ALX Oncology CEO Jaume Pons leaves post

  • After around eight years in the position
  • Jason Lettmann taking over
  • Pons will remain as Chief Scientific Officer at ALX Oncology
  • Pons said 120 words

(exechange) — South San Francisco, California, September 6, 2023 — Jaume Pons, chief executive of ALX Oncology, leaves his position. As announced by ALX Oncology Holdings Inc. in a news release on Wednesday, September 6, 2023, Jaume Pons leaves his post as chief executive officer at the immuno-oncology company, after around eight years in the role, effective immediately.

Generally speaking, it raises questions when a CEO leaves his post abruptly.

Jaume Pons’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Jason Lettmann, a former Chief Executive Officer at Promedior, Inc.

Already a director

Lettmann has already been a member of the board of directors of ALX Oncology. Generally speaking, most director-turned-CEO appointments occur following a sudden resignation of the outgoing CEO and signal a lack of preparedness on the company’s part to groom internal talent. Directors-turned-executives represent a blend of outsider and insider.

They don’t have the constraints of a pure insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions, and they have more company knowledge than a pure outsider.

Having been a director, Lettmann understands the expectations and dynamics of the board and has knowledge of ALX Oncology’s organization, risk-management practices and strategy.

“Natural next step”

ALX Oncology did not give an explicit reason for Jaume Pons’s departure from the CEO post. Corey Goodman, Ph.D., Executive Chairman of ALX Oncology, stated: “The realignment of our leadership team is a natural next step in the evolution the Company as our lead platform asset, evorpacept, advances to the later stages of clinical development with numerous datapoints across multiple indications in combination with anti-cancer antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates, and PD-1/PDL-1 immune checkpoint inhibitors expected over the next 12 to 18 months. As such, in collaboration with the Board and management team, Dr. Jaume Pons, our founder and the scientific inventor of evorpacept, will transition to the role of Chief Scientific Officer to focus on scientifically supporting evorpacept and pipeline extension programs and Jason Lettmann, a longstanding Board member with exceptional experience in the biotechnology industry, will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer.”

Pons will remain as Chief Scientific Officer at ALX Oncology

ALX Oncology stated: “Dr. Pons will transition to the role of Chief Scientific Officer and remain President and both executives will remain members of the Board of Directors.”

ALX Oncology said: “Jason Lettmann, a member of the Board of Directors, will succeed Jaume Pons, Ph.D. as Chief Executive Officer, effective September 6, 2023.”

Share price decline since September 2020

The announcement follows a decline in ALX Oncology Holdings Inc.’s share price of 89% since September 2020.

In the position of CEO since 2015

Jaume Pons became CEO of the Company in 2015.

Jaume Pons served as the Company’s President, Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Company’s board of directors since April 2015.

He has also served as a Scientific Advisor at Lightstone Ventures, a venture capital fund, since January 2019 and as a Venture Partner at venBio Partners, a venture capital firm, since January 2017.

Prior to joining the Company, Pons was with Pfizer, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, where he served as Senior Vice President and a member of the Pfizer Worldwide Research and Development Leadership Team and Chief Technology Officer for Pfizer Biotherapeutics from September 2009 to February 2015.

From October 2007 to February 2015, he served as Chief Scientific Officer at Rinat Neuroscience Corporation, a subsidiary of Pfizer.

Pons holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from Autonomous University of Barcelona and an M.S. in Biotechnology and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the Institute on Fundamental Biology, Barcelona (Autonomous University of Barcelona).

120 words by Jaume Pons

In announcing his departure, Jaume Pons said 120 words.

“We have found the ideal successor in Jason”

Jaume Pons stated: “Since ALX’s founding in 2015, it’s been an incredible journey and a privilege developing therapies for patients and I’m grateful that evorpacept’s clinical pipeline maturity in combination with anti-cancer antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates (or ADCs) and immune checkpoint inhibitors has reached the point where I can dedicate more time to the scientific aspects of evorpacept and its current and future combinations while creating a pipeline of new compounds that could be combined with evorpacept as well as be developed on their own. I believe we have found the ideal successor in Jason who has a robust understanding of our clinical programs and unrelenting conviction in the potential of our anti-CD47 targeted therapy. I look forward to continuing our corporate mission together.”

Push-out Score for Jaume Pons’s move determined

The Push-out Score indicates on a scale of 0 to 10 how likely it is that Jaume Pons was pushed out or felt pressure to leave his position.

exechange reached out to ALX Oncology and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 37.2023 ($).