Chiasma, Inc., a U.S. privately-held biopharma company developing octreotide capsules, its lead product for the orphan condition acromegaly, today announced the appointment of Mark Leuchtenberger '87 as president and chief executive officer, effective immediately.
Leuchtenberger brings 25 years of industry experience to Chiasma, including CEO positions with Acusphere, Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, Targanta Therapeutics and Therion Biologics. From 1996 to 2002, he held multiple senior positions with Biogen, where he managed North American and international commercial operations, including the late-stage development, registration, launch and marketing of the company's first commercial product Avonex, now a $3 billion product.
"Mark brings a depth of business experience and leadership that will complement the scientific expertise within Chiasma," said David Stack, chairman of the board for Chiasma. "He has a strong track record for building the infrastructure needed for commercialization success in North America and Europe and will be instrumental in guiding Chiasma's first product to market."
Chiasma recently completed a $70 million Series E financing round. The company intends to use the funding to build its sales and marketing capabilities and prepare for the U.S. commercial launch of octreotide capsules for adults with acromegaly, a rare endocrine disease. The company plans to submit a New Drug Application (NDA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for octreotide capsules, which has received orphan designation, in the second quarter of 2015. If approved, octreotide capsules would be the first and only oral somatostatin analog, providing another option to patients currently receiving painful and lifelong injections.
"Joining Chiasma at this pivotal time in its lifecycle is a great privilege," said Leuchtenberger. "With the company's strong financial backing, a commitment to serving the needs of people with rare diseases and a transformational technology platform, Chiasma is positioned to be highly successful."
Leuchtenberger currently serves as advisory board chair of the Massachusetts Emerging Technology Fund, MassDevelopment, and as a trustee and member of the Medical Education Committee, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is also a board member of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. Leuchtenberger holds an MBA from Yale School of Management and a B.A. in English from Wake Forest University.
Previous CEO, Roni Mamluk, who is one of the primary inventors of Chiasma's proprietary Transient Permeability Enhancer (TPE®) technology and led the development of octreotide capsules, will remain with the company in the newly created position of chief development officer.
As part of the company's growth strategy, Chiasma is expanding its operations in the Boston area. The company's research and development facilities, dedicated to expanding the TPE® oral peptide pipeline, will remain in Israel.