Kronos calls time on CMO, CSO roles as part of C-suite shakeup

Kronos Bio had already trimmed back its headcount and pipeline in the wake of a mid-stage cancer flop. Now, it’s the company’s C-suite who are heading to the exits.

The biotech has “eliminated three executive officer roles”—meaning Chief Medical Officer Jorge DiMartino, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer Christopher Dinsmore, Ph.D., and Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Barbara Kosacz will all be out of a job.

The company explained the changes were needed to ensure a “streamlined leadership structure designed to focus on pipeline advancement and align with Kronos Bio’s current operating needs.”

The three executives will leave the company on Feb.16, although they will remain as strategic advisors for the business, according to a Jan. 25 press release.

The leadership shakeup follows a headcount reduction of 19% in November in order to fund KB-0742, a CDK9 inhibitor currently in a phase 1/2 trial for solid tumors and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. A month after the layoffs, Kronos said it was discontinuing a cancer trial for lanraplenib and seeking a partner for the SYK inhibitor in the wake of a mid-stage trial flop.

“This new leadership structure is designed to streamline our operations and reflects our ongoing effort to advance our pipeline, optimize our resources, and efficiently deliver on our business objectives,” CEO Norbert Bischofberger, Ph.D., said in the release.

“I would like to thank Jorge, Chris, and Barbara for their leadership and dedication, and I wish them well in their future endeavors,” Bischofberger added. “They each built and managed strong teams, laying the groundwork for this new structure and preparing our future leaders for success.”

Replacing the three jettisoned C-suite roles will be four SPV positions overseeing R&D; clinical development; corporate strategy and portfolio management; and corporate operations and legal. Those positions are filled by Charles Lin, Ph.D., Elizabeth Olek, Rocio Martin Hoyos and Allison Frisbee, respectively.

Kronos said it expects to make savings from the changes, even after termination costs are accounted for.

Besides KB-0742, Kronos has a partnership with Roche’s Genentech for several undisclosed discovery programs. Inked a year ago, the Genentech partnership is crucial for Kronos, coming right after the biotech kicked a late-stage AML asset called entospletinib to the curb. The Roche unit jumped in to save the day for the struggling biotech with a $20 million upfront payment plus milestones that could top $177 million for the first program and $100 million for the first licensed product.

Kronos also recently revealed a new development candidate, dubbed KB-9558. The preclinical asset is designed to modulate the IRF4 transcription regulatory network—a key driver in multiple myeloma.