TP brings on Adverum’s ex-CMO following launch of first-in-human study

Parachute
Countouriotis recently resigned from Adverum after 11 months as CMO. TP hopes its lead product will overcome the drug resistance seen with other precision cancer therapies. (Pixabay)

Following a short stint at Adverum Biotechnologies, Athena Countouriotis, M.D., has joined TP Therapeutics as executive VP and chief medical officer, as the company prepares to unveil first-in-human study data for its lead cancer therapy and expand its pipeline.

TP is developing ropotrectinib (TPX-0005) to target solid tumors with ALK, ROS or NTRK genetic mutations. The San Diego-based company hopes it will overcome the treatment resistance seen with other precision cancer therapies.

Countouriotis recently resigned from Adverum after 11 months as CMO. There she helped launch a phase 1/2 trial late last year of ADVM-043 in patients with A1AT deficiency, an inherited disease that can cause lung and liver disease. The Menlo Park, California-based startup also saw its CEO, Amber Salzman, step down.

FREE DAILY NEWSLETTER

Like this story? Subscribe to FierceBiotech!

Biopharma is a fast-growing world where big ideas come along every day. Our subscribers rely on FierceBiotech as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data in the world of biotech and pharma R&D. Sign up today to get biotech news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

RELATED: Adverum loses CEO, CMO in quick-fire departures

“Athena has a history of success in oncology drug development, including the kinase inhibitor area which TP focuses on, and we are thrilled that she is joining us,” said Carl Gordon, member of TP’s board of directors and partner at OrbiMed Advisors, in a statement. Countouriotis previously held roles at Halozyme Therapeutics, Ambit Biosciences, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer.

TP was founded in 2013 by oncology drug designer J. Jean Cui, who helped invent Pfizer’s Xalkori (crizotinib) treatment for ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer. Now, as president and chief scientific officer of TP, Cui is developing oral ropotrectinib to overcome crizotinib-resistant ROS1 mutations in NSCLC.

Ropotrectinib has a much smaller physical structure compared to other ROS1 inhibitors, allowing it to bypass various resistance mechanisms seen in refractory patients, the company said in a poster (PDF) presented at the 2017 AACR-NCI-EORTC conference in Philadelphia. Early data from the company’s phase 1/2 dosing study are expected to be presented at an upcoming conference.

Suggested Articles

Two months of treatment with the diabetes drug Jardiance reduced pulmonary congestion and biomarkers of heart failure in pig models.

Neither dose of the NGF inhibitor hit all the co-primary efficacy goals, and both fared worse than placebo on the safety assessments.

Mustang Bio’s stock leapt more than 400% before settling down, on the news that its gene therapy cured eight infants with “bubble boy” syndrome.