Apollo Therapeutics appoints CEO

Coulter Partners has placed Dr Richard Butt as Chief Executive Officer for Apollo Therapeutics, the investment fund focused on driving therapeutic innovation through university collaboration. Apollo Therapeutics is a unique alliance between three global pharmaceutical companies (AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson) and the technology transfer offices (TTOs) responsible for commercialising the research from Imperial College London, UCL (University College London) and the University of Cambridge. The £40m fund will provide translational research funding for early-stage therapeutics projects arising from the three universities.

“We are delighted to appoint a CEO of Richard’s calibre and industry experience to drive Apollo’s programme forward. From a very impressive pool of candidates we worked closely with Coulter Partners to find the best fit and I want to thank the whole team for conducting an outstanding search on our behalf,”

Dr Ian Tomlinson, Chairman of the Apollo Therapeutics Investment Committee.

Dr Butt joins Apollo from Pfizer Inc. where he spent 20 years working in research and development. Most recently he was Senior Director and Research Project Leader, Clinical Research at Pfizer Neusentis within the Neuroscience and Pain Research Unit. At Pfizer Neusentis he was a member of the senior management team, responsible for defining research unit strategy, delivery of project and portfolio goals and organisational effectiveness.

Dr Butt brings valuable experience in drug discovery and development. In his time at Pfizer he has held leadership positions in discovery biology, drug safety and clinical line functions and has led multiple teams to deliver key milestones from preclinical target validation to the readout of Phase 2a clinical efficacy studies. These programmes have spanned multiple target classes, disease therapy areas and drug modalities, and many have been delivered through collaborations with biotech and academic partners. Dr Butt has a particular interest in translational research and recently led Pfizer Neusentis’ translational medicine strategy through a series of collaborative clinical studies.

Dr Butt has been a member of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry Innovation Board and the Experimental Medicine Expert Network and is a member of the Medical Research Council Industrial Collaborative Training and Careers Assessment Panel. He has a PhD in Biochemistry from University College London and a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of York.

This is the first time that three global pharmaceutical companies and the TTOs of three world leading universities have come together to form a joint enterprise of this nature, making the Apollo Therapeutics Fund a truly innovative venture. It not only provides an additional source of early-stage funding that will allow more projects to be progressed, but also involves the active participation of the industry partners, who bring a wealth of commercial drug development expertise. Projects will be shaped at a very early stage to optimise the chances of onward development.