Al­ny­lam bids adieu to 2020 — and hel­lo to a slate of new ex­ecs; No­vavax taps Rick Crow­ley as COO

John Maraganore is clos­ing out the year with a surge of new hires at Al­ny­lam just a month af­ter lumasir­an notched an FDA ap­proval for pri­ma­ry hy­per­ox­aluria type 1 (PH1). Tol­ga Tan­guler, who takes on the role of chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer, has Big Phar­ma ex­pe­ri­ence at Pfiz­er, tack­ling mul­ti­ple po­si­tions and ris­ing to pres­i­dent of their North Amer­i­ca rare dis­ease unit. For the last 2 years, Tan­guler was SVP and head of US for Alex­ion.

Kasha Witkos

Else­where at Al­ny­lam, Kasha Witkos is now SVP and head of Cana­da, Eu­rope, Mid­dle East and Africa (CE­MEA). Witkos was a com­mer­cial ex­ec at Shire, and af­ter the buy­out, she even­tu­al­ly be­came Take­da’s glob­al rare im­munol­o­gy fran­chise head. Salil Pa­tel, get­ting sit­u­at­ed as Al­ny­lam’s SVP and head of med­ical af­fairs, spent 14 years at Bris­tol My­ers Squibb, spend­ing time as head of med­ical for the phar­ma gi­ant’s on­col­o­gy busi­ness and wrap­ping up his tenure as VP, head of search and clin­i­cal col­lab­o­ra­tions.

Fi­nal­ly, Ag­niesz­ka Gal­lagher joins Al­ny­lam as chief ethics and com­pli­ance of­fi­cer af­ter 3 years as gen­er­al coun­sel, chief com­pli­ance of­fi­cer and sec­re­tary for Vi­iV Health­care.

Rick Crow­ley

Lag­ging be­hind Pfiz­er/BioN­Tech and Mod­er­na in the Covid-19 vac­cine race, No­vavax has re­cruit­ed Rick Crow­ley as COO in a year teem­ing with per­son­nel moves at the biotech. Back in June, No­vavax had tasked Ben Machielse with CMC re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, but qual­i­ty, man­u­fac­tur­ing, sup­ply chain and reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs op­er­a­tions now shift to Crow­ley’s desk — leav­ing Machielse as sole­ly an ex­ec­u­tive ad­vi­sor to CEO Stan­ley Er­ck. Crow­ley makes the switch to No­vavax from TerSera Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, where he was EVP, tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions, and his pre­vi­ous COO ex­pe­ri­ence was with Savient Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals from 2013-14.

Joe Jimenez and Per­ry Karsen have hooked on to the board of di­rec­tors at Ver­sant-backed gene edit­ing play­er Graphite Bio, which emerged with a $45 mil­lion Se­ries A in Sep­tem­ber. Jimenez and Adi­tum Bio part­ner Mark Fish­man just got their mitts on an an­ti-in­flam­ma­to­ry Nrf2 drug from vTv Ther­a­peu­tics for their third com­pa­ny, An­teris Bio, which fo­cus­es on re­nal dis­ease. Karsen, the chair­man of Jounce and a board mem­ber at In­tel­lia un­til Dec. 31, was CEO of Cel­gene’s cel­lu­lar ther­a­peu­tics di­vi­sion and al­so their COO.

Erin Whit­ney

→ Co-CEOs Josh Co­hen and Justin Klee over at Amy­lyx have brought on three more mem­bers of their team with Erin Whit­ney, head of glob­al clin­i­cal op­er­a­tions; Shau­na Hor­vath, head of glob­al mar­ket­ing; and Kei­th White, head of glob­al mar­ket ac­cess. Be­fore join­ing Amy­lyx, which boast­ed pos­i­tive da­ta for its Phase II/III ALS tri­al in Sep­tem­ber, Whit­ney was blue­bird bio’s di­rec­tor of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment op­er­a­tions for their sick­le cell pro­gram. Be­fore that, she was in­volved in the Pompe dis­ease pro­gram at Gen­zyme.

As for the two oth­er ap­point­ments, Hor­vath had been a con­sul­tant for Amy­lyx for the last year and she pre­vi­ous­ly held mul­ti­ple ti­tles at Cam­bridge Bio­Mar­ket­ing, in­clud­ing head of op­er­a­tions. Fi­nal­ly, White is a 14-year Genen­tech vet who left his post at Cor­bus Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals as VP, glob­al mar­ket ac­cess and pric­ing.

