Cardurion nabs Takeda plasma therapy R&D chief as new CMO

Since Takeda bought out Shire, it’s lost a number of high-ranking research execs from the Irish rare disease biotech, but today it’s also losing one from its own ranks.

Chris Morabito, M.D., senior vice president and head of R&D for plasma-derived therapies at Takeda and formerly head of pipeline strategy for global R&D, now joins heart disease biotech Cardurion Pharmaceuticals as its new chief medical officer.

He held many hats at Takeda but also ran its specialty cardiovascular disease unit, having similar research roles at Merck and Sanofi— all experience he will need at Cardurion Pharmaceuticals, where he will now help lead work on its treatments for heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases.

“We are thrilled that Chris is bringing to Cardurion his strong industry and operational leadership at a time when our lead program in heart failure is advancing in the clinic and our pipeline is maturing,” said Peter Lawrence, CEO of Cardurion.

“Chris has a deep background in cardiovascular drug development from his time at Takeda, Sanofi and Merck, as well as broad experience and skills in leading large groups and an array of mission critical projects. His vision and leadership will be essential to our ongoing work to bring transformative therapies to people with cardiovascular diseases.”

There is, in fact, a lot of crossover with Morabito’s former companies and the Boston biotech: It launched back in 2017, where Takeda then jump-started its work providing a 12-person research team at its R&D site in Shonan, Japan, along with lab space, development resources and licenses to a portfolio of preclinical drug candidates.

Cardurion was also founded by two physician scientists, Daniel Bloomfield, M.D., and Michael Mendelsohn, M.D., who have extensive experience in cardiovascular medicine and have garnered drug discovery and development expertise from senior positions at Merck & Co.

“I am excited to join Cardurion at this important time, when both our lead program and broader pipeline are entering important phases in the development cycle,” said Dr. Morabito. “Cardurion has the opportunity to deliver life-changing therapies against previously un-drugged targets in heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases. I am delighted to be partnering with our experienced leadership team and look forward to helping the company bring transformative new medicines to patients.”