Magenta poaches Constellation CMO Humphrey after 5-month search, setback to blood cancer trial

At the beginning of the summer, Magenta Therapeutics found out its chief medical officer was hitting the exit, and two months later it hit a regulatory snag before even entering the clinic for a blood cancer trial. 

The Cambridge, Massachusetts, biotech is on the rebound, however, with a new chief medical officer. The hiring of Jeffrey Humphrey, M.D., comes after Magenta received clearance from the FDA for a phase 1/2 trial for its blood cancer med last month.

The news didn't hit the spot for Magenta investors, with shares falling 2.8% to $7.30 apiece as of 10:01 a.m. ET.

The 2017 Fierce 15 winner snagged Humphrey from Constellation Pharmaceuticals, where he held the same post. Now, as the leader of clinical development and regulatory work at Magenta, Humphrey will oversee that blood cancer trial, which is slated to begin this quarter. 

RELATED: Magenta Therapeutics' research lead Davis hits the exit for family reasons

The new C-suite member will also be responsible for leading MGTA-145, which is in phase 2 trials in multiple myeloma and leukemias, and a sickle cell disease gene therapy in phase 1. Further down the pipeline, Humphrey will look to get medicines for autoimmune disease, graft-verus-host disease and other conditions into human trials. 

Prior to Constellation, Humphrey was chief development officer at Kyowa Kirin USA and president and CMO at Kyowa Kirin Pharmaceutical Development. He's also had stints at Bristol Myers Squibb, Bayer and Pfizer. In all, Humphrey has worked on more than 20 drug candidates, including bringing several to the finish line in the U.S. and Europe, Magenta said. 

Humphrey replaces John Davis, M.D., who was CMO and head of R&D. Davis told the biotech in May that he'd be leaving July 30. At the time, Magenta stressed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that the departure was not related to "any disagreements with the company." Davis is now a member of the scientific advisory board and on the board of Rheos Medicines. 

Following Davis' departure, Magenta went on a C-suite hiring spree, scooping up Caren Deardorf as the biotech's first chief commercial officer in July and Thomas Beetham as chief legal officer in June.