An­drew Guggen­hime

An­drew Guggen­hime has been pro­mot­ed to pres­i­dent and CFO of Vax­cyte, the vac­cine play­er that used to be SutroVax un­til its May re­brand­ing. That same month, Guggen­hime was named CBO and CFO of Vax­cyte, which then threw its hat in the very crowd­ed IPO ring in June by rais­ing just a shade un­der $250 mil­lion. Guggen­hime’s oth­er CFO stops in­clude six years at Der­mi­ra (which Eli Lil­ly bought for $1.1 bil­lion) as well as Car­dioDx and Cal­is­to­ga Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

→ Big Phar­ma alum Dol­ca Thomas has punched her tick­et to La Jol­la, CA-based Equi­l­li­um, which is de­vel­op­ing itolizum­ab to treat dis­eases like aGVHD, lu­pus/lu­pus nephri­tis and un­con­trolled asth­ma. She will be the biotech’s EVP of R&D as well as their CMO. The for­mer di­rec­tor of glob­al clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment in im­munol­o­gy at Bris­tol My­ers Squibb, Thomas was al­so VP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and clin­i­cal im­munophe­no­typ­ing at Pfiz­er and VP and glob­al head of trans­la­tion­al med­i­cine for im­munol­o­gy, in­flam­ma­tion, and in­fec­tious dis­ease at Roche. She spent the last 2 years as CMO at Prin­cip­ia.

An­jeza Gji­no

→ A Phase II tri­al for sick­le cell dis­ease went bust in Oc­to­ber at Pe­ter Hecht’s spin­off Cy­cle­ri­on. Nonethe­less, two pro­mo­tions have been hand­ed out to Cheryl Gault (COO) and An­jeza Gji­no (CFO) at the Cam­bridge, MA com­pa­ny. Gault had been Cy­cle­ri­on’s SVP and head of strat­e­gy and cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment since the spring and was pre­vi­ous­ly at an­oth­er place Hecht helmed, Iron­wood, for eight years. As a re­sult, cur­rent CFO Bill Huyett will be strate­gic ad­vi­sor to the com­pa­ny ef­fec­tive Jan. 1. Gji­no is an­oth­er Iron­wood alum who was bumped up at Cy­cle­ri­on from her role as VP, fi­nance and cor­po­rate sec­re­tary.

Mean­while, Po­laris Part­ners man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Amy Schul­man an­nounced her in­ten­tion to step aside from Cy­cle­ri­on’s board of di­rec­tors.

Ce­cil­ia Jones

Log­icBio has tacked on an­oth­er C-suite change with Bio­gen alum Ce­cil­ia Jones as CFO af­ter Mar­i­ana Nacht came on the scene as CSO and Kyle Chi­ang was pro­mot­ed to COO in No­vem­ber. Jones has been with Bio­gen for 10 years in a num­ber of fi­nan­cial roles and is their VP for R&D, world­wide med­ical and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment fi­nance un­til she takes over at Log­icBio on Jan. 11.

RA Cap­i­tal-backed rare dis­ease out­fit CAN­bridge Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, which kicked off 2020 with a $98 Se­ries D raise, has made Justin Lu gen­er­al man­ag­er of Chi­na, putting him in charge of com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions in Shang­hai. Lu, who has held sales man­age­ment po­si­tions at Bay­er in Shang­hai and No­var­tis in the Bei­jing of­fice, was Take­da Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Chi­na’s head of he­mo­phil­ia and rare dis­ease.

Denelle Wayn­ick

→ Rare dis­ease phar­ma San­iona, based in Copen­hagen and Boston, has been busy piec­ing to­geth­er its lead­er­ship ros­ter in 2020, and this week is no dif­fer­ent with Denelle Wayn­ick as chief le­gal of­fi­cer and Kyle Har­ald­sen as chief tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer. If it seems like Wayn­ick was just in this space, you’re very per­cep­tive: Wayn­ick is mov­ing on to San­iona af­ter she just took the gen­er­al coun­sel job at MyoKar­dia in Ju­ly. Bris­tol My­ers bought out MyoKar­dia a cou­ple of months af­ter she ar­rived. She al­so has a seat at Zo­genix’s board of di­rec­tors, which was an­nounced in Sep­tem­ber. Har­ald­sen heads to San­iona af­ter his tenure at AM­AG Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals as VP of tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions and project man­age­ment. Ear­li­er this year, San­iona broke in a new CEO, CFO, chief com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer and chief hu­man re­sources of­fi­cer.

→ Backed by Flag­ship Pi­o­neer­ing, chaired by David Ep­stein and en­cour­aged by da­ta from their Phase Ib atopic der­mati­tis tri­al, Cam­bridge, MA biotech Evelo Bio­sciences has tapped Jonathan Zung as chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer. Zung had been pres­i­dent of spon­sor and CRO pro­grams at WCG Clin­i­cal pri­or to his ar­rival at Sim­ba Gill-led Evelo. Zung’s al­so been a clin­i­cal op­er­a­tions ex­ec at Bris­tol My­ers Squibb and UCB as well as a glob­al R&D di­rec­tor at Pfiz­er from 1991-2001.

