John McCafferty takes CTO role with Dr Arndt Schottelius new CEO at Maxion Therapeutics
Dr Arndt Schottelius is the new CEO of Maxion Therapeutics, following co-founder Dr John McCafferty’s transition from CEO to CTO.
Dr McCafferty co-founded Maxion, raised £13million in initial funding and established its cutting-edge KnotBody technology.
The appointment, which starts on 1 March, is part of a planned succession process. Maxion, a biotechnology company developing antibody-based drugs for previously untreatable ion channel- and GPCR-driven diseases, was incorporated in 2020 and co-founded by Dr John McCafferty and Dr Aneesh Karatt Vellatt. Both had significant backstories, Dr McCafferty as co-inventor antibody phage display technology, and co-founder of Cambridge Antibody Technology, and Dr Vellatt as co-founder of IONTAS.
Prior to joining Maxion, Arndt had served as the chief scientific officer of Affimed and held executive leadership roles as executive VP of R&D at Kymab (acquired by Sanofi) and chief development officer at MorphoSys as well as senior leadership roles at Genentech.
He studied medicine in Freiburg, Germany, and at the Royal Free Hospital in London, and holds PhD and MD degrees from the University of Freiburg, Germany, and a habilitation in experimental medicine degree from Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich. Arndt subsequently practised medicine as a resident physician in gastroenterology at the Charité-Universitätsmedizin in Berlin and held a research fellowship from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before working in the pharmaceutical industry.
During his 25-year career in the pharmaceutical industry, he established a successful track record of advancing therapeutics from research into early and late-stage clinical developments and in building valuable portfolios of drug candidates and pharma partnerships. Arndt has extensive experience in discovery, project and portfolio management, preclinical and clinical development, FDA negotiations and regulatory filings as well as business development.
The new CEO comes on board as KnotBody’s approach gains traction.
Ion channel and GPCR disfunction are implicated in a wide range of debilitating diseases, and current treatments based on small molecule drugs suffer from poor efficacy and side effects.
Compared to small molecules, engineered antibodies offer vastly superior selectivity and are well proven therapeutically, representing seven out of 10 top-selling drugs.
KnotBody technology combines the benefits of naturally occurring mini-proteins, which have ion channel modulating activity, with antibodies, using state-of-the-art phage and mammalian display technologies. The resulting fusion protein, which combines the drug-like benefits of both molecules, helps address key challenges in ion channel and GPCR drug discovery.
Eva-Lotta Allan, chair of the board of directors at Maxion Therapeutics, said: “It is with great pleasure that I, on behalf of the board, welcome Arndt to Maxion. As we are expanding our portfolio of KnotBodies and driving our lead programme towards the clinic, his leadership and drug development expertise will be invaluable. I look forward to working with Arndt to shape the vision and drive the company forward.”
Dr McCafferty added: “I am proud of what we have achieved so far at Maxion, and am pleased to welcome Arndt to the team to guide the transition of the company into the next stage of our development.
“We have a unique KnotBody technology which addresses the key challenges in ion channel and GPCR antibody drug discovery and our lead programme is rapidly advancing towards preclinical development.
“With Arndt’s appointment, I am excited to be dedicating more time to further advance the underlying KnotBody technology and enabling new opportunities. The team is keen to work closely with Arndt and benefit from his extensive experience in antibody drug development to ensure we reach our ambitious goals.”
Dr Schottelius said: “Maxion’s truly revolutionary technology has the unique opportunity to deliver first-in-class and best-in-class protein therapeutics to treat ion channel and GPCR-driven diseases.
“I am delighted to join Maxion Therapeutics at such an exciting time in the company’s development.”