Pyxis Oncology nabs Pfizer spinoff founder as new CEO

Pfizer building
Pfizer launched the biotech back in 2017 with Sullivan as its founder (Pfizer HQ: Tracy Staton)

Pfizer’s 2017 spinout company SpringWorks has lost president and founder Lara Sullivan, M.D., who has moved over to Pyxis Oncology as its new chief and director.

In the fall, SpringWorks filed to raise $115 million in an IPO, looking to add to the nearly $230 million it raised in several quickfire rounds, as it looks to get through to regulatory filings for two former Pfizer drugs against rare tumors.

Pfizer licensed the drugs, gamma secretase inhibitor nirogacestat and MEK inhibitor mirdametinib, to SpringWorks back in 2017.

Sullivan has been at the biotech since its inception and spent six years at Pfizer prior in a series of research roles.

Now, she lands at the small cancer specialist Pyxis, a very early-stage Boston-based biotech which also recently nabbed Medimmune’s former vice president of research and head of oncology R&D, Ronald Herbst, Ph.D., as its chief scientific officer.

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The company, which is working on developing a new family of antibody-based immunotherapies based on the tumor microenvironment, is preclinical, hoping to plug the gap made by current immuno-oncology therapies and move I-O forward. But there is a long road ahead.

She takes over from Longwood General Partner and founding CEO David Steinberg, who becomes chair.

“This is a very exciting time in immuno-oncology and Pyxis has a unique platform to understand the tumor microenvironment that will enable the company to make major contributions to the field,” said Sullivan.

“I am looking forward to working closely with our scientific co-founders and the Pyxis scientific team to unlock new avenues to restore the potency of dysfunctional immune cells. Building off this solid foundation with the support of our investors, I believe Pyxis will be able to make a real difference in the lives of cancer patients as we move our antibody programs into the clinic.”

“We are excited to welcome Lara to Pyxis, and look forward to her leadership as we build and advance our pipeline. Lara brings a remarkable range of skills and experience spanning drug development, corporate strategy, finance and business development to the role of CEO at Pyxis,” added Steinberg.