Kura Oncology expands its leadership team with key promotions


SAN DIEGO, 01 Feb. 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Kura Oncology, Inc. (Nasdaq: KURA), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to realizing the promise of precision medicines for the treatment of cancer, today announced the expansion of its team with three promotions: Mollie Leoni, MD, to Senior Vice President, Clinical Development, Pete De Spain to Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications, and Tom Doyle to Vice -Senior President, Finance and Accounting. Mr. Doyle will also assume the role of Chief Accounting Officer of Kura from Marc Grasso, MD, who will step down as the company’s Chief Financial Officer and Chief Commercial Officer, effective February 4, 2022, to pursue opportunities closer to his family. . Dr. Grasso will serve in an advisory capacity during the transition.

“I am thrilled to announce the promotions of our colleagues Mollie, Pete and Tom,” said Troy Wilson, Ph.D., JD, President and CEO of Kura Oncology. “We intend to cultivate internal talent to support our vision and continued success. These promotions reflect their significant contributions to advancing our strategic goals, as well as our confidence in their ability to deliver results and help Kura enter our next phase of exciting growth.

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank Marc for his more than three years of diligent and conscientious service to Kura,” Dr. Wilson continued. “Marc has played an important role in ensuring the company is in a strong financial position as we approach important catalysts. I respect and support his decision to be closer to his family and wish him well in his future endeavours. .

Mollie Leoni, MD, joined Kura as Vice President of Clinical Development in February 2020 with extensive experience in drug development focused on oncology and orphan diseases. Dr. Leoni has held positions of increasing responsibility within the pharmaceutical industry. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of Medical Sciences for Kyowa Kirin, serving as clinical lead for several oncology programs, including mogamulizumab, which resulted in successful international registration in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Dr. Leoni received her undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also received extensive training in bioethics before undertaking postgraduate training at Thomas Jefferson University.

Pete De Spain joined Kura as Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications in October 2017, bringing over two decades of experience in biopharma-focused investor relations and corporate communications. Prior to joining Kura, Mr. De Spain served as Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications at MEI Pharma. Previously, he was Director of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications at Prometheus Laboratories (acquired by Nestlé Health Science). His previous roles included positions of increasing responsibility at Favrille, a cancer immunotherapy company, Anadys Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Roche) and Sequenom (acquired by LabCorp). He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with a major in public relations from San Diego State University.

Tom Doyle joined Kura as Vice President of Finance in June 2021 with over 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, leading finance teams from early stage through commercialization. Most recently, he was Vice President of Finance at Zogenix, supporting clinical trials and the launch of multiple therapies. Prior to Zogenix, Mr. Doyle was Controller of Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, an oncology development and biomanufacturing company. He was also director of revenue and cost accounting at ISTA Pharmaceuticals and director of internal audit and R&D finance at Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Doyle is a CPA and received his MBA from California State University, San Marcos and his Bachelor of Science in Finance from San Diego State University.

About Kura Oncology

Kura Oncology is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to realizing the promise of precision medicines for the treatment of cancer. The Company’s pipeline consists of small molecule drug candidates that target cancer signaling pathways. KO-539, a potent and selective menin inhibitor, is currently in a Phase 1b clinical trial (KOMET-001) for patients with relapsed/refractory AML, including patients with NPM1 mutations or KMT2A rearrangements. Tipifarnib, a potent, selective, orally bioavailable farnesyl transferase inhibitor, has been granted breakthrough therapy designation for the treatment of patients with HRAS mutant HNSCC and is currently undergoing a registration-led trial (AIM-HN) in patients with this devastating disease. Additionally, Kura is conducting a Phase 1/2 (KURRENT) trial of tipifarnib in combination with the PI3Kα inhibitor alpelisib to treat larger genetic subsets of HNSCC patients, including those whose tumors depend on HRAS and/or PI3Kα pathways. The Company is also developing KO-2806, a next-generation farnesyl transferase inhibitor, intended to target innovative biology and broader oncology indications through rational combinations. For more information about Kura, please visit the company’s website at www.kuraoncology.com.

Forward-looking statements

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from historical results or any future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include statements regarding, among other things, Kura’s growth potential. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include the risk that compounds that showed promise in early research or clinical trials may not demonstrate safety and/or efficacy in subsequent preclinical studies or clinical trials, risk that Kura will not obtain clearance to market its product candidates, uncertainties associated with conducting clinical trials, regulatory filings, applications and other interactions with regulatory agencies, risks associated with reliance on third parties to conduct clinical trials, risks associated with reliance on outside funding to meet capital requirements, and other risks associated with the process of discovery, development and commercialization of safe and effective drugs for human therapeutic use, and to the effort of creation of a company around these drugs. You are encouraged to consider statements that include the words “may”, “will”, “should”, “could”, “should”, “believe”, “estimate”, “projects”, “promise”, “potential” , ‘expects’, ‘plans’, ‘anticipates’, ‘intends’, ‘continues’, ‘designs’, ‘aims’, or the negative of these or other comparable words as being uncertain and prospective. For a more detailed listing and description of the risks and uncertainties facing the Company, please see the Company’s periodic filings and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including Form 10-Q of the Company for the three months ended September 30, 2021 filed with the SEC on November 4, 2021, which are available at www.sec.gov. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and Kura undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.


Pete From Spain
Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and
Business communication
(858) 500-8803

Robert H. Uhl
General manager
Westwicke ICR
(858) 356-5932

Jason Sparkle
General manager
Communications Channel
(619) 849-6005


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