Southampton, UK – 2 May 2006 – Karus Therapeutics, an emerging biotechnology company and University of Southampton spinout, focused on developing innovative therapeutics to treat cancer and heart disease, has announced the appointment of Simon Kerry as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Simon joins Karus from a senior business development position with a European biotech company, where he achieved an enviable track-record of successful deal-making.
“I joined Karus because the company’s therapeutics platform is exciting and the scientist are experts in their field,” he said. “An important factor in Karus’s success is the collaborative effort between chemists, biologist and clinicians. Our work at Karus is expected to play an important role in tackling cancer, heart disease and inflammation.”
After graduating from Loughborough University with a life-science PhD and an MBA, Simon’s CV has included over ten years in senior business development posts at several biotech companies both in the UK and Europe, including Active Biotech (Lund, Sweden) and Ablynx (Ghent, Belgium).
Karus Therapeutics was created in July 2005 when Dr A Ganesan from the University’s School of Chemistry, cancer scientist Dr Graham Packham and cardiac biologist Dr Paul Townsend from the University’s School of Medicine joined forces to develop novel drugs known as histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors.
There is already intense interest in the pharmaceutical industry around HDAC inhibitors, which can slow abnormal cell growth, can cause controlled cell death and/or correct abnormal cell differentiation in tumours. The next generation products being developed by Karus are expected to be safer and more potent than their predecessors.
Guiding Karus’s innovative research is a recently formed Scientific Advisory Board comprising key opinion leaders from three continents, including: Dr Chris Larson (Kemia Inc, San Diego), Professor Peter Johnson (University of Southampton), Professor Minoru Yoshida (Japanese Riken Institute) and Dr Tony Raynham (Cancer research technology development laboratory, London).
Karus Therapeutics received £750,00 at its formation, a record level of joint seedcorn funding from IP2IPO, the early stage technology transfer specialists, and the SULIS fund, a seed fund owned by the Universities of Southampton, Bath and Bristol. At the time, it was the 15th company to be spun out the University of Southampton since 2000, two of which have already listed on the London Stock Exchange.