Kronos Bio nabs Gilead, Baylor College of Medicine researchers

Kronos Bio CEO Norbert Bischofberger
Kronos Bio CEO Norbert Bischofberger has hired an old colleague out of Gilead Sciences and a rising star from the Baylor College of Medicine. (Kronos Bio)

Fierce 15 winner Kronos Bio has hired two new research program execs as it looks to put its recent funding haul to work.

The company, led by Gilead Sciences' ex-R&D leader Norbert Bischofberger, Ph.D., is working on reinventing high-throughput screening—a stalwart of drug discovery for decades—by flipping it on its head.

Coming into life a few years back, Kronos licensed three lead compounds that came out of screening at the lab of Angela Koehler, Ph.D., of MIT, Kronos’ scientific founder and developer of the SMM platform.

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They are an androgen receptor antagonist for prostate cancer, a MYC inhibitor and an oncology drug, all currently at an early stage. Back in the summer, it raised a healthy $105 million, with Kronos using some of this series A money to take on more staff at its offices in Boston and San Francisco.

Through the additions, Kronos aims to equip itself to take a tilt at an ambitious goal: Drug the undruggable.

Now, more staffers are coming into the fold: Christopher Lee, Ph.D., comes on board as vice president of program management, while Charles Lin, Ph.D., will serve as its VP of biology.

Bischofberger hired Lee from his old Big Biotech Gilead, where he had been for a mammoth 19 years. Most recently, he served as senior director, research portfolio management, where he helped support teams working across early- and later stage clinical testing.

He will play a “critical role” in setting up a program management function at Kronos across both its San Mateo (where he will based from early next month) and Cambridge offices, the company said in statement.

Lin, meanwhile, comes out of a stint at Baylor College of Medicine, where he served as an assistant professor in the department of molecular and human genetics. He is also a scientific founder and co-director of the Therapeutic Innovation Center, an academic research center focused on speeding up drug discovery work against diseases of altered gene control.

In his new role at Kronos, Lin will focus on the discovery of novel small molecules that control historically undruggable oncology targets. He will also develop Kronos’ bioinformatics capability, which will “allow the company to fully leverage genomic and proteomic insights in the advancement of its discovery pipeline.”

He gets to work just before Christmas, and will be based in the biotech’s Cambridge office.

“Chris and Charles have highly relevant track records in biopharma and academia, respectively, and their ability to help drive our pipeline strategy and platform will be invaluable as we grow,” said Bischofberger.

“Chris has nearly 20 years of research and project management experience from discovery through phase 3 development and commercialization. Charles has been a rising star in academic medicine and has deep expertise in epigenetics and oncogenic transcription, which is ideally matched to our research focus on novel modulators or degraders of historically undruggable targets. His experience as a computational biologist will be essential in our discovery efforts against a range of validated, historically challenging oncology targets and in gleaning insights into underlying target biology.”

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