Novocure shakes up C-suite after successful trial of tumor-treating electric fields in lung cancer

Fresh off the release of clinical data showing its Tumor Treating Fields technology, or TTFields, helped improve survival rates for lung cancer patients compared to standard therapies alone, Novocure is bracing for that trial win to kick off a period of rapid growth.

At the core of those preparations is a shuffling of the company’s executive team: Novocure announced on Thursday a slew of promotions and other moves across its C-level leaders, all of which took effect on Tuesday.

“We believe the successful readout of [the Lunar trial] marks the beginning of a transformational period for Novocure, with multiple pivotal studies near completion and numerous future studies preparing for launch,” said CEO Asaf Danziger. “Our leadership needs to continue to evolve with our anticipated growth. We are committed to ensuring we have the optimal structure to support our employees, the business and the thousands of patients we believe we will soon have the opportunity to treat in a multi-indication future.”

Among the most significant moves is the departure of Ely Benaim, M.D., from his position as chief medical officer, which he’d held for nearly four years. Benaim is leaving “after a review of Novocure’s future needs,” according to the company release, but will continue to work with his former executive colleagues to ensure his transition out of the role is a smooth one.

Novocure hasn’t yet appointed a new CMO to replace Benaim permanently, but tapped Piet Hinoul, M.D., Ph.D., head of global medical affairs and a senior VP at the company, to step into the role on an interim basis while an external head hunt continues.

Elsewhere on the team, the Swiss company’s chief commercial officer, Pritesh Shah, has shifted into a new position as chief growth officer. With the new title, Shah will oversee Novocure’s global branding and marketing strategies and, within the U.S., lead the expansion of the TTFields technology into new disease-treating indications. Novocure didn’t share whether or with whom it’ll be filling the chief commercial officer role.

In another shift, Uri Weinberg, M.D., Ph.D., who has been at Novocure since 2008 and served as chief science officer since early 2019, was dubbed chief innovation officer. He’ll be tasked with heading up the continued development of the TTFields system. The newly vacant role of chief science officer will in turn be filled by Moshe Giladi, Ph.D., currently the company’s senior VP of preclinical research.

Novocure’s technology generates electric fields that operate at a relatively high-frequency range, allowing them to penetrate cancer cell membranes and, ideally, interrupt the cells’ division and reproduction processes.

The system has already been cleared by the FDA to help treat new and recurrent glioblastoma and mesothelioma, and additional studies are already underway in pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, brain metastasis and more.

In a preview of the Lunar trial’s results that Novocure shared earlier this month, adding TTFields therapy to the existing treatment regimens of patients with late-stage non-small cell lung cancer was shown to significantly improve their overall survival. At the time, the company said it plans to submit the technology for both FDA premarket approval in the U.S. and CE mark clearance in Europe sometime in the second half of this year.