Ablynx’s chief medical officer, Robert Zeldin, has made the jump to Acceleron Pharma to serve as its new CMO, as the company looks to advance development of its lead hematologic drug candidate, luspatercept.
Zeldin will pick up the torch from Acceleron’s retiring CMO, Matthew Sherman, who will remain on staff until the release of topline data from a phase 3 trial evaluating luspatercept in beta-thalassemia patients, expected in the coming weeks. After more than a decade in the role, he will stay on in an advisory capacity through 2019.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company recently announced that luspatercept hit its phase 3 endpoints in patients with chronic anemia associated with myelodysplastic syndromes, reduced the need for red blood cell transfusions for at least eight weeks.
“Robert’s breadth and depth of experience should prove immensely valuable in executing on our clinical development goals,” said Acceleron CEO Habib Dable in a statement, citing Zeldin’s two decades of experience in regulatory and medical affairs roles.
At the Ghent, Belgium-based Ablynx, Zeldin led a team of 60 across medical, regulatory, pharmacovigilance, clinical operations, biostatistics, and data management functions. Before that, he served as senior VP and head of global clinical development at Stallergenes, following three years as head of Novartis’ U.S. respiratory and dermatology medical franchise.
Zeldin began his industry career at Merck, eventually being promoted to senior director of clinical development, covering respiratory, cardiovascular and infectious disease areas. He also served as a medical officer at the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
“It’s a privilege to join the Acceleron team in the pursuit of novel therapies for serious and rare diseases with significant unmet medical need,” Zeldin said. “Seldom does one have an opportunity to contribute to the development and potential launch of medicines in multiple therapeutic areas for diverse patient populations, all of whom are vastly underserved by current options.”
Acceleron, in collaboration with Celgene, are developing luspatercept for the treatment of chronic anemia in myelodysplastic syndromes, beta-thalassemia and myelofibrosis. In addition, the company is also evaluating two Myostatin+ agents, ACE-083 and ACE-2494, as part of its neuromuscular franchise, along with and sotatercept in pulmonary arterial hypertension.