Tetra Therapeutics names replacement for retired CEO

Chad Coberly. Courtesy Tetra Therapeutics

A local drug company has promoted its COO to CEO following the retirement of its top leader last month.

Grand Rapids-based Tetra Therapeutics — which was acquired last year by Osaka, Japan-based Shionogi & Co. Ltd. — said Friday, July 23, it appointed Chad Coberly, former COO of the company, to succeed CEO Mark Gurney, effective July 1. 

Tetra Therapeutics is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of compounds for the treatment of brain disorders associated with cognitive and memory deficits, notably BPN14770, a selective inhibitor of phosphodiesterase-4D (PDE4D).

After a long career in biotechnology, including founding Tetra, Gurney retired June 30. He is currently serving as a consultant and adviser to Tetra to ensure a smooth transition and continued advancement of Tetra’s pipeline.

Coberly has over 30 years of experience in biotechnology and joined the company in 2017 to assist the management of its phase two clinical program and led the licensing, investment and the merger of the company with Shionogi.

“After a rewarding career culminating in the company’s successful merger last year, I am pleased to be able to retire and leave the company in good hands,” Gurney said. “I have worked with Chad Coberly for the last several years and am confident that he will capably lead the company toward its strategic goals to advance its pipeline of new drugs to the benefit of patients with CNS disorders.”

BPN14770 is a novel therapeutic agent that selectively inhibits phosphodiesterase-4D to enhance early and late stages of memory formation. The unique mechanism has the potential to improve cognitive and memory function in CNS disorders including Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), Azheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementias, learning/developmental disabilities and schizophrenia. Preclinical animal models show BPN14770 has the potential to promote the maturation of connections between neurons, which is impaired in patients with FXS and to protect connections between neurons which otherwise are lost in patients with AD. 

Tetra has completed investigational phase two studies of BPN14770 in adults with FXS, an indication for which BPN14770 has received Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and in Alzheimer’s disease. 

The company and its parent, Shionogi, are currently planning the next trials in both indications.

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