Biotech

Ex-Novartis Oncology CEO Barrett joins UroGen

Ex-Novartis Oncology CEO Liz Barrett has joined UroGen Pharma. Barrett is taking on as CEO of the uro-oncology specialist at a time when it’s engaged on a rolling NDA that might result in its first drug approval.

Barrett ended a 10-month stint as CEO of Novartis Oncology shortly earlier than Christmas after deciding that her household can be unable to relocate to Basel, Switzerland. At that time, Barrett revealed she would land at a biotech however stored mum concerning the identification of her new employer. Now, UroGen has revealed it has pulled off a coup and secured the providers of the ex-Novartis Oncology CEO.

As CEO of UroGen, Barrett will oversee the rolling FDA submission of lead candidate UGN-101, a formulation of mitomycin that makes use of the corporate’s reverse thermal gel expertise to deal with low-grade higher tract urothelial carcinoma. 

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With UGN-101 on observe to win approval in 2019, certainly one of Barrett’s duties is to construct a small business group to help the anticipated launch. In parallel, Barrett will work to determine extra functions of the reverse thermal gel expertise—which will increase physique cavity dwell time to spice up efficacy—and produce different applied sciences and property on board.  

“There’s nothing that we’ve seen so far that makes us think that you can’t use this [gel] technology across many molecules. You can attach it to chemo. You can attach it to target therapies. You can attach it to large molecules,” Barrett stated. “We are talking to companies about collaborations for potentially partnering on taking some small molecules and using them with the technology.”

Greater use of the gel expertise is a method UroGen could develop its pipeline underneath Barrett’s management past the urothelial carcinoma, bladder most cancers and overactive bladder property at the moment in medical testing.

The different manner is to herald uro-oncology property unrelated to the gel expertise. Barrett is open to coming into into partnerships, collaborations and licensing offers to herald property that ship on her plans to place UroGen for sustainable, long-term progress.

The reality Barrett can envisage methods that may have an enormous impact on the way forward for UroGen is a part of the enchantment of the brand new function. After spending virtually 9 years at Pfizer and 13 years at Johnson & Johnson earlier in her profession, Barrett had an eye fixed on transferring away from Big Pharma when the Novartis job grew to become accessible. At UroGen, Barrett will get to scratch that biotech itch.  

“It’s the attraction of being able to build something from scratch and really have an impact versus dealing frankly with a big company where you can have an impact … but it’s a lot harder when you go through all the governances. It’s difficult to move a big ship,” Barrett stated.  

Barrett has expertise of life at a smaller group from her time at Cephalon, the place she constructed the oncology unit a little bit greater than a decade in the past. That gave Barrett a style for the extent to which it’s potential to maneuver the needle at a small firm. Cephalon wasn’t huge in oncology when Barrett joined in 2006. By 2011, two years after Barrett left, Cephalon had a fast-growing, $400 million-a-year most cancers drug that helped it land a $6.8 billion buyout bid from Teva. 

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