Proteostasis nabs Belous from Galapagos for cystic fibrosis push

Andrey Belous’ arrival coincides with the departure of Proteostasis Chief Medical Officer Po-Shun Lee. (Pixabay)

Proteostasis Therapeutics has named former Galapagos scientist Andrey Belous as its senior medical director. The cystic fibrosis biotech unveiled Belous’ appointment alongside news of the promotion of Geoff Gilmartin to the chief medical officer position.

Belous spent a little more than a year at Galapagos, during which time he served as medical director for phase 3 development of autotaxin inhibitor GLPG1690 in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Before joining Galapagos in 2018, Belous spent several years at The Medicines Company, where he played a role in projects including the clinical development of the anesthetic ABP-700.

Proteostasis’ new senior medical director arrives at the company during a low ebb in its tumultuous recent history. Having managed to generate some excitement about its cystic fibrosis pipeline in the past, Proteostasis was laid low in March by triplet data that underwhelmed analysts and investors.

The data raised doubts about Proteostasis’ ability to compete with Vertex Pharmaceuticals, which is the current pacesetter in the race to develop more effective cystic fibrosis regimens. But with enough cash in the bank to see it through to 2021, Proteostasis is equipped to put its combinations through a phase 2 study and enter phase 3 by the middle of next year.

Proteostasis has put in place a new team to execute that clinical development plan. Belous’ arrival coincides with the departure of Po-Shun Lee, who served as CMO of Proteostasis over the past four years. Lee will continue to help Proteostasis as a consultant.

To replace Lee, Proteostasis has promoted its chief development officer. Gilmartin left AstraZeneca to take up the CDO position in 2016. Earlier in his career, Gilmartin was involved in the development of cystic fibrosis drugs including Kalydeco at Vertex, giving him experience Proteostasis thinks will help its prospects. 

“Geoff and Andrey bring deep experience in CF and lung fibrosis from their backgrounds at Vertex and Galapagos, respectively, and we look forward to their contributions in these roles,” Proteostasis CEO Meenu Chhabra said in a statement.