After getting ditched by Big Pharma veteran, FibroGen hopes it has its chief scientific officer

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FibroGen chose John Hunter, Ph.D., to replace former Chief Scientific Officer Percy Carter, Ph.D. (FibroGen)

FibroGen is hoping to end a game of musical chief scientific officers with the selection of former Compugen CSO John Hunter, Ph.D., to replace a Big Pharma veteran who jumped ship less than a year into the gig.

Last year, FibroGen boosted its C-suite with the hires of head scientific, medical and commercial officers. The CSO, Bristol Myers Squibb and Johnson & Johnson alum Percy Carter, Ph.D., ditched the post in May to take up the same position at Blueprint Medicines.

Carter's appointment to FibroGen in September 2020 followed an 18-year stint at Bristol Myers and heading discovery sciences for J&J unit Janssen.

Two months after Carter's departure, FibroGen has named Hunter as the replacement. He most recently served as CEO and CSO of private immuno-oncology biotech Keyhole Therapeutics.

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"John’s expertise and experience make him the ideal person to lead FibroGen’s scientific agenda and I look forward to his leadership impact on advancing our pipeline of novel drug candidates," CEO Enrique Conterno said in a statement.

While at Compugen, Hunter helped bring two first-in-class immune checkpoint inhibitors into the clinic.

“I am incredibly excited to join FibroGen in advancing compelling late stage clinical programs towards commercialization, while at the same time retaining a firm commitment to enhancing an early drug pipeline,” Hunter said in a statement.

Hunter's hiring comes a month after FibroGen dished out $25 million upfront and up to $1.1 billion in biobucks for three programs from HiFiBiO. All three are expected to have lead candidates in the clinic in 2023.

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FibroGen has made several staffing changes in the past year. Hunter joins new chief medical officer, Mark Eisner, M.D., who was previously at Roche's Genentech unit, as well as FibroGen's first chief commercial officer, Thane Wettig.