidates.

California-based Arcus has put Grossman in charge of its global clinical development strategy and operations, which are currently focused on phase 1 trials of a dual adenosine receptor antagonist, CD73 inhibitor and anti-PD-1 and TIGIT antibodies. Arcus expects to deliver data from its early-phase programs later this year.

As Arcus moves deeper into the clinic, it will benefit from the experience of Grossman. Arcus hired Grossman from Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, which appointed him CMO early last year. Earlier in his career, Grossman spent time at Genentech—where he led clinical development of Tecentriq in gastrointestinal cancers—AbbVie, Baxter Healthcare and Merck.  

Arcus unveiled news of Grossman’s appointment alongside details of a deal with Strata Oncology. The deal gives Arcus access to Strata’s precision therapy development platform to support the testing of anti-PD-1 antibody AB122 in tumor types that don’t typically respond to such checkpoint inhibitors. 

The partners will split development costs incurred in the clinical collaboration. Arcus will pay Strata $2.5 million upon the achievement of a development milestone and is on the hook for regulatory and commercial milestones, plus royalties on sales in a biomarker-defined patient population. Arcus issued stock to Strata, too.  

In return for the outlay, Arcus gains a shot at finding new uses for its checkpoint inhibitor. 

“While Arcus’s primary focus is on developing anti-cancer combination therapies with its potentially best-in-class small molecule drug candidates, we intend to efficiently pursue targeted opportunities to bring cost-effective anti-PD-1 therapy to cancer patients otherwise not benefiting from this therapeutic class,” CEO Terry Rosen said in a statement.