MiroBio, a biotechnology company advancing a new class of precision therapies designed to address the immune imbalance that drives autoimmune disease, today announced the appointment of Carolin Barth, M.D., as Chief Executive Officer.
Dr Barth’s appointment follows other recent senior appointments to support operational expansion including Julian Hirst, formerly of Immunocore, as Chief Financial Officer and Lynne Murray, PhD, formerly of AstraZeneca, as Senior Vice President of Research & Development.
MiroBio is uniquely focused on a new area of precision immunology using checkpoint agonist antibodies. Each of MiroBio’s candidates is designed to selectively activate a specific immune checkpoint pathway, to restore immune homeostasis. Checkpoint receptor pathways are powerful regulators of immune reactivity. Currently approved checkpoint inhibitor therapies use receptor antagonism to ‘take the brakes off’ the immune system to fight cancer. By contrast, MiroBio’s therapies are designed to specifically activate inhibitory checkpoint pathways through receptor agonism. This approach is intended to dampen the immune overactivity that drives immune-mediated inflammatory diseases and restore a balanced immune state. MiroBio’s most advanced program, MB272, targets the immune receptor BTLA and is readying for Phase 1 initiation in early 2022. A PD-1 agonist program, MB151, is also in preclinical development, followed by a growing pipeline of checkpoint agonist antibodies in earlier-stage development.
“It is the ideal time for Carolin to assume leadership of MiroBio,” said Eliot Charles, PhD, Executive Chairman of MiroBio. “The Company is approaching the clinic with an exciting pipeline that represents the most substantial portfolio in an important new class of autoimmune therapies. MiroBio has built its proprietary drug discovery and development engine to comprehensively evaluate the more than 70 inhibitory checkpoints for new drug programs. Carolin’s strategic mindset and wealth of experience in the successful development and commercialization of several ground-breaking therapies, particularly in the areas of immunology and autoimmune disease, will be invaluable as MiroBio seeks to deliver these promising new medicines to patients. Together with MiroBio’s other recent hires, I am confident that the team is exceptionally well-suited to drive the Company’s next stages of growth and longer-term success.”
Dr Barth most recently served at Novartis as global head of commercial and pipeline strategy, cell and gene. She held roles at Novartis of increasing responsibility over 17 years, including serving as global program head for several development programs and commercial launch leader in the areas of dermatology, rheumatology and chronic myeloid leukaemia. As global head of dermatology, she played an instrumental role in the development and commercialisation of transformational antibody therapies such as COSENTYX and XOLAIR.
“I am very excited to join MiroBio – a company that stands out for its deep expertise, focus, and bold vision for delivering a new, better class of therapies for autoimmune disease. With its agonist antibody design expertise and unique approach to understanding both checkpoint pathway function and its potential in a wide variety of disease settings, I believe MiroBio can deliver several best-in-class new medicines that offer patients more efficacious and safer treatment options,” said Dr Barth. “I look forward to working with the MiroBio team to continue building the entrepreneurial and patient-centric culture that will help us succeed through a critical phase of growth and development.”
MiroBio’s drug discovery engine combines proprietary discovery and development technologies with strategic mapping of the inhibitory signalling landscape across immune cell types and diseases. It builds on 15 years of deep foundational research at the University of Oxford and is designed to deliver best-in-class agonistic antibodies in addition to an unmatched understanding of inhibitory checkpoint pathways. MiroBio antibodies are uniquely designed to robustly agonise a specific immune checkpoint receptor. MiroBio’s pathway database is informed by a growing global collaborator network that allows the company to catalogue diseased inhibitory receptor states which will inform the future selection of patient populations for clinical trial enrichment and highly targeted indications.
Dr Barth’s appointment follows the recent appointments of other senior strategic leaders to oversee the financial and R&D functions of MiroBio. CFO Julian Hirst previously served as Corporate Finance Director and Head of Investor Relations at Immunocore where he played an instrumental role in raising over $930M in three private rounds, a venture debt financing and an IPO. He previously spent over 20 years in investment banking including leading the European technology corporate finance team at UBS where he was a Managing Director. SVP of R&D Dr Lynne Murray joined MiroBio from AstraZeneca where she was Head of Regeneration, Early Respiratory and Immunology. Dr Murray’s earlier roles at AstraZeneca were in the partnering & strategy department and as Head of Fibrosis Biology at MedImmune, where she established MedImmune/AstraZeneca’s fibrosis pipeline that delivered multiple assets into the clinic. Before that, she served as a Director of Pharmacology at Promedior and in R&D at antibody developer Centocor.