Zeldin joins Immunovant as CMO months after Acceleron split

Immunovant Chief Medical Officer Robert Zeldin (Acceleron Pharma)

Immunovant has named Robert Zeldin as its chief medical officer. Zeldin, who last worked as CMO of Acceleron Pharma, arrives at Immunovant shortly after it moved its lead drug into phase 2 trials in two indications.

The appointment gives Immunovant access to the experience and skills of an executive who has held senior clinical leadership positions at a clutch of biotechs. Zeldin joined Acceleron as CMO in June 2018 but left the company in April the day after it stopped development of systemic muscle agent ACE-2494 in response to the discovery of anti-drug antibodies in phase 1.

Acceleron hired Zeldin partly on the strength of his work at Ablynx, where he worked from 2015 to 2018. Zeldin’s time as CMO of Ablynx covered a period in which the biotech took caplacizumab through late-phase development and into regulatory filings. That progress led Sanofi to make a $4.8 billion takeover offer. Zeldin left Ablynx around the time Sanofi closed the deal.

Earlier in his career, Zeldin spent four years at Stallergenes, where he headed global clinical development, and did longer stints at Novartis and Merck. Zeldin began his career in industry at Merck in 1997, having previously worked for one year as a medical officer at the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. 

Immunovant thinks that résumé makes Zeldin a good fit for its needs. 

"Robert has an impressive track record of delivering results and leading clinical development teams. I am delighted to welcome him as we pursue studies of IMVT-1401 for multiple autoimmune diseases," Immunovant CEO Pete Salzmann said in a statement.

IMVT-1401 is an anti-FcRn monoclonal antibody that Immunovant’s parent company, Roivant Sciences, picked up the rights to in most major markets from HanAll Biopharma. Immunovant began phase 2 trials of the drug in myasthenia gravis and Graves' ophthalmopathy earlier this year.