Brad Thompson exits Oncolytics Biotech

Canadian cancer biotech Oncolytics ($ONCY) announced alongside its financials that its long-standing president and CEO, Brad Thompson, will be leaving the company “immediately.”

In a brief update, and without saying whether he left of his own accord or was pushed, the Calgary-based biotech said Thompson has stepped down as its leading exec effective immediately.

COO Matt Coffey has for the interim taken over as president and CEO as the company looks for a permanent lead.

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This is likely an unplanned departure, as most changes at the top are preceded by longer term transition plans, and there was no mention of retirement for Thompson.

Thompson and Coffey have led Oncolytics for 18 years since it was founded. Wayne Pisano, chairman of the Oncolytics board, credited Thompson “for advancing the company's lead candidate Reolysin in multiple cancer indications and, in particular, for the recent progress in lung, multiple myeloma and colorectal cancers.”

“Dr. Thompson has been instrumental in the development of our company and the progress we have seen in taking Reolysin into multiple Phase II clinical trials,” added Pisano. “On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to thank Brad for his dedication and leadership.”

Oncolytics has released a mixed bag of data over the years. Back in 2013, the biotech conducted an analysis of 20 patients with squamous cell carcinoma in their lungs on its candidate Reolysin--a version of a common respiratory virus--as well as the chemo drugs carboplatin and paclitaxel. Of those analyzed, 19--or 95%--showed tumor shrinkage and the mean reduction in tumor size was 33.7%.

In August of this year, the company also released new data showing female patients with adenocarcinoma (n=20) using the med showed a statistically valid improvement in median progression free survival (PFS) versus control--although the same could not be said for male patients, as no PFS or overall survival benefit was observed.

The thinly traded nano cap was also hit back in May, falling 18% on the news, when it produced weak data for the midstage IND 211 trial that was looking to improving survival for certain lung cancer patients.

The company was down 8.2% at end of play yesterday. 

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