Peer Review

Andy Boyer joins Teva exodus; Achaogen shuffles executive lineup

Teva’s US chief Andy Boyer has resigned and is leaving the company at the end of Q1 next year, according to Wells Fargo’s David Marris. It has been a turbulent week at the Israeli generics business, as new CEO Kåre Schultz unveiled a massive reorganization plan Thursday, which involves axing 14,000 workers, shuttering R&D and manufacturing facilities and radically paring down $3 billion in costs globally. In a signal of the intense fallout, on Wednesday, former chairman and interim CEO Yitzhak Peterburg abruptly resigned with immediate effect.

→ Next March, John Martin of Gilead will transition from executive chairman to chairman of the board of directors. Martin is a veteran of the company $GILD, having served as CEO for two decades before John Milligan took over. The brief announcement did not cite a reason for the change, but it can be seen as a move to lessen operational involvement with the company in preparation for retirement.

→ Not only did CMO David Apelian sell off his Achillion stock earlier this month, he is now planning to exit the New Haven, CT-based company at the end of the year.

→ Playing slow and steady, Achaogen has announced an executive switch up in the executive ranks in preparation for the approval of its first drug, plazomicin. President and COO Blake Wise will move to the CEO role, while current CEO Kenneth Hillan takes the president position and heads up R&D. One of the few late-stage players in new antibiotics, the biotech $AKAO has shown enough promise to gain investment from the Gates Foundation. “… Blake’s experience scaling and leading commercial organizations is perfectly suited to maximizing this stage of growth, and value, of the company,” said board chairman Bryan Roberts in a statement. “At the same time, we are extremely fortunate to have Kenneth in a role that fully leverages his passion and success at the intersection of preclinical research and clinical drug development.”

→ After two decades at GlaxoSmithKline development business and pursuing deals, Damien McDevitt has joined Acadia Pharmaceuticals $ACAD as SVP, corporate development. The San Diego-based biotech is studying other indications for its Parkinson’s drug Nuplazid (pimavanserin), but also looking to “explore the potential for expanding” their central nervous system portfolio. In the same statement, the company noted that Jim Nash, SVP, technology development and operations, will be retiring from the company as of January 2018. Bob Mischler will pick up Nash’s responsibilities in a new role.

Patricia Zilliox is the new CEO at French biotech Eyevensys, following predecessor Raffy Kazandjian’s low profile departure in November (according to LinkedIn). An ophthalmic expert, Zilliox has had plenty of time to learn about the Paris-based company since joining its board in 2016. Previously, she was chief drug development officer of the Clinical Research Institute at the Foundation Fighting Blindness in Columbia, MD. Now, she is tasked with advancing Eyevensys’ non-viral gene therapies.

Aveo Oncology $AVEO has appointed Nikhil Mehta as its senior VP, regulatory and quality assurance. With big names like Baxalta, Merck and Shire under his belt, Mehta has a broad mandate to oversee all aspects of the company’s regulatory, quality or technical operations. His appointment marks another step towards the company’s quest for a do-over, as its FDA-rejected drug tivozanib scored an OK in the EU back in August.

→ Entering a new phase of growth, Kaleido Biosciences has named Genzyme vet Alison Lawton as its president and COO. After a 20-plus-year run at Genzyme, Lawton tested waters at smaller biotechs like Aura Biosciences and OvaScience before joining the Flagship Ventures-backed startup zooming into the microbiome.

→ Rapid diagnostics developer Atlas Genetics has brought in Marc Jones as COO and CFO, who will team up with CEO Jeffrey Luber in strategic direction and execution outside of his main functions. Jones and Luber are old partners, having worked together at Good Start Genetics in the exact same roles. After Good Start was acquired by Invitae, Luber got the top job at Atlas almost immediately. Now that the young company has advanced from clinical proof of concept to a commercial phase, he is counting on his friend’s wide range of CFO experience which also includes T2 Biosystems and Ivenix.

→ Having worked on the financial side of things, Andrew Oh is giving biotech a try as the CFO at Rubius Therapeutics. An investor and analyst, Oh was most recently the chief investment officer and chief operating officer of Leerink Pharmaceutical Investments. “Rubius is one of the most exciting biotech companies I have seen in my investing career and has the potential to transform care for people suffering from a broad range of serious diseases,” said Oh in a statement. “I am honored to be part of a team dedicated to pioneering the next generation of cellular therapies and the development of breakthrough therapies for patients in need.”

→ Singapore’s Tessa Therapeutics has appointed Desmond Lim as CFO. Lim joins the biotech, which focuses on cellular immunotherapy for solid tumors, from outsourcing company Heptagon.

→ At Flexion Therapeutics, Scott Kelley has been promoted as CMO to succeed Yamo Deniz. Kelley moves up from VP of medical affairs, a position he took after a stint at Sanofi overseeing global data. A new asset under his watch will be non-opioid painkiller for the knee FX-201, which Flexion $FLXN just acquired from GeneQuine Biotherapeutics.

→ In developing AML drug Idhifa, Agios had enjoyed working with Celgene vet Jackie Fouse so much that it has brought her onto its board of directors. Since leaving Celgene, Fouse had started running Dermavant — another “vant” by Vivek Ramaswamy that works on medical dermatology.

Immune Pharmaceuticals has recruited John Zhang from Tesaro as VP of R&D. Zhang’s focus will be on non-clinical aspects of drug development, but will also provide support for clinical, regulatory and manufacturing activities.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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