Since the Hormone Replacement Therapy market was destroyed almost overnight in 2002 after side effects were reported by researchers, there has been a lot of caution about investing in companies with a focus on women’s health. Mary Kerr, CEO of KaNDy Therapeutics and NeRRe Therapeutics, knows this only too well, but has not let it deter her in her quest to bring a treatment for symptoms of the menopause to the market.
Kerr began her career in the UK big pharma company GSK. She held a range of different roles at the company with a focus on the links between research and commercial strategy in drug development. She was also a founding member of the GSK and Pfizer spin-out company ViiV Healthcare, which is working on a number of treatments for HIV, and she worked there for several years to build the business before returning to GSK.
In 2015, an opportunity arose to spin out some research from GSK into a new company — NeRRe Therapeutics — and Kerr took the chance to move into the biotech space as its CEO. When NeRRe’s drug candidate NT-814 showed promise for treating symptoms of the menopause through a neurological pathway in 2017, a new spinout — KaNDy Therapeutics — was formed.
With a recent successful phase II trial under its belt showing a reduction in hot flashes and improved sleep in menopausal women,