NEW YORK, NY; ANN ARBOR, Mich. – February 3, 2015 – Lycera Corp., a biopharmaceutical company developing breakthrough medicines to treat cancer and autoimmune disease, today announced that Paul Sekhri has been named President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors, effective immediately. Mr. Sekhri brings more than 25 years of operational experience in the life sciences industry, including business development and strategy, general management, drug development, and commercial strategy. He succeeds Kathleen M. Metters, Ph.D., who currently serves as Senior Advisor to the Company.
Steven Gillis, Ph.D., Lycera’s Chairman and Managing Director with ARCH Venture Partners, commented, “Paul is an energetic and successful leader with a proven track record in the life sciences. His broad industry perspective will be essential as Lycera transitions to a clinical-stage company advancing multiple programs, including its lead candidate in autoimmune disease, which is anticipated to enter the clinic later this quarter.” Dr. Gillis added, “We are grateful to Kathleen for her significant achievements during her tenure as CEO and look forward to her continued contributions as Lycera advances internal programs into the clinic.”
Mr. Sekhri stated, “I’m very excited to join the Lycera team, which has world-class expertise in new approaches to immune-oncology and immune-mediated diseases. Having built a culture of scientific excellence, and created a global network among leading research collaborators, Lycera is poised for its next evolution in meeting compelling patient needs in cancer and autoimmune diseases.”
Prior to joining Lycera, Mr. Sekhri was Senior Vice President, Integrated Care at Sanofi, where he led the creation of innovative solutions and business models to meet patient needs. Previously, he served as Group Executive Vice President, Global Business Development and Chief Strategy Officer at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. Prior to this, Mr. Sekhri was Operating Partner and Head, Biotech Ops Group at TPG Biotech, the life science venture arm of the global private investment firm TPG, where he was responsible for a portfolio of more than 50 life science firms. Previously, Mr. Sekhri founded and was President and Chief Executive Officer of Cerimon Pharmaceuticals, focused on autoimmune diseases and pain management, and prior to that, he was President and Chief Business Officer of Ariad Pharmaceuticals. Earlier in his career, he held senior positions at Novartis Pharma AG, including as Senior Vice President and Head, Global Search and Evaluation and M&A. He also held managerial positions at Millipore Corporation and PerSeptive Biosystems. Mr. Sekhri has served as a director of numerous private and public company boards, including KAI Pharmaceuticals, Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Macrogenics, PatientSafe Solutions, and Tandem Diabetes, and as board advisor to IMS Health. Currently, he is director of Veeva Systems Inc. Mr. Sekhri completed postgraduate studies in clinical anatomy and neuroscience at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine and received his BS degree from the University of Maryland.
Lycera is a biopharmaceutical company advancing novel treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases based on a proprietary portfolio of small molecules designed primarily to either suppress or activate the immune response. The Company’s world-class expertise in distinct, yet complementary, areas of research – immune metabolism, cell signaling and immune cell differentiation – has generated four wholly owned programs, including a lead product candidate to treat inflammatory bowel disease (LYC-30937) expected to enter clinical testing in the first half of 2015. In addition, Lycera has established two collaborations with partner Merck to discover, develop and commercialize small molecule therapies for autoimmune disorders. The Lycera leadership team possesses deep experience from drug discovery and development through commercialization and has established close relationships with renowned thought leaders and clinical researchers worldwide. Lead investors in Lycera include InterWest Partners, ARCH Venture Partners, Clarus Ventures and EDF Ventures.