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21 June, 2019 - 10:45 By Tony Quested

Mass involvement as F-Star opens in US bio hub and hires big guns

Fstar darlene

Cambridge antibodies A-list player F-star Therapeutics, has stirred further speculation of an upcoming US IPO with two major hires and the opening of key operations in the Massachusetts biotech cluster.

To support its international expansion blueprint, the company has established US offices in Cambridge, MA. Key research operations will continue at the company’s site in Cambridge  UK, while the US office will support the growth of F-star’s in-house financial, clinical and regulatory activities.

The nature of the new hires – both big guns in their field of expertise – also points to a pre-IPO scale-up.

Darlene Deptula-Hicks has been named as as chief financial officer in succession to Tolga Hassan, who is appointed to serve as chief operating officer. She joins from Northern Biologics, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing first-in-class antibody therapeutics in oncology. 

Previously, she held CFO positions across both private and publicly listed US companies, including Pieris Pharmaceuticals Inc., Microline Surgical Inc. and T2 Biosystems Inc. 

She brings to F-star a proven track record of finance strategy and leadership, capital raising, industry knowledge and the ability to build strong strategic partnerships.

F-star has also appointed Lindsey Trickett as vice-president of Investor Relations and Communications. She has a wealth of experience in investor relations and antibody drug development. 

Trickett joins F-star from Intellia Therapeutics, Inc., where she served as a vice-president of Investor Relations. Previously, she held senior IR and strategic marketing positions at AstraZeneca plc and spent over a decade in roles of increasing responsibility at MedImmune, LLC/AstraZeneca plc.

Both Darlene and Lindsey will be based out of F-star’s US office.

F-star is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company delivering tetravalent bispecific antibodies for a paradigm-shift in cancer therapy. 

CEO Eliot Forster said: “We believe Darlene’s strong commercial and capital markets experience from within the life sciences sector will play a critical role in our transition and I’m delighted that she has joined the company. 

“Tolga’s expertise and company knowledge continues to be vital to our success as we work towards realising our ambition to bring new drugs to cancer patients as quickly as we can.”

Darlene Deptula-Hicks added: “It is a very exciting time to be joining F-star given its evolution to a fully-fledged clinical-stage, international business. 

“The company’s pipeline of promising bispecific antibodies has the potential to address the growing need for, and commercial opportunity from, more efficacious therapies for cancer patients. I am excited to join the management team of this next-generation immunotherapy business.”

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