EnVivo Pharmaceuticals has named Deborah Dunsire, M.D., as its president and CEO. She also joins the company’s board of directors. Previously, Dr. Dunsire served as president and CEO of Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company. Based in Watertown, Mass., EnVivo Pharmaceuticals, which is backed by Fidelity Biosciences, is a company that focuses on treating central nervous system disorders.
WATERTOWN, Mass. – July 11, 2013 – EnVivo Pharmaceuticals, a company dedicated to developing a broad range of novel therapies for central nervous system (CNS) diseases, today announced the appointment of Deborah Dunsire, M.D., as president and chief executive officer. She also joins the company’s board of directors. Dr. Dunsire, formerly president and chief executive officer of Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, brings more than 25 years of scientific, clinical, operational and commercial experience, and proven leadership in the biological and pharmaceutical industry.
Dr. Dunsire served as president and chief executive officer of Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., now Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, from 2005 to 2013. During that period, she transformed the company into a biotechnology industry leader by focusing R&D, driving the development pipeline, fostering a culture of employee engagement and increasing the commercial mindset across the organization to enhance the commercial success of marketed products. The company was acquired by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited in 2008 for $8.8 billion – one of the largest biotech acquisitions at that time – and became Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company. Dr. Dunsire was the first woman appointed to Takeda’s board of directors.
“Deborah’s ability to build a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company with an award-winning culture of innovation and successfully commercialize late-stage programs while developing a leading research pipeline is unparalleled,” said Stephen Knight, M.D., chairman of the EnVivo board of directors and president of Fidelity Biosciences. “She joins EnVivo at a transformative point in the company’s evolution, as our lead product, EVP-6124, is in Phase 3 clinical trials in schizophrenia and will enter a Phase 3 clinical trial in Alzheimer’s disease later this year. We are excited to work with Deborah to build EnVivo toward global CNS leadership.
I thank Robert Weisskoff, Ph.D., for his exceptional leadership as interim chief executive officer as he resumes his prior role as a member of the company’s board of directors.”
“CNS diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia, take a devastating toll on patients, families and the health care system,” said Dr. Dunsire. “EnVivo’s late-stage lead product candidate and broad pipeline of promising clinical programs present a unique and compelling opportunity to develop new therapies with the potential to make a dramatic impact on patients’ lives. I am looking forward to working with the EnVivo team to purpose-build a biopharmaceutical company focused on transforming the CNS treatment landscape.”
Prior to leading Millennium, Dr. Dunsire led the Novartis U.S. Oncology Business, playing a critical role in the broad development and successful launch of a number of products. Over 10 years, she increased the North American oncology revenues from $50 million to more than $2.2 billion. She served on the U.S. Pharmaceutical Executive Committee at Novartis. Dr. Dunsire is currently a board member of Allergan, Inc., the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), Museum of Science (Boston), Massachusetts General Hospital Research Advisory Council, CancerCare (New York) and the Gabrielle’s Angels Foundation for Cancer Research. She has received numerous awards, including the 2001 American Cancer Society Excalibur Award, the 2009 Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s “Woman of the Year”, the 2011 MassBIO Innovator Award and the 2013 Boston CEO Conference Lifetime Achievement award. Dr. Dunsire received her medical degree from the University of Witwatersand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
The lead compound in EnVivo’s alpha-7 agonist program, EVP-6124, is a selective, potent, brain penetrant, oral compound that offers a novel mechanism of action – it enhances synaptic transmission in the brain and acts as a co-agonist in combination with Acetylcholine (ACh) to enhance cognition. By sensitizing the alpha-7 receptor, EVP-6124 makes it possible for smaller amounts of naturally occurring ACh to be effective in activating the A7 receptor. This mechanism could potentially alleviate the undesirable side effects caused by other systemic compounds, which are dose-limited by toxic side effects.
EVP-6124 is in Phase 3 clinical development as a potentially long-term treatment to restore and improve cognitive function with sustained effect in Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.
About EnVivo Pharmaceuticals
EnVivo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and its subsidiaries (“EnVivo Pharmaceuticals” or “EnVivo”) are dedicated to discovering and developing small molecule therapeutics for disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). EnVivo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Watertown, Mass., is a privately held company working to convert its broad pipeline into a range of CNS therapies that leverage novel mechanisms of action by altering the progression of disease and providing improvement in cognitive and overall function. For more information about EnVivo, visit www.envivopharma.com.