Dr. Deirdre Gillespie, formerly CEO of U.K.-based Oxxon Therapeutics and COO of San Diego's own Vical Inc., today helms a public company with some money in the bank and a phase 3 drug candidate being studied at clinical sites worldwide.
"It was a most attractive opportunity," said La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co. President and CEO Gillespie, who recently replaced longtime CEO Steven Engle. "The company has an excellent group of new investors, and is in a place I know I can live."
But it's a duty not every executive would be willing to accept. La Jolla Pharmaceutical's lead drug candidate to treat lupus kidney disease, Riquent, has been evaluated in more than a dozen clinical trials over the course of a decade without earning federal marketing approval.
The company hopes to change that by going big - increasing the number of patients and dosage involved in its latest phase 3 trial.