Medical Innovation Exchange

After Eisai retirement, Ivan Cheung is back to lead Massachusetts biotech

Former Eisai leader Ivan Cheung, the face of approved Alzheimer’s disease medicine Leqembi, is taking the top spot at NextPoint Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotech developing a new class of precision oncology therapeutics by targeting the HHLA2 pathway.

Cheung—former U.S. CEO and global president of neurology for Eisai—departed the Japanese pharma in July, saying he would be retiring after nearly 18 years with the company. The retirement was short-lived, with Cheung now succeeding Detlev Biniszkiewicz, Ph.D., who has led NextPoint since the biotech emerged in 2018, according to a Feb. 1 release.

At Eisai, Cheung helped grow the North American unit to more than $1.5 billion in revenue and launch Lenvima (lenvatinib) for a range of tumor types. He also guided the development of Leqembi (lecanemab), a monoclonal antibody for early-stage Alzheimer’s. Cheung put his retirement notice in a few days after the Biogen-partnered therapeutic received full FDA approval on July 6, 2023.

Cheung now brings his industry experience to Cambridge, Massachusetts-based NextPoint as the company aims to deliver monotherapies for cancer patients who don’t benefit from PD-1/L1 inhibitors by instead using ​​​​the novel HHLA2 pathway.

The biotech, financed by big names such as Leaps by Bayer and Sanofi Ventures, currently has one program in the clinic. Dubbed NPX267, the antibody drug is being tested in a phase 1a/1b study among patients with solid tumors, according to ClinicalTrials.gov.

“My life-long passion is to create positive social impact and advance public health by means of breakthrough medications, and NextPoint is the ideal place to translate that goal into reality,” Cheung said in the company release. “I look forward to building upon the strong foundation that Detlev has created and work with our incredible team in this next phase of growth to establish NextPoint as a high-value biotechnology company.”

https://www.fiercebiotech.com/biotech/after-eisai-retirement-ivan-cheung-back-lead-massachusetts-biotech

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