Saniona har rekryterat Wendy Dwyer till tjänsten som Chief Business Officer. BioStock kontaktade Dwyer, som under sin tid på Surface Oncology Inc, spelade en nyckelroll i att säkra ett licensavtal värt 815 miljoner USD med 85 miljoner USD i förskott för en preklinisk immunonkologisk tillgång. Hon berättar även hur affärsutveckling kan skapa värde åt Saniona, samt vilka hennes prioriteringar kommer att vara under det kommande året.
Saniona utvecklar sin huvudkandidat Tesomet för behandling av patienter med de allvarliga sällsynta sjukdomarna Prader-Willis syndrom (PWS) och hypotalamisk fetma (HO). Bolaget siktar på att starta fas IIb-studier i de båda indikationerna före årsskiftet.
Utöver detta genomgår SAN711 för närvarande kliniska fas I-studier, med möjliga tillämpningar vid behandling av sällsynta neuropatiska störningar. SAN903 utvecklas för sällsynta inflammatoriska, fibrotiska och hematologiska störningar och befinner sig för närvarande i preklinisk utveckling. En fas I-studie med SAN903 förväntas inledas under H2 2022.
Den 15 september tillkännagav bolaget att Wendy Dwyer utnämnts till Chief Business Officer. BioStock kontaktade Dwyer för att få veta mer om hennes bakgrund, vad som lockade henne att ansluta till Saniona, samt vad hon tar med sig till bolaget när det gäller att säkra avtal.
Wendy, can you start out by talking about your professional background?
– Yes sure. I earned a master’s degree in business administration from Lesley University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Endicott College. Most recently, when serving as Chief Business Officer at Surface Oncology, in addition to securing the transformative $815 million transaction, I negotiated multiple highly strategic collaborative partnerships and served as a member of the executive leadership team., Prior to that, I served as Chief Business Officer at Portal Instruments Inc., where I secured the first partnership with a large pharmaceutical company for the Portal delivery device. I also served as Vice President, Corporate Business Development with Ipsen Bioscience Inc., where I managed the licensing/acquisition of synergistic marketed and late-stage products to bolster the company’s U.S. and Canadian presence. I have also held senior business development positions at AstraZeneca plc, Antigenics Inc. (now Agenus Inc.), Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Indevus Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Can you give our readers an overview on business development in general, and how you think business development can create value at Saniona?
– In general, business development is about maximizing value creation out of a company’s assets and know-how. The outcome and process can look very different depending on what company and sector you are in, but with the same goal; to grow the business, reach patients faster, and create value. Business development at Saniona will focus on finding ways to partner and out-license some of our assets in non-core markets and/or non-core therapeutic areas. For example, Tesomet could be the potential subject of a license deal in a geographical market where Saniona has no presence, and is not planning on having one in the near term, like Asia.
– For other assets, an out-license or partnership within non-core therapeutic areas, i.e., not rare diseases, could be of interest. These types of transactions can create value in a few key ways, including generating non-dilutive capital for the company (which may reduce the need to raise cash through dilutive means), global reach to patients, and an optimized strategy for our assets, as well as forming synergistic relationships with key industry partners. Separately, in the longer term business development may be used to in-license assets that help grow a company’s portfolio.
What potential do you see in out-licensing or entering into partnerships when it comes to Saniona’s assets?
– As I see it, there are a lot of possibilities and great potential. Saniona has developed an impressive pipeline of assets, including Tesomet and multiple programs emerging from the ion channel drug discovery engine. These kind of transactions and partnerships are of course not done overnight, however in a mid-term perspective I see potential of various opportunities as a significant source to continue to help fund the development of our core assets. This is the experience I bring to Saniona, and a key reason why I joined Saniona: I am very optimistic about Saniona’s future.
What would you say was the main factor behind you succeeding in securing the 815 million USD license agreement as CBO at Surface Oncology Inc.?
– We went through a very strategic process in reviewing the pipeline together with the market dynamics in the Immuno-Oncology space at the time. We focused on the market climate and interest in PVRIG and recognized the potential value of our early, novel asset. There was a strategic fit for PVRIG in combination for a select group of companies and we were able to present the opportunity and data to various management teams, including GSK to garner interest and ultimately close a mutually beneficial partnership.
You will be based in the U.S and serve on Saniona’s executive committee. What will be your main priorities at Saniona during the coming year?
– It’s indeed a very interesting time to be joining Saniona. During the first half of 2021 the company made significant progress on the clinical and regulatory fronts and by the end of this year we plan to initiate two phase 2b trials with Tesomet.
As with every clinical stage pharmaceutical company it is critical to ensure the company is well funded to be able to conduct and advance its clinical development programs. This can be done through a combination of dilutive and non-dilutive capital strategies. With the company’s knowledge and expertise within rare diseases, I believe there is significant unlocked value to optimize for some of these assets through partnerships, whether that be in the form of an out-license, a geographical partnership, a non-core disease deal, or more. One of my main priorities will therefore be to seek and close these strategic relationships to support the optimization of our cash position and the globalization of our programs.
Innehållet i BioStocks nyheter och analyser är oberoende men BioStocks verksamhet är i viss mån finansierad av bolag i branschen. Detta inlägg avser ett bolag som BioStock erhållit finansiering från.