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Barr Ellison Solicitors – commercial property
25 September, 2018 - 13:04 By Tony Quested

New heavyweight CEO forecasts global lead for NodThera

Life science industry heavyweight Dr Adam Keeney has bowed in as CEO and president of Cambridge inflammation specialist NodThera with a prediction that the business can become a world leader after building a solid transatlantic launchpad in the UK and US.

Dr Keeney has over 20 years’ pharmaceutical industry experience – most recently at Sanofi Genzyme and prior to that at Johnson & Johnson.

NodThera, based at Chesterford Research Park, is a private biotech focused on the discovery and development of next generation NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors for the treatment of diseases driven by chronic inflammation.

Dr Keeney says: “Selective NLRP3 inflammasome inhibition is one of the most promising areas to treat diseases caused by chronic inflammation. I believe that NodThera’s next generation approach has the potential to bring new treatment options to patients across a wide range of therapeutic areas. 

“With offices in both the UK and the US, NodThera is establishing a truly global business, well positioned to push the frontiers of inflammation research with access to the very best talent in the field. 

“I am excited to be working together with our highly experienced management team, Scientific Advisory Board and our experienced international Board of Directors to establish NodThera as a world-leader in NLRP3 inflammasome inhibition.”

NodThera already has operations in Cambridge UK and both Boston and Seattle in the US.

Investors include Sofinnova Partners, 5AM Ventures, Epidarex Capital and F-Prime Capital Partners. Selvita, which spun the company out of its immunology research platform in August 2016, remains a shareholder. In June the company raised $40 million in a Series A round.

Alan Watt, who has been acting as interim CEO since the company’s inception will now resume his role as full-time chief scientific officer.

Dr Keeney joins NodThera from Sanofi Genzyme, where he served as global head of business Development. In this role, he was responsible for leading all of Sanofi Genzyme’s business development activities, including early and late stage deals.

He supported each of Sanofi’s specialty care therapeutic areas which include immunology, neurology, oncology, rare diseases and rare blood disorders. Dr Keeney was also chair of the internal governance body that oversaw the review, prioritisation and execution of all external R & D investments, as well as management of the external research budget.

Previously, Dr Keeney worked at Johnson & Johnson where he held a number of roles with increasing responsibility eventually becoming site head of the Johnson & Johnson California Innovation Center, catalysing early stage innovation across J&J’s pharmaceuticals, medical devices and consumer businesses. 

Dr Keeney started his career as a research scientist at H. Lundbeck A/S. He holds a PhD in Neuropharmacology from the University of Nottingham, UK.

Henrijette Richter, managing partner of Sofinnova Partners and chair of the NodThera board said: “Attracting a CEO of Adam’s calibre is a testament to the exciting potential of NodThera and its novel approach to creating treatments for a range of diseases driven by chronic inflammation. 

“The broad applicability of NodThera’s product candidates requires a leadership team that has considerable expertise in leading a rapid development pathway and proactive and productive partnering and collaboration strategy. 

“With the appointment of Adam, the board strongly believes that a world-class management team has been established to guide NodThera through its next phase of growth.”

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