Kura Oncology has hired Stephen Dale as chief medical officer. The appointment gives Kura a chance to tap into the experience of the person who oversaw development of Tagrisso as it drives its cancer prospect tipifarnib through the clinic.
Antonio Gualberto, M.D., Ph.D., co-founded Kura and served as its CMO until February, when a job offer from H3 Biomedicine persuaded him to move on. In response, Kura identified Dale as the person to guide its clinical research activities, which are spearheaded by a pivotal trial of farnesyl transferase inhibitor tipifarnib in HRAS-mutant head and neck cancer.
Dale landed the gig on the strength of a résumé dotted with evidence of his ability to get oncology drugs to market. Kura has hired Dale from Kyowa Kirin, where he served as global head of medical sciences.
In that capacity, Kura said Dale was a “significant contributor” to cancer and neuroscience approvals on both sides of the Atlantic. Kyowa won approval for assets including cancer medicine Poteligeo and Parkinson’s disease therapy Nourianz during Dale’s stint at the company, which lasted close to five years.
Dale arrived at Kyowa after almost a decade working out of AstraZeneca’s Alderley Park site in the U.K. In that time, Dale oversaw the development of blockbuster non-small cell lung cancer drug Tagrisso and worked with the Iressa team on a practice-changing trial in the same disease.
At Kura, Dale will apply that experience to the development of tipifarnib and Menin-MLL inhibitor KO-539. Kura is testing tipifarnib in patients with several types of solid and hematological cancers. KO-539 is in clinical development in the treatment of acute leukemias.
Dale will work to take those assets through the clinic and onto the market in collaboration with a former Kyowa colleague. Mollie Leoni held roles including medical and strategic lead for oncology development at Kyowa in the years Dale was at the company, before leaving to take up the position of VP, clinical development at Kura in February.