Bayer’s Carsten Brunn, Ph.D., has been named president and CEO of Selecta Biosciences. He will take over following the retirement of Werner Cautreels, Ph.D., effective Dec. 1.
Cautreels will assist Brunn with the transition and plans to serve as an advisor to Selecta in the future, as the company looks to initiate a phase 3 trial for its lead enzyme treatment for gout before the end of the year.
The former Fierce 15 winner’s interim phase 2 data for SEL-212, which combines proprietary formulations of rapamycin and pegylated uricase, was not well-received in April—sending stocks down 20% in premarket trading, before improving somewhat later that day.
The Watertown, Massachusetts-based company released additional data in June, saying its monthly regimen outperformed standard treatment, with about 81% of patients achieving serum uric acid control after 12 weeks. The planned phase 3 trial will give six monthly injections of SEL-212 and assess patients’ uric acid levels at three and six months.
Brunn was most recently president of Bayer’s pharmaceuticals business in the Americas, including the U.S., Canada, and Central and Latin America, and served as a member of the company’s Global Pharmaceutical Executive Committee. Prior to that, he was president of Bayer Pharmaceuticals in Japan since 2013, and has previously held senior leadership positions at Eli Lilly, Novartis, Basilea and Bausch and Lomb in Europe, Asia and the U.S.
He has also served as chairman of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations Japan, representing 24 pharma companies with operations in the country, and currently serves on the board of directors of BIO.
“Carsten brings a wealth of experience from a successful career as a global leader in the life sciences industry and we’re thrilled he is joining Selecta. His exceptional track record and expertise will be invaluable as the company enters its next stage of growth,” said Omid Farokhzad, chairman of Selecta’s board of directors.
“This year’s planned start of the phase 3 trial for the lead program, SEL-212, for the treatment of severe gout patients is very exciting and in addition, the advancements the company is making in the fields of oncology and gene therapy is extremely promising,” said Brunn. Meanwhile, Bayer has picked Sebastian Guth to fill Brunn’s position, who has served as chief marketing officer for its global pharma business since 2015.
Selecta is also conducting an ongoing phase 1 trial of a combination therapeutic candidate consisting of its SVP-Rapamycin formulation and LMB-100, Selecta’s SEL-403 product candidate, for malignant pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma.
“Selecta has grown tremendously under the leadership of a strong management team and I am excited to be joining the organization at such an important time and maximizing the potential of the platform,” Brunn said.