Sarepta poaches Biogen development executive for CMO position

Sarepta’s previous CMO, Catherine Stehman-Breen, was hired in April 2017 but quietly left the company later that December. (Pixabay)

Sarepta Therapeutics has brought on Biogen’s senior VP of late-stage programs, Gilmore O’Neill, to fill the role of chief medical officer, after their previous hire left after less than a year.

During his tenure at Biogen, O’Neill held leadership roles overseeing development for Alzheimer’s disease, movement disorders, acute neurology, multiple sclerosis, pain, neuromuscular disease, cell therapy and rare diseases. He also helped seek approvals for Tecfidera, Zinbryta, Plegridy and Spinraza.

Previously, O’Neill served as a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and as chief resident in neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, with a subspecialty interest in neuromuscular diseases and inherited leukodystrophies. At Sarepta, O’Neill will lead all its clinical development, medical affairs, pharmacovigilance and regulatory affairs.

Sarepta’s previous CMO, Catherine Stehman-Breen, M.D., was hired in April 2017 but quietly departed the company at the end of the year. Previously, Stehman-Breen was VP of clinical development and regulatory affairs at Regeneron, following 12 years at Amgen, where she led neuroscience, nephrology and bone therapeutic research.

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Currently, Stehman-Breen serves as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Atlas Venture and as interim CMO for some biotech companies in its portfolio. She also sits on the board of directors of Atlas company Generation Bio, which focuses on genetic medicines.

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“Gilmore is uniquely positioned to successfully lead our development strategy,” Sarepta’s president and CEO, Doug Ingram, said in a statement. “He has deep expertise in neurobiology, genetic medicine and clinical development, having driven some of biotech’s most successful clinical programs.”

“I’m looking forward to making a fast start, and one of my most pressing priorities will be to meet with and learn from the [Duchenne muscular dystrophy] patient community,” O’Neill said in the statement.

Earlier this year, a phase 3 study of Sarepta’s next-generation DMD treatments, golodirsen and casimersen, was put on pause in the U.K., triggered by a serious adverse event. An independent committee subsequently reviewed the trial’s safety data and said dosing could continue for all patients after it was unable to make a connection between the drug and the side effect.