Bicycle hires clinical leader ahead of IPO-fueled pipeline push

Lisa Mahnke and Terrence West both worked at EMD Serono for several years. (Pixabay)

Bicycle Therapeutics has hired clinical and program management leaders to support development of its anticancer candidates. The hires provide Bicycle with clinical trial expertise at a time when it is contending with the resignation of its chief medical officer. 

Cambridge, England-based Bicycle has reached across the Atlantic to make the new hires, recruiting people from the area around its U.S. office in Massachusetts. Lisa Mahnke has taken up the role of senior vice president and head of clinical, while Terrence West has joined as VP and head of program management.  

Mahnke and West both worked at EMD Serono for several years, only parting ways when Mahnke left her position as global head of clinical pharmacology to join Syros Pharmaceuticals this time last year. Mahnke spent nine months as head of clinical development at Syros and has also spent time working for Dragonfly Therapeutics, Vertex, Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

West spent longer at EMD Serono, joining before Mahnke arrived in 2014 and only leaving to join Bicycle earlier this year. Prior to joining EMD Serono and rising through the ranks of its project management team, West worked at companies including Stryker and Ziopharm Oncology.

The backgrounds of Mahnke and West give them experience for the type of tasks Bicycle will need to undertake in the coming months and years. Mahnke has contributed to successful IND applications and has participated in clinical development. West has led teams working on programs spanning from discovery through to late-phase development.

Bicycle has two candidates that are in the middle of IND-enabling activities, BT5528 and BT8009, and a third that is partway through an early-phase clinical trial. The biotech plans to advance BT5528 and BT8009 into the clinic and through phase 1/2a development using proceeds from a proposed IPO. 

The rest of the anticipated IPO haul will enable Bicycle to prepare for phase 2 and 3 trials of its lead drug, MT1-MMP targeting drug conjugate BT1718.

Bicycle hired Maria Koehler as CMO to lead its early clinical development efforts but recently lost her services. Having joined Bicycle in 2017 following eight years at Pfizer, Koehler left at the end of April to take up the CMO post at synthetic lethality startup Repare Therapeutics.