Du­ane Barnes

→ Stock­holm-based So­bi, which splashed $250 mil­lion up­front along with $915 mil­lion in mile­stones for sys­temic C3 ther­a­py pegc­eta­coplan from Apel­lis a cou­ple months ago, has ap­point­ed Du­ane Barnes as their head of North Amer­i­ca. Barnes, the pres­i­dent and head of op­er­a­tions at UCB and based out of At­lanta, will start in Jan­u­ary. He was al­so Am­gen’s VP & gen­er­al man­ag­er, US val­ue and ac­cess.

→ Long­time Bris­tol My­ers Squibb vet Chris Sti­j­nen has been named chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer at Swiss-based Re­lief Ther­a­peu­tics, a biotech that has seen its share price sky­rock­et by 38,000% this year as they con­tin­ue work on RLF-100 for res­pi­ra­to­ry fail­ure at­trib­uted to se­vere Covid-19. Sti­j­nen’s last du­ties at BMS were cen­tered on Chi­na as the phar­ma gi­ant’s VP, prod­uct & port­fo­lio strat­e­gy and in­ter­im head, com­mer­cial strat­e­gy and ca­pa­bil­i­ties in Shang­hai.

→ UK-based biotech fund Abing­worth has pro­mot­ed Bali Mu­ralid­har to man­ag­ing part­ner. Mu­ralid­har joined the com­pa­ny last April and cur­rent­ly sits on the boards of Re­neo Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Nu­Cana, Spruce Bio­sciences and Ex­i­cure.

→ The folks at Q32 Bio, who se­cured a $60 mil­lion Se­ries B to tar­get the IL-7R path­way, have a new chair­man of the board in Mark Iwic­ki, re­plac­ing co-founder David Grayzel. Iwic­ki has helmed Kala Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals since 2015.

Na­tal­ie Holles

Al­lakos has reeled in Au­dentes Ther­a­peu­tics CEO and pres­i­dent Na­tal­ie Holles to its board of di­rec­tors. Pri­or to Au­dentes, Holles held roles at Hy­pe­r­i­on Ther­a­peu­tics, KAI Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Genen­tech.

J&J vet Denice Tor­res has been added to the board of di­rec­tors at CNS-fo­cused Karuna Ther­a­peu­tics. Tor­res was at J&J from 2005-17, round­ing out her time at the Big Phar­ma as chief strat­e­gy and busi­ness trans­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer for their med­ical de­vice di­vi­sion.

Denice Tor­res

Mani Mo­hin­dru has been elect­ed to the board of di­rec­tors at Cy­tomX, which is part­ner­ing on bis­pecifics with Astel­las in an $80 mil­lion deal. The for­mer CEO of CereX­is, Mo­hin­dru al­so served as CFO and chief strat­e­gy of­fi­cer at Cara Ther­a­peu­tics from 2017-19.

→ San Diego cell and gene ther­a­py play­er Po­sei­da Ther­a­peu­tics has wel­comed Luke Corn­ing to their board of di­rec­tors. Corn­ing start­ed out at Gold­man Sachs and leads the cred­it team at Pent­wa­ter Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment.

→ Ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence out­fit Sen­syne Health has made Tony Bourne in­de­pen­dent non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of its board. Bourne cur­rent­ly serves as chair of CW+. Pre­vi­ous­ly, he was chief ex­ec­u­tive of the British Med­ical As­so­ci­a­tion.

→ Lon­don-based VC shop 4BIO Cap­i­tal, which has made some high pro­file ex­its from com­pa­nies such as Or­chard and Seres, has ap­point­ed Akiko Iwasa­ki to its Sci­en­tif­ic Ad­vi­so­ry Board. Iwasa­ki is the Walde­mar Von Zed­witz pro­fes­sor in the de­part­ment of im­munol­o­gy and a pro­fes­sor in the de­part­ment of mol­e­c­u­lar, cel­lu­lar and de­vel­op­men­tal bi­ol­o­gy at Yale Uni­ver­si­ty.

IDC: Life Sci­ences Firms Must Em­brace Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion Now

Pre-pandemic, the life sciences industry had settled into a pattern. The average drug took 12 years and $2.9 billion to bring to market, and it was an acceptable mode of operations, according to Nimita Limaye, Research Vice President for Life Sciences R&D Strategy and Technology at IDC.

COVID-19 changed that, and served as a proof-of-concept for how technology can truly help life sciences companies succeed and grow, Limaye said. She recently spoke about industry trends at Egnyte’s Life Sciences Summit 2022. You should watch the entire session, free and on-demand, but here’s a brief recap of why she’s urging life sciences companies to embrace digital transformation.

