Radius Health hires oncology-focused CMO as it moves into breast cancer trials

Radius is also angling for a collaboration on a potential combination therapy with its elacestrant, currently being studied in phase 1 breast cancer trials. (Pixabay)

Endocrine therapy developer Radius Health has brought on Charles Morris to be its new chief medical officer and oversee the company’s expansion into oncology, with two breast cancer treatments currently in early-phase clinical trials.

Morris helped lead the development of Faslodex in advanced hormonal breast cancer while at Zeneca, before it merged to form AstraZeneca in 1999. He also supported the early clinical development of Iressa and held R&D leadership roles focused on targeted therapeutics for breast, colorectal, prostate and non-small cell lung cancers.

After that, he helped Cephalon shepherd its Treanda to two oncology approvals, served as chief medical officer at Allos Therapeutics, and was chief development officer at ImmunoGen. Most recently, Morris served as chief development officer for cancer gene therapy company PsiOxus Therapeutics.

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Morris’ two decades of oncology drug development experience complements Radius’ work in osteoporosis, President and CEO Jesper Høiland said in a statement, with the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company’s Tymlos receiving approval in postmenopausal women last year.

RELATED: Radius' Tymlos gets another big break as Express Scripts boots Lilly's Forteo

Specifically, Morris’ role in developing Faslodex in advanced metastatic breast cancer will be useful as Radius pursues elacestrant in the same indication, Høiland said.

The company is also angling for a collaboration on a potential combination therapy that incorporates the selective estrogen receptor degrader, according to Radius’ second-quarter financial reports. Currently, elacestrant is being studied in phase 1 and phase 1b trials.

“After closely reviewing the efficacy and safety data supporting its promising and differentiated clinical profile, I believe elacestrant is uniquely positioned to potentially address unmet needs in the treatment of hormonal breast cancer,” Morris said in a statement.

“I have already had the chance to review and provide input to optimize elacestrant’s clinical development plan and look forward to initiating our phase 3 study in the fourth quarter of this year,” he added.

In addition, a phase 1 study evaluating RAD140, a nonsteroidal selective androgen receptor modulator, continues to enroll patients with hormone receptor-positive, locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer, with updates expected by the end of the year.

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