Pfizer oncology executive hops over to Aduro as its new chief medical officer

Aduro Biotech has a new chief medical officer: Dimitry Nuyten, M.D., Ph.D., who’s worn a few different hats at Pfizer, but most recently was vice president and head of immuno-oncology clinical development. Nuyten joins Aduro just three months after it narrowed its focus onto cancer drugs targeting the STING and APRIL pathways. 

In January, the Bay Area biotech laid off 37% of its workforce and “deprioritized” several programs so it can focus on its STING and APRIL programs. Aduro expects this “strategic reset” to extend its runway to 2022. 

“Dimitry’s expertise as a radiation oncologist specializing in cancer biology and his experience leading immuno-oncology clinical strategy and development will be instrumental to Aduro,” said Aduro CEO Stephen Isaacs, in a statement. “We are extremely pleased to welcome Dimitry as we prepare to broaden our development plans for STING agonist ADU-S100 and initiate our first in human study of anti-APRIL antibody BION-1301 in IgA nephropathy.” 

RELATED: Aduro cuts 37% of employees as it refocuses on cancer pipeline 

Aduro teamed up with Novartis on STING back in 2015 and the pair is testing ADU-S100 in melanoma and head and neck cancers and “multiple tumors.” Novartis handed over $200 million upfront and took a 2.7% stake in Aduro for $25 million. Aduro could pick up as much as $500 million in milestone payments. It’s working on a different cGAS-STING inhibitor with Eli Lilly for autoimmune and inflammatory disease. 

Though Aduro has chosen to throw its weight behind STING and APRIL, the programs it “deprioritized” aren’t necessarily destined for the scrap heap. The company may seek out partners later on to carry those programs forward. 

RELATED: SITC18: Aduro finds some activity with STING agonist 

At Pfizer, Nuyten led the clinical strategy for several programs, including the anti-PD-L1 drug Bavencio, and before that, he oversaw the development of multiple early-phase cancer assets at Bristol-Myers Squibb. 

“I am excited to join Aduro and continue building the company’s leadership position in STING and APRIL biology,” Nuyten said. “I look forward to collaborating with Aduro’s clinical team and our external partners to generate additional data while making a meaningful impact for patients.”