Meyer leaves troubled uniQure for R&D post at Therachon

Meyer had been at the biotech for four years, but uniQure has been hit by commercial flops and major R&D shakeups

The ex-chief medical officer of uniQure has left his post and moved over to the small, rare-disease biotech Therachon.

Christian Meyer, M.D., Ph.D., had been at uniQure for four years as its CMO until June, but late last year the biotech announced it was axing around 50 positions by the end of 2017, while also overhauling much of its R&D.

Meyer was seemingly not up for the chop, and in fact the biotech said at the time that he would assume full responsibility for the company’s hemophilia B gene therapy program, one of its primary gigs.

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But things took a turn for the worse when uniQure’s trailblazing gene therapy met its end back in April. After struggling for years to make a commercial success out of Glybera, the world’s first approved gene therapy, uniQure called it quits on the ultra expensive treatment in the spring.

The drugmaker said it wouldn’t ask European authorities to renew the $1-million-plus gene therapy’s marketing authorization when it expires in October, given a lack of demand now, and likely lack of demand in the future.

After pulling the plug on Glybera, uniQure said it would shift its focus to hemophilia B, with plans earlier this year to push that program into a pivotal trial.

In June, uniQure said Meyer would be leaving his post to be replaced by Steven L. Zelenkofske, D.O., a former AstraZeneca and Sanofi vet who is now responsible “for leading all clinical research and development, medical affairs and related functions at uniQure,” the company said in a statement.

On Nov. 1, Meyer will become the new CMO at Therachon, where he will help lead its R&D efforts in rare diseases. Its lead pipeline candidate, TA-46, is a protein therapy in development for achondroplasia, the most common form of short-limbed dwarfism.

“We are pleased to welcome Christian to the team,” said Luca Santarelli, M.D., CEO of Therachon.

“Christian has spent over fifteen years in the biotechnology sector, leading high performing global teams in clinical development, pharmacovigilance, regulatory and medical affairs from early stage development through commercialization. His entrepreneurial drive and successful track record in executing drug development and regulatory strategies in rare diseases will be an asset to Therachon as we continue to grow as a company.”

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