Kura Oncology Expands Leadership Team with Key Promotions

February 1, 2022 at 4:01 PM EST
– Expanded leadership team to support and advance the Company's rapid growth –

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 01, 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 leadership team with three promotions: Mollie Leoni, M.D., to Senior Vice President, Clinical Development, Pete De Spain to Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications, and Tom Doyle to Senior Vice President, Finance and Accounting. Mr. Doyle will also assume the role of Kura’s Principal Accounting Officer from Marc Grasso, M.D., who will be stepping down as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer and Chief Business 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., J.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Kura Oncology. “We are intentional about cultivating internal talent to support our vision and continued success. These promotions reflect their significant contributions toward advancing our strategic objectives, as well as our confidence in their ability to deliver results and help lead Kura into our next exciting phase of growth.”

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank Marc for his more than three years of diligent and conscientious service to Kura,” continued Dr. Wilson. “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 endeavors.”

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

Pete De Spain joined Kura as Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications in October 2017, bringing more than two decades of biopharma-focused investor relations and corporate communications experience. Before 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 earlier 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 communication with a public relations emphasis from San Diego State University.

Tom Doyle joined Kura as Vice President, Finance in June 2021 with more than 20 years of experience in the biopharma industry, leading finance teams from early stage through commercialization. Most recently, he was Vice President of Finance at Zogenix, supporting the clinical trials and launch of multiple therapies. Prior to Zogenix, Mr. Doyle was the Controller for Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, an oncology development and biomanufacturing company. He has also served as the Director of Revenue and Cost Accounting at ISTA Pharmaceuticals and the Director of Internal Audit and R&D Finance at Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Doyle is a certified public accountant 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 and orally bioavailable farnesyl transferase inhibitor, has received Breakthrough Therapy Designation for the treatment of patients with HRAS mutant HNSCC and is currently in a registration-directed trial (AIM-HN) in patients with this devastating disease. In addition, Kura is conducting a Phase 1/2 trial (KURRENT) of tipifarnib in combination with the PI3Kα inhibitor alpelisib to address larger genetic subsets of HNSCC patients, including those whose tumors are dependent on HRAS and/or PI3Kα pathways. The Company is also developing KO-2806, a next-generation farnesyl transferase inhibitor, which is intended to target innovative biology and larger oncology indications through rational combinations. For additional information about Kura, please visit the Company’s website at www.kuraoncology.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to be materially different from historical results or from any future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements include statements regarding, among other things, Kura’s growth potential. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially include the risk that compounds that appeared promising in early research or clinical trials do not demonstrate safety and/or efficacy in later preclinical studies or clinical trials, the risk that Kura may not obtain approval to market its product candidates, uncertainties associated with performing clinical trials, regulatory filings, applications and other interactions with regulatory bodies, risks associated with reliance on third parties to successfully conduct clinical trials, the risks associated with reliance on outside financing to meet capital requirements, and other risks associated with the process of discovering, developing and commercializing drugs that are safe and effective for use as human therapeutics, and in the endeavor of building a business around such drugs. You are urged to consider statements that include the words “may,” “will,” “would,” “could,” “should,” “believes,” “estimates,” “projects,” “promise,” “potential,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “continues,” “designed,” “goal,” or the negative of those words or other comparable words to be uncertain and forward-looking. For a further list and description of the risks and uncertainties the Company faces, please refer to the Company's periodic and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including the Company’s Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2021 filed with the SEC on November 4, 2021, which are available at www.sec.gov. Such forward-looking statements are current only as of the date they are made, and Kura assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.


Pete De Spain
Senior Vice President, Investor Relations &
Corporate Communications
(858) 500-8803

Robert H. Uhl
Managing Director
Westwicke ICR
(858) 356-5932

Jason Spark
Managing Director
Canale Communications
(619) 849-6005

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Source: Kura Oncology, Inc.