Scorned Biotech KaloBios (KBIO) Taps New CEO in Hopes of Moving Past Martin Shkreli Controversy

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO – KaloBios Pharmaceuticals (KBIO) has finally named a new chief executive officer to help guide the embattled company out of the shadows of its former CEO Martin Shkreli, who faces federal charges for multiple counts of securities fraud.

South San Francisco-based KaloBios, which is focused on the development of antibodies that target cancer, tapped Cameron Durrant, 55, as the company's new chief executive officer. Durrant will receive a monthly salary of $50,000, according to KaloBios' filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In January, Durrant was named chairman of the company's board of directors.

"Dr. Durrant brings to the company extensive experience as a pharma/biotech entrepreneur, operating executive and board member," the company said in the filing.

Durrant previously served as CEO of ECR Pharmaceuticals, as well as founder, chairman and CEO of PediatRx, CEO of PediaMed Pharmaceuticals, and founder of Taran Pharma Limited. Durrant also spent time as a senior executive at Johnson and Johnson (JNJ), Pharmacia, GSK (GSK) and Merck (MRK).
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Durrant faces a task of bringing KaloBios back following not only its Shkreli period, but also the company's near shutting down of operations in late 2015. It was shortly after the company announced it was close to selling off its assets that Shkreli and other investors swooped in and acquired a majority of the stock and infused the company with financing. Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager, gained notoriety in the pharmaceutical industry for acquiring a 65-year-old toxoplasmosis treatment and increasing its price 5,000 percent while helming Turing Pharmaceuticals. Before Shkreli was charged by the federal government, he was brokering a deal for KaloBios to acquire a treatment for Chagas disease, but that was never finalized before his arrest. The KaloBios board then terminated Shkreli from his position as the newly-named CEO.

At the end of December, following Shkreli's indictment, KaloBios filed for bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, estimating its assets of $8.37 million and debts of $1.94 million. By filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy, KaloBios will have time to reorganize its now shaky leadership structure, restructure its debt, or possibly look at divesting itself of its assets—a move it was about to make earlier this year before Shkreli and his partners acquired hundreds of thousands of shares of its common stock.

Durrant's seasoned hand could help KaloBios. The company still has a promising leukemia treatment in its pipeline. Lenzilumab, or KB003, a treatment for chronic monomyelocytic leukemia. Lenzilumab is an anti-GM-CSF mAb that was originally tested for asthma, but was not effective in clinical trials.

In January, KaloBios' stock was delisted from the NASDAQ. It is now trading "over the counter" for $2.12 per share, slightly above what it was trading when Shkreli acquired the company in November 2015. Following Shkreli's acquisition of KaloBios, its shares shot up to $39.50 before dropping back, then ultimately crashing after his indictment and the company's bankruptcy filing. KaloBios is now trading under the ticker symbol KBIOQ.