David Roblin, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Scientific Translation for the Francis Crick Institute since 2014, is to become Chief Operating Officer and President of Research & Development for Summit Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company that targets Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and C. difficile infection.
David will be stepping down in June 2017 as Chief Operating Officer and Director of Scientific Translation, but will retain a role advising on translation - the process of turning research discoveries into treatments that directly benefit lives and the economy, one of the Crick's five strategic missions.
David will be both a Senior Scientific Translation Fellow, in which capacity he will advise the Executive Committee and Board on commercial translation, and chair of the Crick's Translation Advisory Board.
David joined the Crick in September 2014 after a senior career in the pharmaceutical industry and, before that, five years practising medicine. He led on establishing the operations of a new institute and led the Crick through the completion of its state-of the-art building in 2016 and migration into the building from four sites.
Summit's lead Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug, called ezutromid, is in a Phase 2 clinical trial in patients, while Summit is also developing in collaboration with the University of Oxford a pipeline of earlier stage Duchenne muscular dystrophy therapies. Summit's new antibiotic to treat C. difficile infection, called ridinilazole, has successfully shown clinical benefit in a Phase 2 trial in patients.
Sir Paul Nurse, Director and Chief Executive of the Francis Crick Institute, said: 'David was a wonderful Chief Operating Officer and Director of Scientific Translation for the Crick at exactly the right time, and he has laid firm foundations for our future.
'David will be hugely missed in his current role, but I am pleased that he is to retain connections with us and we look forward to harnessing his expertise and commitment to the Francis Crick Institute in new ways.'
David said: 'The Crick is a special place and it has been an honour to play a role in its formation. I look forward both to joining Summit and to staying involved with the Crick in a different capacity.'
The Crick will soon be launching a search for a new Chief Operating Officer. Senior oversight of the translation agenda will be taken over by Peter Ratcliffe, Clinical Research Director, with Veronique Birault, Head of Translation, taking full operational responsibility for translation activities.