Sanofi's Michael Streit departs to be cancer-focused Scorpion's first CMO

Scorpion Therapeutics has signed on another Big Pharma exec, tapping Sanofi’s Michael Streit, M.D., to be its first chief medical officer and guide the biotech as it advances two oncology candidates toward the clinic in 2023.

In July 2021, Axel Hoos, M.D., Ph.D., left GSK to become the Boston biotech’s CEO. Now, Streit, another industry vet, will help Scorpion prepare to begin human trials for its lead oncology assets.

Streit held leadership positions at GSK and Johnson & Johnson’s R&D unit Janssen before most recently serving as Sanofi’s vice president and senior project head, where he was responsible for leading the development of THOR-707, a not-alpha interleukin-2 anti-tumor candidate.

Now, Streit has moved to Scorpion, telling Fierce Biotech that he was drawn to the biotech’s sense of urgency to translate scientific hypotheses into new therapeutic targets and ultimately effective treatment modalities.  

The former Sanofi executive will “play a critical role in advancing [Scorpion's] broad discovery pipeline into efficient and well-designed clinical trials,” Hoos said in a Sept. 12 release.

Streit will oversee Scorpion’s two lead assets: STX-478, which is being tested predominantly in patients with breast cancer, and STX-721, which has been designed to target certain forms of non-small cell lung cancer.  

STX-478, announced as Scorpion’s first clinical candidate this March, is a mutant-selective PI3Kα inhibitor. The biotech plans to target solid tumors with activating mutations at H1047 in PI3Kα, which encompasses multiple indications including breast cancer. Scorpion is on track to submit an application to the FDA in the first half of 2023 to begin clinical trials. The company also anticipates submitting a separate trial application for STX-721—selected in June to be the biotech’s second asset—in the first half of next year.

Founded in 2020, Scorpion is aiming to apply its drug-hunting platform to validated oncogenes to create small-molecule drug candidates for so-called undruggable targets. Its “2.0” precision oncology platform combines advances in genomic technologies like CRISPR, medicinal chemistry and data capabilities such as chemical proteomics and supercomputing. 

“I was very impressed with the company’s strategy, resources and ambition to develop transformational therapies for the most challenging forms of cancer,” Streit said. “But it was really the people and the unique culture that sealed the deal.”