Neon Therapeutics, an immuno-oncology company developing neoantigen-based therapeutic vaccines and T cell therapies to treat cancer, today announced the appointment of Hugh O’Dowd to chief executive officer. Mr. O’Dowd succeeds interim chief executive officer Cary Pfeffer, M.D., a partner at Third Rock Ventures, who is assuming the position of chairman of the company’s board of directors.
Mr. O’Dowd brings deep experience to Neon Therapeutics in pharmaceutical leadership, moving important oncology therapies from clinical development through commercialization. He joins Neon Therapeutics from Novartis, where he spent more than 20 years in a variety of leadership roles, including chief commercial officer and head of global strategy of Novartis Oncology. In this role, he was responsible for global commercialization for the oncology portfolio, including Global Brand Leadership, Health Economics & Pricing, Early Phase Commercial Development, Strategic Capabilities, Business Development & Licensing and Global Sales Excellence.
“Hugh brings great depth of expertise in oncology, and has played a pivotal role in building Novartis Oncology into one of the world’s leading oncology companies,” said Dr. Pfeffer. “Hugh’s broad drug development and commercialization experience, combined with his personable, motivating leadership style, will be critical to Neon Therapeutics as we rapidly advance our neoantigen-based immuno-oncology treatments for patients in need.”
“Immuno-oncology has already shown great progress, though we are on the cusp of a real sea change in cancer treatment to properly harness the immune system to attack cancer,” said Mr. O’Dowd. “Neon Therapeutics has already made impressive headway in advancing its programs, including moving NEO-PV-01 to an accepted IND, and its science has the potential to fundamentally change cancer treatment. I am proud to join this exceptional group of founders, board of directors and the rest of the Neon Therapeutics team, and I look forward to advancing the company’s truly groundbreaking modalities to improve patients’ lives.”
Mr. O’Dowd began his career in pharmaceuticals in 1992 at Glaxo in sales, and moved to Novartis in 1996. Following a career of increasing levels of responsibility in sales and marketing, Mr. O’Dowd took a leading role in the commercialization of Gleevec, and assumed country- and region-level commercial leadership roles before overseeing the entirety of Novartis Oncology commercialization and strategy in 2011. Since 2015, Mr. O’Dowd was country president and general manager in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Mr. O’Dowd holds a B.A. from Loyola University Chicago, and an MBA from the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University Chicago.