AstraZeneca spinout Entasis nabs Shire exec as CMO

CG image of AstraZeneca's HQ
Entasis Therapeutics spun out from U.K. Big Pharma AstraZeneca (headsquarters pictured) back in 2015. (AstraZeneca)

After getting off a $75 million IPO last year, AstraZeneca’s antibiotics spinout Entasis has hired a former Shire executive to lead its R&D programs.

David Altarac, M.D., M.P.A., becomes its new chief medical officer next week and will replace Robin Isaacs, M.D., a four-year veteran of the company since its spinout, who is retiring. (Though he will be an adviser on the later-stage programs as they gear up for a regulatory review.) 

In his new role, Altarac will be responsible for leading clinical development for Entasis’ lead programs, sulbactam-durlobactam and zoliflodacin, currently in phase 3, as well as the ETX0282CPDP program (which has had its issues), all the while boosting the biotech’s pipeline of pathogen-targeted antimicrobials.

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He will in addition head up the teams for medical affairs, pharmacovigilance, quality and regulatory affairs.

He comes to the biotech from Shire, which has been bought out by Takeda (and seen a series of execs leave the now merged company), where he was senior vice president and head of global regulatory affairs, global drug safety and R&D quality and compliance. He’s also served a stint at NeoStem and more than 13 years at Merck.

RELATED: Shire R&D chief Andy Busch jumps ship to Ironwood spinout amid Takeda megamerger

Manos Perros, CEO at Entasis, said: “We are truly delighted to welcome David to the team. As our lead programs advance through late-stage development, David’s broad expertise and experience in biopharmaceutical R&D will help drive our strategy and prepare for commercialization, while ensuring quality and patient safety. We thank Robin for his years of dedication, insightfulness, and expertise that drove forward our pathogen-targeted antibacterial programs and look forward to continuing to work with him in his new capacity.”

Massachusetts-based Entasis spun out of AstraZeneca with an antibiotic drug discovery platform and funding in 2015. Since then, Entasis raised $82 million from backers including Clarus Lifesciences, Novo Holdings and Frazier Life Sciences, then got off its IPO last year, though at the lower end of the range.

Altarac added: “Entasis is spearheading a new model for antibiotic development and commercialization, making use of the latest technologies to deliver transformative treatments for patients with the highest unmet medical needs. I look forward to working closely with the team to translate ground-breaking science into meaningful new antimicrobials and to continue building our pipeline of innovative programs.”

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