Tom Barnes, Orna Therapeutics CEO

UP­DAT­ED: 'We have failed to fail': Mer­ck gam­bles $250M cash on a next-gen ap­proach to mR­NA — af­ter punt­ing its big al­liance with Mod­er­na

Merck went in deep on its collaboration with Moderna on new mRNA programs, and dropped them all over time, including their RSV partnership. But after writing off what turned out as one of the most successful infectious disease players in the business, Merck is coming in this morning with a new preclinical alliance — this time embracing a biotech that hopes to eventually outdo the famously successful mRNA in a new run at vaccines and therapeutics.

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Bayer's first DTC ad campaign for chronic kidney disease drug Kerendia spells out its benefits

Bay­er aims to sim­pli­fy the com­plex­i­ties of CKD with an ABC-themed ad cam­paign

Do you know the ABCs of CKD in T2D? Bayer’s first ad campaign for Kerendia tackles the complexity of chronic kidney disease with a play on the acronym (CKD) and its connection to type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Kerendia was approved last year as the first and only non-steroidal mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist to treat CKD in people with type 2 diabetes.

In the TV commercial launched this week, A is for awareness, B is for belief and C is for cardiovascular, explained in the ad as awareness of the connection between type 2 and kidney disease, belief that something can be done about it, and cardiovascular events that may be reduced with treatment.

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James Mock, incoming CFO at Moderna

Mod­er­na taps new CFO from PerkinElmer af­ter for­mer one-day CFO oust­ed

When Moderna hired a new CFO last year,  it didn’t expect to see him gone after only one day. Today the biotech named his — likely much more vetted — replacement.

The mRNA company put out word early Wednesday that after the untimely departure of then brand-new CFO Jorge Gomez, it has now found a replacement in James Mock, the soon-to-be former CFO at diagnostics and analytics company PerkinElmer.

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Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF’s supply division

GSK lands first-ever UNICEF con­tract for malar­ia vac­cine worth $170M

GSK has landed a new first from UNICEF the first-ever contract for malaria vaccines, worth up to $170 million for 18 million vaccine doses distributed over the next three years.

The vaccine, known as Mosquirix or RTS,S, won WHO’s backing last October after a controversial start, but UNICEF said these doses will potentially save thousands of lives every year.

“We hope this is just the beginning,” Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF’s supply division, said. “Continued innovation is needed to develop new and next-generation vaccines to increase available supply, and enable a healthier vaccine market. This is a giant step forward in our collective efforts to save children’s lives and reduce the burden of malaria as part of wider malaria prevention and control programmes.”

Joe Jonas (Photo by Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

So­lo Jonas broth­er car­ries Merz's new tune in Botox ri­val cam­paign

As the lyrics of his band’s 2019 pop-rock single suggest, Joe Jonas is only human — and that means even he gets frown lines. The 33-year-old singer-songwriter is Merz’s newest celebrity brand partner for its Botox rival Xeomin, as medical aesthetics brands target a younger audience.

Merz kicked off its “Beauty on Your Terms” campaign on Tuesday, featuring the Jonas brother in a video ad for its double-filtered anti-wrinkle injection Xeomin.

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Paul Perreault, CSL Behring CEO

CSL CEO Paul Per­reault de­ter­mined to grow plas­ma col­lec­tion af­ter full-year sales dip

As the ink dries on CSL’s $11.7 billion Vifor buyout, the company posted a dip in profits, due in part to a drop in plasma donations amid the pandemic.

However, CEO Paul Perreault assured investors and analysts on the full-year call that the team has left “no stone unturned” when assessing options to grow plasma volumes. The chief executive also spelled out positive results for the company’s monoclonal antibody garadacimab in hereditary angioedema (HAE), though he isn’t revealing the exact numbers just yet.

Blaise Coleman, Endo International CEO

En­do files for Chap­ter 11 as it looks to fin­ish off its opi­oid lit­i­ga­tion

Irish drugmaker Endo International is entering into bankruptcy as it faces the weight of serious litigation related to its involvement in the opioid epidemic in the US.

The company has filed Chapter 11 proceedings in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, with the company expected to file recognition proceedings in Canada, the UK and Australia. The company’s bankruptcy filing showed the company had assets and liabilities in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion.

FDA ap­proves one of the prici­est new treat­ments of all time — blue­bird's gene ther­a­py for be­ta tha­lassemia

The FDA on Wednesday approved the first gene therapy for a chronic condition — bluebird bio’s new Zynteglo (beti-cel) as a potentially curative treatment for those with transfusion-dependent thalassemia.

The thumbs up from the FDA follows a unanimous adcomm vote in June, with outside experts pointing to extraordinary efficacy, with 89% of subjects with TDT who received beti-cel having achieved transfusion independence.

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