Heptares, Sosei shuffle leadership as CSO Marshall departs

Fiona Marshall, Ph.D. (University of Bath)

Fiona Marshall, Ph.D., is set to leave Sosei. Marshall has served as CSO of the company since it bought Heptares but is now departing to take on a senior role at another business.

Sosei responded to the resignation of Marshall—who will leave at the end of next month—by giving Malcolm Weir, Ph.D., responsibility for its R&D activities. Weir, like Marshall, joined Sosei through the takeover of British GPCR specialist Heptares. Marshall and Weir co-founded Heptares and, as CSO and CEO, respectively, led it to a $400 million (£287 million) takeover by Sosei.

Since then, Heptares and its team have been integral to Sosei’s plans. Both Marshall and Weir hold EVP positions, with the former taking the CSO title and the latter serving as chief R&D officer. With Marshall departing, Sosei’s R&D activities will continue under Weir’s leadership.

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Weir will get support from the newly promoted Tim Tasker, M.D. Tasker, who joined Heptares a year before the 2015 Sosei takeover, is now the Japanese company’s CMO and part of its executive team. The promotion of a doctor with decades of experience running trials at Evotec and GlaxoSmithKline comes at a time when Sosei is preparing to ramp up its clinical development activities.  

“[Tasker’s] expertise is crucial to supporting our partnered programs and more importantly to drive our proprietary programs, of which we plan to advance at least six candidates into clinical studies over the next two years, including HTL0018318, our selective muscarinic M1 agonist, which we expect to start a phase 2 trial in patients with dementia with Lewy bodies in Japan during this year,” Sosei CEO Peter Bains said in a statement.

Shares in Sosei traded down 6% following news of Marshall’s departure.