Seres Therapeutics has lured Kevin Horgan from AstraZeneca to work as its CMO. The appointment puts Horgan in charge of a pipeline of drugs designed to treat disease through the alteration of the microbiome.
Horgan is a physician-scientist with a background in immunology. After taking up his first industry post at Merck 20 years ago, Horgan went on serve as VP of clinical immunology at Johnson & Johnson’s Centocor at a time when the company was working on Remicade, Stelara and Simponi. Horgan later spent stints as CMO of Soligenix and Coronado Biosciences before returning to Big Pharma by taking up a post at AstraZeneca in 2015.
At AstraZeneca, Horgan has spent the past few years leading the development of immuno-oncology combination programs. Now though, Horgan has accepted Seres’ offer to replace Michele Trucksis and is moving on again.
Horgan inherits one of the broadest, most advanced microbiome pipelines in the industry. The ups and downs of SER-109, a treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection that failed in phase 2, have been the focal point at Seres over the past few years. That drug is now in a potentially pivotal phase 3.
While the SER-109 trial is already underway, there are other assets that Horgan will need to take into new studies. SER-287, which has already been through a phase 1b in ulcerative colitis, is set to move deeper into the clinic. And SER-401, a drug designed to boost the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors, is working its way toward human testing.
The immuno-oncology program overlaps with the work Horgan has been doing at AstraZeneca for the past few years. And Seres thinks the work Horgan did earlier in his career makes him a good fit for its broader pipeline.
“Seres’ R&D efforts are increasingly focused on early and later stage immunological indications, and Kevin’s deep clinical background in these areas makes him very well suited to lead our clinical development studies,” Seres CEO Roger Pomerantz said in a statement.
Horgan is replacing Trucksis, who handed in her resignation last week and will leave Seres in the middle of next month. Trucksis, who joined Seres as CMO in 2015, will provide consulting services to the company after she leaves.