Ascendis Pharma, a clinical stage biotechnology company based in Copenhagen, and offices in Palo Alto, has appointed Jonathan A. Leff as Chief Medical Officer to replace Acting Chief Medical Officer Michael Beckert. Beckert will continue his consulting role with the company with a focus on leading the company’s European clinical operations.
“Leff’s proven leadership and drug development skills will play an important role as Ascendis advances its internal pipeline, including its lead clinical program, TransCon Growth Hormone, which is expected to begin a pivotal Phase 3 study in mid-2016,” commented Jan Mikkelsen, President and CEO of Ascendis.
Leff most recently served as InterMune’s Executive Vice President, Research and Development from February 2012 to March 2015, where he led the development of Esbriet® for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis through a successful Phase 3 trial, resubmission of a New Drug Application and eventual approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Prior to this, he was Chief Medical Officer of KaloBios Pharmaceuticals and Halozyme Therapeutics. Leff will work from the company’s Palo Alto office.
The Ascendis pipeline includes TransCon Growth Hormone, a program that has completed Phase 2 studies in adults and children with growth hormone deficiency. Ascendis also formed collaborations with Sanofi in the field of diabetes and Roche Genentech in the field of ophthalmology.