May 23, 2016 – Global life sciences search specialist Coulter Partners has placed Dr. Richard Butt as chief executive officer for Apollo Therapeutics, an investment fund focused on driving therapeutic innovation through university collaboration.
“We are delighted to appoint a CEO of Richard’s caliber and industry experience to drive Apollo’s program forward,” said Dr. Ian Tomlinson, chairman of the Apollo Therapeutics investment committee. “From a very impressive pool of candidates we worked closely with Coulter Partners to find the best fit and I want to thank the whole team for conducting an outstanding search on our behalf.”
Dr. Butt joins Apollo from Pfizer Inc. where he spent 20 years working in research and development. Most recently he was senior director and research project leader, clinical research, at Pfizer Neusentis within its neuroscience and pain research unit. At Pfizer Neusentis he was a member of the senior management team, responsible for defining research unit strategy, delivery of project and portfolio goals and organizational effectiveness.
Dr. Butt also brings valuable experience in drug discovery and development. In his time at Pfizer he held leadership positions in discovery biology, drug safety and clinical line functions and led multiple teams to deliver key milestones from preclinical target validation to the readout of Phase 2a clinical efficacy studies. These programs spanned multiple target classes, disease therapy areas and drug modalities, and many have been delivered through collaborations with biotech and academic partners. Dr. Butt has a particular interest in translational research and recently led Pfizer Neusentis’ translational medicine strategy.
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He has been a member of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry Innovation Board and the Experimental Medicine Expert Network and is a member of the Medical Research Council Industrial Collaborative Training and Careers Assessment Panel.
Apollo Therapeutics is a unique alliance between three global pharmaceutical companies (AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson) and the technology transfer offices (TTOs) responsible for commercializing research from Imperial College London, UCL (University College London) and the University of Cambridge. The $60 million fund will provide translational research funding for early stage therapeutics projects arising from the three universities.
According to Deloitte’s just released 2016 global sector outlook on life sciences, persistent talent shortages and the need to develop and retain employees with critical business and technology skill sets will continue to challenge global life sciences companies as they try to navigate a new world of work — one that requires a dramatic change in strategies for leadership, talent, and human resources.
“Our sector has changed beyond anyone’s expectations over the last two decades,” said CEO Bianca Coulter. “We need to understand the appetites and needs of the major multinationals. This requires reach into all corners of the market. While our office network is growing, the key has been to have multilingual, multi-market experienced and connected researchers and consultants. Our team speaks many languages and has worked in all major bio-pharma markets and is organized as one P&L, to ensure collaborative information and experience sharing.”
The sector has recently enjoyed a healthy stream of investment for the development of new therapies for unmet medical needs. “This spans the entire gamut of existing therapeutic areas from CNS, respiratory, immunology and inflammation to oncology, hematology, ophthalmology and rare diseases,” said Helga Long, a life sciences search specialist who recently merged her practice into RSVP Group. She noted there is a need and reliance on the biotech sector for innovation and early science, and this has led to a surge of investment in biotech startups. “All of these segments now require world class leadership,” said Ms. Long.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media