Bone Therapeutics long-serving CEO steps down, leaving interim successor in charge

Belgium

Enrico Bastianelli is stepping down as CEO of Bone Therapeutics after 10 years at the job. The exit, which Bone Therapeutics attributed to personal reasons, leaves former Eli Lilly ($LLY) and Lundbeck commercial director Thomas Lienard in charge of the company on an interim basis.

Gosselies, Belgium-based Bone Therapeutics signaled it had news of note shortly after trading began on the Euronext exchange in Brussels on Tuesday morning. When the Belgian Financial Services and Markets Authority’s request to suspend trading lifted 5 hours later--and less than one hour after news of Bastianelli’s departure broke--shares of the microcap biotech traded down 6%.

The news amounted to a brief statement that Bastianelli is leaving Bone Therapeutics after 10 years at the company. Bastianelli led Bone Therapeutics from its first days as a Université libre de Bruxelles spinoff in 2006 through to its €37 million ($41 million) IPO last year, but is now leaving as the firm enters a 12-month period littered with clinical readouts for its bone-forming cell therapy.

Responsibility for guiding Bone Therapeutics toward those readouts will now fall on Lienard, who joined the company as chief business officer late last year. Lienard arrived at Bone Therapeutics on the back of a four-year stint as managing director of Lundbeck’s commercial operations in Belgium and Luxembourg, before which he spent 7 years rising through the ranks of Lilly’s sales teams.

With Lienard joining ex-Pfizer ($PFE) medical director Guy Heynen among the people to land at Bone Therapeutics in recent years, Chairman Michel Helbig de Balzac thinks the business is equipped to cope with the loss of its long-serving leader.

“Over the past year, we have built a strong management team to take the Company through the next phase of its growth, including the eventual commercialisation of our first products, and will continue to progress our growth strategy and advanced clinical programmes under the interim leadership of Thomas Lienard,” Helbig said in a statement.

Helbig gave no indication of how long the search for a successor will take. Bone Therapeutics is closing in on multiple major milestones, including the delivery of top-line data from three mid-phase trials of its allogeneic cell therapy Allob in assorted skeletal conditions.

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Bone Therapeutics posts interim PhIIa data, building case for bone-forming cell therapy