Who: Bill Meury is slated to take over as CEO of the neurology focused Karuna Therapeutics in the new year as the company’s current leader, Steve Paul, transitions to become chief scientific officer and president of research and development.
Background: During his more than two decades in pharma, Meury notably served as chief commercial officer at Allergan, the maker of Botox, where he oversaw 50 products with $16 billion in revenue. Prior to joining Karuna, he was a partner at the healthcare-focused private equity firm Hildred Capital management, whose clients mainly include contract development and diagnostics companies.
Why it matters: The C-suite reshuffle is part of a “plan initiated by (Paul’s) desire to follow his passion, the science, and focus on the continued growth of Karuna’s research and development efforts,” Christopher Coughlin, Karuna’s lead independent director, said in a statement.
It comes during a critical time for the clinical-stage biotech as it prepares to submit its lead candidate KarXT for FDA approval to treat schizophrenia in adults by mid-2023. If approved, the drug would be the first-of-its-kind on the market. The company also recently began phase 3 trials of KarXT for psychosis in Alzheimer’s disease and is continuing its schizophrenia studies to evaluate long-term safety and efficacy.
Karuna’s treatments activate the cholinergic system, which regulates aspects of brain function, and aim to provide a more holistic antipsychotic treatment option for patients.
Learn more: “We’ve demonstrated that there are different brain mechanisms that we should be exploring more vigorously, and that has got some of the bigger companies back in the game, while also spawning a bunch of new companies,” Paul said of the company’s platform in an interview with PharmaVoice earlier this year.
Karuna’s long term goal, he said, is to find a cure for schizophrenia and enable patients to function at a much higher level. In the interview, he also delves more into mechanisms behind the company’s lead candidate.