Race Oncology appoints new managing director and CEO

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Race Oncology has announced the appointment of Damian Clarke-Bruce as its managing director and CEO.

The company said that Phil Lynch would return to his prior role as a non-executive director and work closely with Mr Clarke-Bruce to ensure a smooth and effective leadership transition.

Dr Tillett will continue as chief scientific officer and executive director.

The company said an extensive internal review in 2022 of the commercialisation and partnership opportunity provided by Zantrene identified the need for a full-time, highly experienced executive with global pharmaceutical partnership and drug development capability.

Coulter Partners was appointed to identify suitable candidates.

Mr Clarke-Bruce has significant global experience in drug commercialisation and portfolio strategy.

He has held executive roles at all stages of the drug development process, from pre-clinical evaluation to successful commercial launch. He also brings an extensive network from within the pharmaceutical industry.

Mr Clarke-Bruce was most recently the executive director for Pharming Healthcare in the US. He previously held strategic leadership roles with major pharmaceutical and medical technology companies, including Celgene, Novartis, Zimmer Spine; Biogen, BJC Health and Pharmacia.

His position at Race will be based in Sydney, but it is expected that his role will require frequent international travel.

Race Oncology chair Dr John Cullity said, “We owe a great vote of thanks to Phil for his calm and strategic stewardship of Race over the past two years. He joined us initially as a non-executive director and had signalled his intent to build out his portfolio of directorships at that time. He stepped up into the CEO role at a time when we greatly needed his leadership.

"The company has grown rapidly, as have the opportunities ahead of us, and accordingly Phil has decided to return to a non-executive director role. This enabled the board to commence a search for a full-time CEO, and we welcome Damian Clarke-Bruce, who will lead us through our next stage of growth.”

Mr Lynch said, “I join John in welcoming Damian to the team and look forward to transitioning him into the role from February. I have enjoyed my time working with Daniel and the team at the executive level, but Race is now at a size and pace that requires a full-time CEO, with ambitions for regular offshore travel as we push forward our commercial agenda. I look forward to remaining engaged at the Board level as we take next steps around developing Zantrene, and beyond.”

Mr Clarke-Bruce added, “I am truly excited to be joining the team at Race Oncology at a such a pivotal point in their commercial journey. This is an opportunity to build on a fantastic platform established by Phil and the team, recognising Phil’s strong stewardship and commercial acumen to date.

"I look forward to working with him to deliver a seamless transition and ongoing strategic partnership within the board and extended team. This role enables the alignment of my personal passion for making a difference to the health and wellbeing of patients within our global community, to enhancing the opportunities found within scientific and commercial collaboration, while delivering value to research and development in the unmet needs of cancer, a therapeutic area close to my heart.

"I look forward to enriching the strategic, operational and performance drivers within Race Oncology to meet the goals of our investors, the ambitions of our scientists and to deliver a Race Oncology best-in-class clinical program, while unveiling a unique value proposition for the commercial transition of the business.”