A Kalamazoo biotech company has appointed a new president/CEO and board director.
Tolera Therapeutics, a privately held immune therapy company developing a novel T-cell targeted therapeutic platform, has hired Ashleigh Palmer, president and founder of Creative BioVentures Corp.
While taking the lead at Tolera, Palmer will continue in his role at Creative BioVentures, a strategic advisory serving the biopharma industry.
Since founding Creative BioVentures in 2002, Palmer has undertaken several development stage and turnaround assignments, including CEO and chairman of Restoragen, CEO of Canfite Biopharma and CEO of Unigene Laboratories.
Tolera board chairman Suzette Dutch, a managing partner at Triathlon Medical Ventures, said Palmer “has an ideal track record in developing, partnering and commercializing advanced-stage biopharma assets and pioneering therapeutic platforms.”
Previously, Palmer was vice president of business development at Ohmeda, where he played an instrumental role in its $1.2-billion sale to a Baxter-led consortium, by spinning out Ohmeda's inhaled nitric oxide assets to found INO Therapeutics.
Under Palmer's leadership, INO developed and commercialized the world's first selective pulmonary vasodilator, INOmax, establishing an orphan drug franchise subsequently acquired by Ikaria for $670 million.
Earlier in his career, Palmer held positions of increasing responsibility in sales and marketing management at Reckitt Benckiser and SSL International.
He received his M.B.A. from the University of Bradford, England and his B.S. with honors in biochemistry and applied molecular biology from the University of Manchester, England.
Tolera Therapeutics is focused on developing and commercializing a highly specific, T-cell antagonist, monoclonal antibody technology, anti-TCR, with application potential across a broad spectrum of T-cell mediated diseases, such as transplant rejection, autoimmune disease and cancer.
The company's TOL101 has successfully completed clinical testing through Phase 2 and is ready for advanced stage clinical testing, having received approval of a special protocol assessment with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a Phase 3 clinical trial, comparing TOL101 to Thymoglobulin.
Tolera Therapeutics' primary investors include Triathlon Medical Venture Partners, Hopen Life Science Ventures, the SWMF Life Science Fund and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
"Having completed a successful Phase 2 renal transplantation study for its lead product candidate, TOL101, Tolera is now poised to carefully consider its strategic options, evaluate the needs of prospective partners and advance this novel therapeutic approach towards a market that appears ripe for the entry of an advantageous induction agent," Palmer said. "Tolera also has a significant opportunity to advance its broader T-cell targeting therapeutic platform, especially with respect to autoimmune disease and cancer. Effective partnering will be the key to this endeavor."