Former OSI Pharmaceuticals Executive joins Novocure’s board of directors and assumes role of Chairman, Global Commercialization Team
PORTSMOUTH, N.H., Oct. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Novocure, a commercial stage private oncology company, announced today that Gabriel Leung has joined its board of directors. Mr. Leung will serve as vice chairman of the board of directors and chairman of the company’s global commercialization team.
Mr. Leung retired as executive vice president of OSI Pharmaceuticals and the President of OSI’s Pharmaceuticals Business following the Astellas Pharma Inc. acquisition of OSI in 2010. Mr. Leung was responsible for the launch of Tarceva (erlotinib) at OSI and guided the product to the most successful launch in U.S. oncology history with global sales exceeding $1.2 billion in 2009. OSI’s market capitalization increased during Mr. Leung’s leadership at the company from $1.4 billion to approximately $4.0 billion at the time of acquisition by Astellas.
“The addition of Gabe Leung to our board of directors and executive management team marks Novocure’s transition from a development stage enterprise to a commercial oncology company,” commented William F. Doyle, Novocure’s executive chairman. “As one of the most successful and experienced franchise-building executives in the oncology industry, Gabe’s leadership will play an essential part in assuring the rapid availability of tumor treating fields (TTF) therapy to cancer patients.”
Prior to his tenure at OSI, Mr. Leung served as group vice president of the global prescription business at Pharmacia, leading Pharmacia’s oncology franchise with business and medical affairs operations in over 80 countries. Earlier in his career, he was an executive at Bristol-Myers Squibb where he led the growth of Taxol and Paraplatin into the then number one and number two chemotherapeutic agents in the United States.
“Novocure’s TTF technology represents one of the most significant breakthroughs in cancer therapy today,” said Mr. Leung. “I am excited to work on the commercialization of an important product that has the potential to improve the lives of many cancer patients.”
Mr. Leung, outside his primary corporate roles, has provided active leadership to governmental and non-governmental initiatives related to advancing cancer diagnostics and treatments. He was a member of the National Cancer Institute Clinical Trial Advisory Committee from 2008 to 2010, serving as an advisor to the NCI Director. He is a member of C-Change, a national organization that brings together government, business and not-for-profit leaders for the purpose of initiating collaborative actions to ultimately eliminate cancer as a major health problem. Mr. Leung currently also serves on the board of directors for Delcath Systems, Inc. (DCTH) and Albany Molecular Research, Inc. (AMRI).
“After receiving FDA approval for the NovoTTF-100A System for the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma (GBM) earlier this year, we set our sights on attracting a superb commercial leader to augment our world class engineering and clinical development teams,” said Asaf Danziger, Novocure’s CEO. “Gabe Leung has the vision and expertise to, not only, bring TTF therapy to GBM patients, but to steward this important new cancer treatment modality to broad use in fighting potentially all forms of solid tumors. We look forward to working together to make the NovoTTF-100A System widely available to physicians and patients under our approved indications for use in the US and around the world.”
Novocure Limited is a private oncology company pioneering a novel therapy for solid tumors. Novocure’s worldwide headquarters is located in the Jersey Isle. Novocure’s US operations are based in Portsmouth, NH and the company’s research center is located in Haifa, Israel. For additional information about the company, please visit www.novocure.com.
About the NovoTTF-100A System
NovoTTF-100A is a portable, non-invasive medical device designed for continuous use throughout the day by the patient. The device has been shown in in vitro and in vivo studies to slow and reverse tumor growth by inhibiting mitosis, the process by which cells divide and replicate. The NovoTTF-100A device, which weighs about six pounds (three kilograms), creates a low intensity, alternating electric field within the tumor that exerts physical forces on electrically charged cellular components, preventing the normal mitotic process and causing cancer cell death prior to division. In patients with recurrent glioblastoma brain tumors, the device has shown clinical efficacy comparable to that of active chemotherapies with many less side effects and an improved quality of life. The NovoTTF-100A has received marketing approval in the US and is a CE Marked device that is cleared for sale in Europe.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the NovoTTF-100A System for use as a treatment for adult patients (22 years of age or older) with histologically-confirmed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), following histologically- or radiologically-confirmed recurrence in the supra-tentorial region of the brain after receiving chemotherapy. The device is intended to be used as a monotherapy, and is intended as an alternative to standard medical therapy for GBM after surgical and radiation options have been exhausted.