Startup Tiburio nabs Avrobio executive Kreher as chief medical officer

Tiburio's poaching came just two months after the biotech launched with $31 million. (Getty/NosUA)

Just two months after raising $31 million in a series A round, Tiburio Therapeutics is wasting no time in getting its executives in order, nabbing Avrobio’s former chief medical officer Nerissa Kreher, M.D., as its own.

Drug accelerator Cydan unveiled Tiburio in January with pair of clinical-stage compounds licensed from Ipsen, which includes TBR-760, a dopamine-somatostatin chimeric molecule that has been shown to inhibit NFPA cell proliferation, as well as TBR-065, which the company is developing for “several rare endocrine conditions,” it told us during its formal launch at the start of the year.

This is a big get for such a small and young company. Kreher also served stints at Zafgen and Shire, to name but a few.

Kreher also led all clinical development and clinical operations for multiple global rare disease programs, including programs for Fabry and Gaucher disease, among others, at Avrobio. She now becomes CMO at Tiburio, a role newly created for her, focusing on treatments for rare neuroendocrine tumors and endocrine diseases.

In October last year, shares in her former company were halved when Avrobio reported results from the first three patients on its Fabry disease gene therapy, even though one was able to be weaned off enzyme replacement therapy.

Although there were signs of efficacy and a tolerable safety profile with AVR-RD-01, investors were spooked by steady declines in vector copy number in peripheral blood in the months following one-off administration of the therapy. Shares in the company closed down 52%.

RELATED: Avrobio posts encouraging update for Fabry gene therapy phase 1, 2 trials

 “We are very fortunate to have Nerissa join Tiburio given her clinical expertise in endocrinology and breadth of experience leading the advancement of clinical-stage programs for rare diseases at some of the most recognized companies in the industry,” said Abraham N. Ceesay, CEO of Tiburio.

“Throughout her career, she has shown tremendous dedication to the rare disease communities she’s served. We look forward to her leadership and expertise progressing our lead program with TBR-760 into a Phase 2 clinical trial for patients with non-functioning pituitary adenoma in the second half of 2019.”

Kreher added: “I’m thrilled to join the team and help the company advance what we hope will be the first non-invasive and effective treatment for patients suffering from these debilitating and life-altering pituitary tumors.”