Trillium Therapeutics has named Yaping Shou, M.D., Ph.D., as its CMO. Shou joins the anti-CD7 cancer biotech from Takeda’s oncology department, where she worked as executive medical director.
Takeda hired Shou in 2011 and assigned her to several clinical leadership positions during her seven years at the company. Earlier in her career, Shou spent stints at GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis, picking up experience with oncology biomarkers.
Shou will now apply this experience to Trillium’s pipeline. The biotech’s lead candidate is TTI-621, a SIRPaFc fusion protein designed to stop the CD47 signal tumor cells use to evade immune attacks. A clutch of other biotechs, including Arch Oncology and Forty Seven, are pursuing the same target in a belief it is the key to more effective treatment of a range of solid tumors and blood cancers.
Trillium was an early mover in the CD47 space but has failed to drum up as much excitement as its peers. While Forty Seven is seeking a $115 million IPO and Arch raised an $86 million series A round, Trillium’s market cap is just $83 million.
Under Shou’s guidance, Trillium is looking to deliver clinical data that shows its pipeline prospects are a match for those of its more hyped rivals. Phase 1 data shared late last year had the opposite effect, sending Trillium’s stock tumbling. The data led Trillium to focus more on patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and peripheral T-cell lymphoma in a belief the indications are its best near-term prospect.
Trillium is expected to share updated data from the trials later this year, by which point it should have begun a phase 1 study of its second anti-CD47 drug, TTI-622. The candidate features the same CD47 binding domain as its more advanced sibling. But the domain is linked to an IgG4 Fc region, not an IgG1 Fc region. Trillium thinks this will give it a pharmacological profile well suited to combination use.