Lilly's Robert Brown to lead Brickell Bio as it eyes phase 3 dermatology trials

Empty boardroom
Brown has spent over 30 years at Lilly and has helped launch blockbusters such as Taltz, Cialis and Cymbalta. (Getty/Chris Ryan)

Eli Lilly VP Robert Brown is making the jump to serve as CEO of the skin disease-focused Brickell Biotech, as it prepares to move its lead candidate into phase 3 trials for excessive underarm sweating next year.

Brown will start at the Boulder, Colorado-based company Jan. 1, 2019, taking over for current CEO and co-founder Reginald Hardy, who will retain his seat on Brickell’s board of directors and serve as a special advisor to the CEO.

“Rob is the ideal candidate to assume the CEO role at this moment of Brickell’s growth,” Hardy said in a statement. “I’m certain that his comprehensive pharmaceutical industry experience will guide us confidently into the marketplace.”

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Following over 30 years at Eli Lilly, Brown currently serves as the pharma giant’s chief marketing officer and senior VP.

Brown has helped bring to market blockbuster products such as Taltz, Cialis and Cymbalta, and has overseen the launch of seven new chemical entities across a wide range of therapeutic categories, including dermatology. He has also served as president and general manager of Lilly’s China affiliate, Lilly Suzhou JV.

“As sofpironium bromide moves into Phase 3 trials early next year, it was the right time to strengthen our commercial capabilities and to grow our sales and marketing infrastructure,” Hardy added.

Brickell plans to launch two pivotal phase 3 trials of sofpironium bromide in the first half of 2019 and expects to submit its drug for FDA approval in the second half of 2020. Topical sofpironium bromide acts as an anticholinergic, blocking the transmission of signaling chemicals in the nervous system that are responsible for the activation of sweat glands.

The company is also evaluating four new drugs for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, psoriasis, androgenic alopecia and allergic contact dermatitis, and hopes to complete earlier-stage clinical trials and proof-of-concept studies in 2020 and 2021.

“I was very attracted by the opportunity to join such a promising and well-positioned pre-commercial, late-stage company like Brickell, where my pharmaceutical industry experience could have a real impact,” Brown said.

“I’m particularly excited about sofpironium bromide, which has the potential to be a best-in-class product and to provide clinically meaningful therapeutic relief to millions of Americans living with hyperhidrosis,” he said.