Ex-Sepracor chief to lead startup biotech

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Mark Iwicki, previously president and CEO of Sepracor, has signed on as chief executive officer with oncology-focused pipeline biopharma Blend Therapeutics. This news comes in tandem with the announcement that Blend has secured $16 million in Series B financing. Blend received $2.8 million last year when the company was first established.

The Massachusetts-based firm hopes to deliver a safer platinum-based chemotherapy through a delivery vehicle with nanoparticles.

In an interview with Xconomy, Iwicki said the funds will allow the company to operate through drug development for another two years, during which time Blend hopes to file an investigational drug application with the FDA.

Iwicki joined Sepracor in 2007 as EVP, chief commercial officer. Two years later, when Sepracor was acquired by Dainippon Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals and became Sunovion, Iwicki took the reins as chief executive officer.

The acquisition was motivated by Dainippon Sumitomo's desire to bring schizophrenia treatment Latuda to market by way of Sepracor's existing CNS marketing and sales infrastructure.  Latuda won approval in October 2010 amidst a crowded antipsychotic therapeutic category.

In our October, 2006 issue MM&M listed Iwicki as one of our '15 on the rise.' One of his nominators aptly noted, “He is going to run a drug company one day.”

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