Munich, Germany, May 4, 2021 – CatalYm GmbH, a biopharmaceutical company developing novel cancer immunotherapies, today announced the appointment of Dr. Phil L’Huillier as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective May 17, 2021. Dr. Phil L’Huillier brings over two decades of experience in executive leadership positions in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, with an outstanding track record of success in the commercial development of businesses and partnerships. His experience reflects an international career in business, science, and academia.
Dr. Phil L’Huillier joins CatalYm from a position as Head of the European Innovation Hub & Business Development at MSD (known as Merck & Co. in North America). In this position he was an active member of MSD global Business Development and Licensing Leadership as well leading a team of scientific and business development professionals that were focused on the identification, evaluation and development of novel science from academia, biotech and peer-pharma. His team also executed numerous major pharmaceutical collaborations, licenses and acquisitions spanning MSD’s therapeutic areas.
Dr. L’Huillier worked for a decade as Executive Director and Board Member of Cancer Research Technology (CRT), a leading oncology focused technology commercialization and drug discovery firm, where he was responsible for development, commercialization and licensing of numerous programs, from discovery to early clinical stages. He simultaneously played key roles in the formation of a number of biotech companies and served as Non-Executive Director for Achilles Therapeutic Artios Pharma, BliNK Therapeutics, PsiOxus Therapeutics, Revitope and Senectus Therapeutics overseeing and supporting financing and business activities. Prior to CRT, Dr. L’Huillier led global licensing and business development at BioFocus Discovery, an AIM-listed integrated early-stage drug discovery company that was acquired by Galapagos. Prior to joining commercial industry, he also ran a research team for a period of five years following his PhD and Post-doctoral training. Dr. L’Huillier holds a PhD in cellular and molecular biology from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, as well as an MBA.
“It is a true pleasure to welcome Dr. Phil L’Huillier as the new CEO of CatalYm. Phil is a very experienced pharma executive highly regarded for his strategic expertise, management skills, and know-how when it comes to biotech financing and BD transactions,” said Dr. John Haurum, Chairman of CatalYm’s Supervisory Board. “After joining CatalYm earlier this year and now with Phil as CEO, we are well positioned to execute on CatalYm’s business strategy. Furthermore, with Phil at the helm, we now have a strong team in place to lead the company through the next stages of development and bring our highly innovative anti-GDF-15 cancer immunotherapy to successful clinical proof-of-concept.”
Dr. Phil L’Huillier, designated Chief Executive Officer of CatalYm commented: “I am delighted to join and lead CatalYm during these exciting times. This company has significant potential to reshape the cancer immunotherapy space through the novel mechanism currently being tested in early clinical development. I very much look forward to working with the highly experienced and talented CatalYm team and Board to create new treatment options for patients not currently responding to checkpoint inhibitor treatments. The design of the ongoing clinical trial is smart and has the potential to pave the way for innovative combination therapies in patients with a high medical need.”
CatalYm is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel cancer immunotherapies targeting Growth-and-Differentiation Factor 15 (GDF-15). Apart from its established role in cachexia, GDF-15 has been associated with immunosuppression in tissues and tumors and a rapidly growing body of literature supports the concept that GDF-15 is a major T cell repellent. CatalYm aims to neutralize GDF-15 to turn “cold” tumors “hot” and thereby substantially improving the efficacy of established immunotherapy such as anti-PD1/-PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors. The company’s lead product candidate CTL-002, a neutralizing GDF-15 antibody, is currently under clinical evaluation in a two-part, open-label, multicenter, Phase I clinical trial (GDFATHER trial).
The company was founded in 2016 as a spin-off from the Julius-Maximilians-University of Würzburg based on the innovative research work of Prof. Dr. Joerg Wischhusen. CatalYm is led by a seasoned senior executive team with substantial IO drug development as well as deal making experience and backed by international venture capital investors, e.g. Forbion and BioGeneration Ventures, Vesalius Biocapital III, Novartis Venture Fund, Wachstumsfonds Bayern and coparion. CatalYm received financial support from the EIF via the EIB-EIF Co-investment Facility, backed by the European Union through the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).
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