Like other early stage biotechs striving to translate gene and protein discoveries into therapeutics, Caprion Pharmaceuticals has resorted to acquiring compounds already in the clinic as a means of jump-starting its product portfolio. To help in this process, Caprion hired Marc Rivière, a physician with experience shepherding potential therapeutics through early-stage clinical trials — most recently at Toronto-based Bioniche Life Sciences.
Rivière’s mandate is to push along Caprion’s two candidate antibodies against toxins associated with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, a complication tied to E. coli infection that most commonly affects young children and the elderly. The clinical program, acquired from Sunol Molecular last summer, cleared one phase I clinical trial under the direction of researchers at NIAID — a second phase I trial is ongoing — and Rivière expects to enter phase II trials later this year.
In the meantime, Caprion will continue to apply its organelle-based proteomics platform to refining its protein targets associated with oncology and infectious diseases, Rivière says. “The company has made some significant advances,” he says, “which should provide candidate therapeutics within a few months to a year. In the meantime, we plan to fill the gap through acquisitions and co-development projects — the usual M&A activities,” he adds.
Rivière’s track record bodes well for Caprion. Trained as a doctor in France, he first came to North America as a high school exchange student in Arkansas. After medical training, he headed to Canada in the early 1990s as the representative of a small French contract research organization, which was later acquired by Quintiles. At Bioniche, his most recent position, he oversaw a candidate therapeutic for superficial bladder cancer from phase I into phase III clinical trials over the past three years, and as he says of his experience, “what was asked was done.” At Caprion, Rivière hopes to do the same.
— John S. MacNeil