BerGenBio appoints cancer drug development specialist Alan Barge MD as interim Chief Medical Officer
Further senior organisational changes made in preparation for advancing bemcentinib into the next stage of clinical development in multiple aggressive cancers
Bergen, Norway, 22nd November 2018 – BerGenBio ASA (OSE: BGBIO), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel, oral, selective AXL kinase inhibitors for multiple cancer indications, is delighted to announce the appointment of Alan Barge MD as Interim Chief Medical Officer and member of the leadership team. The Company also announces further senior organisational changes and a strengthening of its clinical operations as it prepares for the intended advancement of its lead candidate bemcentinib into the next stages of clinical development.
Dr Barge is a board-certified oncologist and haematologist, with more than 25 years of experience in cancer drug development, spent primarily at AstraZeneca and Amgen. He spent over 12 years at AstraZeneca, where he was VP and Head Oncology and Infection, during which time he was responsible for the development of Iressa® (gefitinib) for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and the translational research that resulted in the successful personalised medicine strategy for AZ. Prior to AZ, Dr Barge was European and Global Medical Director at Amgen, at which he was responsible for European approval and label extensions for several of Amgen’s cancer therapies. More recently, Dr Barge has been actively involved in the biotech sector in both CMO and non-executive positions, including CMO of Carrick Therapeutics (UK and Ireland) and SVP Oncology at ASLAN Pharmaceuticals (Singapore).
Dr Barge will work as part of BerGenBio’s leadership team on an interim basis until a permanent CMO is appointed.
Richard Godfrey, Chief Executive Officer of BerGenBio, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Alan to the team. His vast experience from developing successful cancer drugs with AstraZeneca and Amgen will be most valuable in forming and executing the Company’s clinical and regulatory strategy for bemcentinib as we enter the next phase of development. We anticipate further results from our phase II proof-of-concept studies of bemcentinib in NSCLC and AML in the coming months, and aim to start a randomised phase 2 trial programme in these indications in 2019."
In addition, BerGenBio announces the promotion of Dr Anthony Brown to Chief Scientific Officer from Director of Research, succeeding BerGenBio co-founder Professor James Lorens, who becomes a Senior Scientific Advisor to the Company. Murray Yule, BerGenBio’s Clinical Development Officer, will leave the Company with effect from 30 November 2018. Further, as noted during the Company’s Q3 2018 results presentation, Dr Tone Bjaaland has recently been appointed as Director of Clinical Operations ( >25 years’ experience in clinical research) and further strengthens the team.
About BerGenBio ASA
BerGenBio is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing transformative drugs targeting AXL as a potential cornerstone of therapy for advanced and aggressive cancers. The company's proprietary lead candidate, bemcentinib, is a potential first-in- class, selective AXL inhibitor in a broad phase II clinical development programme. Ongoing clinical trials are investigating bemcentinib in multiple solid and haematological tumours, in combination with current and emerging therapies (including immunotherapies, targeted therapies and chemotherapy), and as a single agent.
In parallel, BerGenBio is developing a companion diagnostics test to identify patient populations most likely to benefit from bemcentinib: this is expected to facilitate more efficient registration trials and support a precision medicine-based commercialisation strategy.
BerGenBio is based in Bergen, Norway with a subsidiary in Oxford, UK. The company is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (ticker: BGBIO). www.bergenbio.com
Richard Godfrey CEO, BerGenBio ASA
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Rune Skeie, CFO, BerGenBio ASA
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Forward looking statements
This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, which as such are not historical facts, but are based upon various assumptions, many of which are based, in turn, upon further assumptions. These assumptions are inherently subject to significant known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors. Such risks, uncertainties, contingencies and other important factors could cause actual events to differ materially from the expectations expressed or implied in this announcement by such forward-looking statements.
This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act