Peer Review

Amgen vet Marc de Garidel takes the helm at Corvidia; Peter Greenleaf lands next CEO job at Cerecor; Edward Gudaitis tapped to lead Acerus

Amgen vet Marc de Garidel is taking the helm at Corvidia Therapeutics as the biotech wraps up a Phase II trial of its personalized therapy for chronic kidney disease. Michael Davidson, the founding CEO who designed the strategy to go after small, genetically defined patient populations, will remain in the C-suite but focus on the science. The Waltham, MA-based company may have launched less than two years ago, but it’s already thinking about its future commercial operations. De Garidel is expected to build the company much like how he helped grow Ipsen’s US operations as CEO.

Peter Greenleaf

Peter Greenleaf has found his next CEO job after Sucampo Pharma’s acquisition by Mallinckrodt — and he didn’t have to look far. He will have a new role at Cerecor $CERC, where he’s been a director since last May. The Baltimore biotech has largely recovered from a slump induced by a key mid-stage failure, sealing a licensing deal with J&J for a depression drug along the way. Greenleaf, a two-time CEO who’s served as president at AstraZeneca’s MedImmune, signaled that he would focus on growing the pediatric business and pushing Cerecor’s central nervous system drugs in orphan and specialty indications. “Cerecor is experiencing a time of rapid growth and I intend to integrate its base businesses while building the people, processes, and culture necessary to succeed in today’s pharmaceutical industry,” he said. His appointment coincides with the departure of Robert Moscato, who resigned after five months as president and COO.

→ After a CEO stint at outsourcing firm Enzymotec, Erez Israeli is jumping back into the generic drug business at India’s Dr Reddy’s Laboratories. He succeeds retiring COO Abhijit Mukherjee, but will have the additional role as global head of generic and pharmaceutical services and active ingredients, based out of Hyderabad. That fits right into his background — he spent 23 years at Teva, working his way through various departments including Asia operations, North America marketing and sales, and global quality.

→ Following a five-month stint without a permanent CEO in place after the former chief executive Tom Rossi left, Acerus Pharmaceuticals has finally filled the post. The company hired Edward Gudaitis, who most recently served at Allergan as VP and country manager, Canada. Gudaitis is likely better known for his role as general manager for Gilead Sciences Canada, where he worked for over a decade. Gudaitis will take on two roles — president and CEO — at Acerus as of May 1. Acerus’ interim CEO Luc Mainville is staying on to show Gudaitis the ropes, and then will transition back to his post on the company’s board.

→ Longtime CFO William O’Connor is retiring from The Medicines Company, so another experienced financial exec, Christopher Visioli has been promoted to fill his seat. During his 13-year tenure, starting out as the chief accounting officer, O’Connor has helped the company execute its bottom-down restructuring, shedding non-core businesses and products including the cardiovascular and infectious disease units. He will spend the rest of the year advising Visioli in closing out these earlier decisions — decisions that Visioli likely played a part in as SVP of financial strategy.

→ Cancer immunotherapy player Compugen $CGEN has poached Henry Adewoye from Gilead to be its first CMO. The biotech, with its R&D facilities in both Tel Aviv and South San Francisco, has been in the business of drug discovery for a while. But now that it’s looking clinical testing for its own pipeline, execs decided they could use some help from someone like Adewoye, who’s steered drugs through different stages of trials. Before joining Gilead, where he eventually became clinical director in oncology clinical research, he held similar roles at Amgen. His first assignment: initiate the first human testing of COM701, which targets the novel immune checkpoint PVRIG, later in 2018.

→ Having observed BeyondSpring $BYSI as an investor for two years, Edward Dongheng Liu is joining the team as CFO. Like BeyondSpring, Liu — a former JP Morgan and Jefferies banker — has background in both the US and China going back to his school days. The New York-based company plans to submit NDAs for its lead cancer drug plinabulin in China around the turn of the year, and in the US shortly after.

→ Following the launch of a new facility for its contract manufacturing and development business, LakePharma has recruited David Boyle to be its CFO. Boyle comes to the South San Francisco CRO from after multiple financial stints in small discovery companies, biotechs and a medical device developer, including Ogenx Therapeutics and Bionovo.

CRISPR Therapeutics $CRSP has tapped Shelby Walker to head intellectual property management as chief legal officer Tyler Dylan-Hyde retires. Considering the bitter patent fights that characterized rivalries between early players in this gene-editing field, the role carries special importance for the biotech. In Walker, the team gets someone with extensive IP experience across therapeutic areas — featuring roles at Dyax, Novo Nordisk and Biogen.

→ German contract development and manufacturing organization Rentschler Biopharma has hired Thomas Rösch as VP of biopharma engineering and technology. In his previous roles at Boehringer Ingelheim, Rösch maintained high-level oversight and management of a number of international production sites. He is expected to channel those 16 years of experience into his new job, where he is tasked with enhancing sites and their capacity.

Frances Duffy-Warren

→ Highlighting its ambitions for its in-house pipeline, Forma Therapeutics has brought in Frances Duffy-Warren to the executive team as head of regulatory affairs. Coming from a decade-long run at Actelion, Duffy-Warren has previously liaised with regulators on behalf of Novartis, AstraZeneca and Sandoz. The wide range of therapeutics areas she’s dealt with likely prepared her move into Forma, which has research and discovery programs in oncology, inflammation & immunity and neurodegeneration, among other diseases.

→ Purdue Pharma, a company best known for making OxyContin, has created a new role – head of corporate social responsibility. The company has moved Lisa Miller, who used to serve as Purdue Pharma’s head of risk management and mitigation, into the post. The company said the opioid crisis was spurring Purdue to make corporate social responsibility more of a priority. “Our commitment to devote even greater resources to this area closely follows our recent decision to discontinue sales representatives’ promotion of opioids to prescribers and speaker programs associated with our opioid products,” said Purdue’s president and CEO Craig Landau in a statement. In her new role, Miller will build on the company’s existing partnerships and collaborations and move forward the company’s efforts to address the opioid crisis “beyond prevention and harm reduction into the areas of treatment and recovery support.”

Mark Day has wooed his former Bristol-Myers Squibb colleague Caroline Hill to run R&D for Bioasis, the brain cancer and neurodegeneration biotech he began to lead just a year ago. The new SVP has a broad mandate over the pipeline of drugs designed to be delivered across the blood-brain barrier, including timelines, vendor management, consultation and updates to the board. While the company’s headquarters is in Vancouver, Hill will work out of its US office in Guilford, CT.

→ With Catherine Wertjes retiring from Astellas, Tatjana Dragovic got a promotion to lead ethics and compliance for the company’s global operations. Her new role gives her broad responsibility for the whole department, where she’s spent a considerable amount of time since joining the pharma’s legal team in 2007.

Be The Match BioTherapies has made three new appointments to bolster the business, clinical and operational sides of its cell therapy services. Stem cell transplant physician Steven Devine has come on board as medical director, joining the other two old members. As VP of new business development and sales, Chris McClain will continue to work with the BD team that he’s consulted for the past two years. Jamie Margolis has been given the new title director of product development operations, focused on product delivery to clients.

John Saia is the new general counsel at AcelRx $ACRX, a Redwood City, CA-based biotech now hustling its pain med to the FDA for a second time.

Clinipace Worldwide has named Ian Fraser VP of operations for Europe and Middle East, tasking him with both leading existing clinical operations and offering up new CRO services in the region.

Jennifer Doudna — one of the trailblazers of the CRISPR/Cas9 tech — is now an adviser to Synthego in its quest to bring genome engineering tools to academic and industry researchers.


With contribution by Brittany Meiling.


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