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.

Bris­tol My­ers is clean­ing up the post-Cel­gene merg­er pipeline, and they’re sweep­ing out an ex­per­i­men­tal check­point in the process

Back during the lead up to the $74 billion buyout of Celgene, the big biotech’s leadership did a little housecleaning with a major pact it had forged with Jounce. Out went the $2.6 billion deal and a collaboration on ICOS and PD-1.

Celgene, though, also added a $530 million deal — $50 million up front — to get the worldwide rights to JTX-8064, a drug that targets the LILRB2 receptor on macrophages.

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UP­DAT­ED: Leg­end fetch­es $424 mil­lion, emerges as biggest win­ner yet in pan­dem­ic IPO boom as shares soar

Amid a flurry of splashy pandemic IPOs, a J&J-partnered Chinese biotech has emerged with one of the largest public raises in biotech history.

Legend Biotech, the Nanjing-based CAR-T developer, has raised $424 million on NASDAQ. The biotech had originally filed for a still-hefty $350 million, based on a range of $18-$20, but managed to fetch $23 per share, allowing them to well-eclipse the massive raises from companies like Allogene, Juno, Galapagos, though they’ll still fall a few dollars short of Moderna’s record-setting $600 million raise from 2018.

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As it hap­pened: A bid­ding war for an an­tibi­ot­ic mak­er in a mar­ket that has rav­aged its peers

In a bewildering twist to the long-suffering market for antibiotics — there has actually been a bidding war for an antibiotic company: Tetraphase.

It all started back in March, when the maker of Xerava (an FDA approved therapy for complicated intra-abdominal infections) said it had received an offer from AcelRx for an all-stock deal valued at $14.4 million.

The offer was well-timed. Xerava was approved in 2018, four years after Tetraphase posted its first batch of pivotal trial data, and sales were nowhere near where they needed to be in order for the company to keep its head above water.

Is a pow­er­house Mer­ck team prepar­ing to leap past Roche — and leave Gilead and Bris­tol My­ers be­hind — in the race to TIG­IT dom­i­na­tion?

Roche caused quite a stir at ASCO with its first look at some positive — but not so impressive — data for their combination of Tecentriq with their anti-TIGIT drug tiragolumab. But some analysts believe that Merck is positioned to make a bid — soon — for the lead in the race to a second-wave combo immuno-oncology approach with its own ambitious early-stage program tied to a dominant Keytruda.

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Drug man­u­fac­tur­ing gi­ant Lon­za taps Roche/phar­ma ‘rein­ven­tion’ vet as its new CEO

Lonza chairman Albert Baehny took his time headhunting a new CEO for the company, making it absolutely clear he wanted a Big Pharma or biotech CEO with a good long track record in the business for the top spot. In the end, he went with the gold standard, turning to Roche’s ranks to recruit Pierre-Alain Ruffieux for the job.

Ruffieux, a member of the pharma leadership team at Roche, spent close to 5 years at the company. But like a small army of manufacturing execs, he gained much of his experience at the other Big Pharma in Basel, remaining at Novartis for 12 years before expanding his horizons.

Covid-19 roundup: Ab­b­Vie jumps in­to Covid-19 an­ti­body hunt; As­traZeneca shoots for 2B dos­es of Ox­ford vac­cine — with $750M from CEPI, Gavi

Another Big Pharma is entering the Covid-19 antibody hunt.

AbbVie has announced a collaboration with the Netherlands’ Utrecht University and Erasmus Medical Center and the Chinese-Dutch biotech Harbour Biomed to develop a neutralizing antibody that can treat Covid-19. The antibody, called 47D11, was discovered by AbbVie’s three partners, and AbbVie will support early preclinical work, while preparing for later preclinical and clinical development. Researchers described the antibody in Nature Communications last month.

Pfiz­er’s Doug Gior­dano has $500M — and some ad­vice — to of­fer a cer­tain breed of 'break­through' biotech

So let’s say you’re running a cutting-edge, clinical-stage biotech, probably public, but not necessarily so, which could see some big advantages teaming up with some marquee researchers, picking up say $50 million to $75 million dollars in a non-threatening minority equity investment that could take you to the next level.

Doug Giordano might have some thoughts on how that could work out.

The SVP of business development at the pharma giant has helped forge a new fund called the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative. And he has $500 million of Pfizer’s money to put behind 7 to 10 — or so — biotech stocks that fit that general description.

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Mer­ck wins a third FDA nod for an­tibi­ot­ic; Mereo tack­les TIG­IT with $70M raise in hand

Merck — one of the last big pharma bastions in the beleaguered field of antibiotic drug development — on Friday said the FDA had signed off on using its combination drug, Recarbrio, with hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia and ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia. The drug could come handy for use in hospitalized patients who are afflicted with Covid-19, who carry a higher risk of contracting secondary bacterial infections. Once SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind Covid-19, infects the airways, it engages the immune system, giving other pathogens free rein to pillage and plunder as they please — the issue is particularly pertinent in patients on ventilators, which in any case are breeding grounds for infectious bacteria.

RA Cap­i­tal, Hill­house join $310M rush to back Ever­est's climb to com­mer­cial heights in Chi­na

Money has never been an issue for Everest Medicines. With an essentially open tab from their founders at C-Bridge Capital, the biotech has gone two and a half years racking up drug after drug, bringing in top exec after top exec, and issuing clinical update after update.

But now other investors want in — and they’re betting big.

Everest is closing its Series C at $310 million. The first $50 million comes from the Jiashan National Economic and Technological Development Zone; the remaining C-2 tranche was led by Janchor Partners, with RA Capital Management and Hillhouse Capital as co-leaders. Decheng Capital, GT Fund, Janus Henderson Investors, Rock Springs Capital, Octagon Investments all joined.