GSK cancer research head to step down, take up CEO role at biotech

GlaxoSmithKline's cancer chief Axel Hoos will step down from his position in August to take up the role of chief executive at Scorpion Therapeutics, the latter company announced Wednesday. The departure of Hoos comes shortly after GlaxoSmithKline unveiled its strategy over the coming decade amidst pressure from shareholders and activist investor Elliott Management.

Hoos joined GlaxoSmithKline in 2012, before being appointed therapeutic area head for oncology in 2015, the same year that the company divested its cancer drug portfolio to Novartis. Scorpion Therapeutics said Hoos was subsequently responsible for rebuilding GlaxoSmithKline's oncology business, across all therapeutic modalities in the focus areas of immuno-oncology, synthetic lethality, tumour cell targeting, epigenetics, as well as cell and gene therapy.

Scorpion Therapeutics added that Hoos was also instrumental in developing the anti-CTLA-4 antibody Yervoy (ipilimumab), which became the first FDA-approved checkpoint immunotherapy when Bristol Myers Squibb gained clearance for it in 2011.

Commenting on his new role, Hoos said "I'm excited to join Scorpion Therapeutics, which is set up to deliver precision medicine 2.0 with the potential to address many unmet needs in the current cancer treatment landscape." The biotech launched last year with $108 million in Series A financing, raising a further $162 million in January this year via a Series B fundraising. Scorpion Therapeutics is aiming to develop targeted small-molecule drugs that are safe and well tolerated, and that can provide deeper, more durable responses for patients with cancer.

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