Flagship Pioneering's 2-becomes-one biotech nabs ex-Pfizer CSO as research lead

Flagship Pioneering office
(Flagship Pioneering)

The former CEO and founder of Pandion Therapeutics and ex-chief scientific officer of Pfizer Anthony Coyle, Ph.D., has signed up to run Repertoire Immune Medicines’ R&D.

Back in March, major venture capitalist firm Flagship Pioneering brought together two of its sister biotech companies to create a new, singly focused effort.

Torque Therapeutics and Cogen Immune Medicine joined forces as Repertoire Immune Medicines, a combined biotech looking to tap into the curative powers of our immune system to prevent, treat and cure cancer, autoimmune disorders and infectious diseases.

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Torque CEO John Cox, an ex-Biogen exec who also shepherded its spinoff Bioverativ through its $11.6 billion acquisition by Sanofi, became its new chief. Now, seven months down the line, Coyle takes up the reins as its president of R&D.

Torque has been working on what it calls “deep-primed adoptive cell transfer” treatments it believes can surmount the hurdles that limit the use of cell therapy in cancer. These include getting past the microenvironment around a tumor that quashes the immune system and shuts down T-cell function.

The company “deep-primes” T cells to target multiple tumor antigens and puts cytokine and immunomodulators on their surfaces to call forth an immune response in the tumor microenvironment, the company says. Its first program, TRQ-1501, primes T cells to carry IL-15, a cytokine that promotes the proliferation of natural killer cells.

This will continue under the new biotech but will combine the work of Cogen, which also tapped the power of a patient’s immune system to fight disease. Now, it's working on technologies for its so-called DECODE discovery and DEPLOY product platforms that “allow in-depth characterization of the immune synapse and the ability to rationally design, and clinically develop, multi-clonal immune medicines.”

Coyle is now in charge of making this combined biotech work.

And he has some major roles in his CV to back that up: He comes to Repertoire after founding and leading Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Pandion, which is fresh off an IPO. He left last July before the company went public.

Coyle helped the biotech set up shop with its so-called TALON platform to create better treatments for autoimmune conditions, in which the immune system “forgets what the self is” and attacks its own tissues and organs.

Before this, he was senior vice president and CSO at Big Pharma Pfizer for seven years, between 2010 and 2017, as it weaned itself of Lipitor sales and reemerged as a more heavily cancer-focused operation. He also had long stints at MedImmune and Takeda.

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