Peer Review

Anthony Quinn cements Aeglea CEO spot; Human Longevity bumps David Karow up to the top

Anthony Quinn

→ After proving himself in one year as interim CEO at Aeglea BioTherapeutics $AGLE, Anthony Quinn is officially taking on the post permanently. Since he joined the Austin-based company as a board member in 2016, he’s seen it through an IPO and initiation of several Phase I trials for its rare disease drug, AEB1102. A former professor at Barts and the London School of Medicine, Quinn previously worked as CMO at Synageva Biopharma until Alexion came along to snap it up. He will be helped at the helm by Brian Lawlis, Itero founder and ex-CEO, who’s just been appointed to the board.

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→ As Apeiron Biologics’ founding CEO Hans Loibner retires, Peter Llewellyn-Davies has been promoted from the dual CFO/CBO role to fill his shoes. Loibner directed the Austrian biotech’s pivot to immuno-oncology, which proved to be a boon leading to two out-licensing deals and an approved pediatric cancer drug named Qarziba. He will continue to be an advisor to Llewellyn-Davies, who joined the company only months ago after spending some time in both biotech exec and consulting roles. Moving forward, the new CEO commented, expect to see Apeiron extend the development portfolio, expand their headquarters in Vienna and do more internationally in way of partnerships.

David Karow

→ Attempting to put a stop to the confusing series of executive shakeups, Human Longevity has promoted chief of radiogenomics David Karow all the way to the top. Together with CTO/interim COO Scott Sorensen, Karow will oversee the anti-aging company’s business strategy, trying to realize founder J. Craig Venter’s vision of “incorporating genomic analytics, machine learning and advanced clinical imaging.” Venter retired from the company about two months ago.

Jason Hanson has been tapped as CEO and president at gene therapy company enGene, freeing co-founder Anthony Cheung up for the chief technology officer role. Fresh off a two-year run at the helm of Flagship-launched Ohana Biosciences (and equipped with plenty of operational, legal and strategic experience from stints at the likes of GE Healthcare and Medicis), Hanson is tasked with leading the biotech’s oral gene delivery platform into clinical development.

→ Seattle biotech Presage Biosciences added some fresh capital to its coffers Tuesday, allowing the cancer company to work on the design of a device it created to conduct its early clinical work. At the same time, Presage announced its CSO Rich Klinghoffer is taking over as CEO, while former CEO Nathan Caffo steps into an advisory role. “When Nathan and I joined Presage as the first two employees of the company, it was because we recognized the transformative potential of the CIVO platform to enable faster proof-of-concept studies for early stage drug candidates,” Klinghoffer said in a statement. “Given the well-known lack of translation of animal models to the human clinic, we are excited to provide an approach that allows our partners to test assets in the context where they are ultimately intended to be used – the human cancer patient.”

→ After a brief stint as Anthera Pharma’s CEO, Craig Thompson is jumping to the same job at Neurana Pharmaceuticals, diving into the new area of neuromuscular conditions. As the San Diego company heads into Phase II with tolperisone — a widely used drug in Europe and Asia — it’s also hired Toni Foster to run medical operations. The drug, which now targets acute, painful muscle spasms, “has the potential to be the first skeletal muscle relaxant without sedation,” Thompson said in a statement.  

→ Following a rocky few months at Bellicum Pharmaceuticals $BLCM, the Houston biotech announced that CFO Alan Musso is exiting at the end of August, leaving VP of finance and controller Rosemary Williams in charge while the search for his successor takes place. This marks his fourth run at the top financial role, and it seems likely he’s heading to another one. CEO Rick Fair emphasized that Bellicum is “well capitalized” to continue executing on its lead cell therapy, which is now back in development after being halted for three months by a clinical hold.

→ Three months into his tenure, Cerecor CEO Peter Greenleaf is building out his own management team to help drive the Baltimore biotech toward the pediatric business and push its central nervous system drugs in orphan and specialty indications. He’s brought in Joe Miller as CFO, Perry Calias as CSO, and James Harrell as EVP of marketing and investors relations. Both Miller and Calias are old colleagues from Greenleaf’s Sucampo days, before he led the company to a merger with Mallinckrodt. Meanwhile, Mariam Morris, the CFO who oversaw Cerecor’s IPO and a couple of BD deals, is out.

Sara Bonstein

Sara Bonstein is the new CFO and COO at OncoSec $ONCS, where she will have a broad mandate over financial and capital market activities, as well as administrative functions and technical operations. Most recently at Advaxis — a bit of a mixed bag these days — Bonstein began her career in financial roles at J&J and branched out to project management at Eli Lilly’s Imclone. She succeeds Richard Slanky.

Yann Mazabraud

Trevi Therapeutics has poached longtime Sanofi Genzyme exec Yann Mazabraud to head up its commercial strategy and international operations as chief commercial officer. The New Haven, CT biotech is approaching pivotal trials for its synthetic opioid, Nalbuphine ER, in both of its pruritic programs. And they are trusting Mazabraud — most recently US general manager and North America region head for the French drugmaker — to build the sales and marketing team from scratch.

→ Moving up the ladder at the CRO department of Genesis Biotechnology Group, Olesia Buiakova has been tapped as the CSO of Genesis Drug Discovery & Development. The move will require her to step up from her current role as CSO of Invivotek, coordinating preclinical platforms in oncology, immunology, metabolic and ocular diseases.

Turnstone Biologics is welcoming a party of five seasoned execs into its leadership ranks, topped by the appointment of new CFO Jane Henderson, who left Voyager Therapeutics to take the role. Other new hires are Kite Pharma vet Kristin Gustafson, SVP of human resources and facilities; Bristol-Myers Squibb staffer Steve Bernstein, SVP of clinical R&D; professor and researcher David Stojdl, SVP of discovery research; and clinical operations pro Adina Pelusio, VP of clinical operations. Turnstone is developing a viral therapy that combines the functions of a oncolytic virus and an immune stimulating T cell vaccine.

→ Looking to emerge from the scandal that’s engulfed the company for weeks, MiMedx has installed UCB vet Mark Graves as chief compliance officer. Graves will now handle all regulatory and legal compliance matters related to risk management, sales operations and financial reporting — things that, if you recall, got MiMedx $MXDG into trouble with the Justice Department as well as investors.

Avid Bioservices $CDMO has brought in Daniel Hart, a financial professional whose employers have spanned medical device, management consulting and real estate, as its CFO. Looking to “aggressively” grow and diversify its client base, the contract development and manufacturing company has also appointed Michael Faughnan as the senior director of business development for the western region, covering the US west coast as well as Canada. Faughnan jumps from WuXi Biologics.


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