As­traZeneca pro­motes on­col­o­gy ex­ec to CMO; Pfiz­er re­places re­tir­ing chief deal­mak­er as war chest ex­pands

Cris­t­ian Mas­sace­si

The biggest bright spot for As­traZeneca over the last few years has been its work in on­col­o­gy, as CEO Pas­cal So­ri­ot has helped shep­herd block­busters Imfinzi, Lyn­parza, and Calquence, among oth­er can­cer med­i­cines.

One of the top ex­ec­u­tives from the can­cer di­vi­sion is now mak­ing the leap to the larg­er C-suite. The Swedish-British phar­ma named its on­col­o­gy chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer Cris­t­ian Mas­sace­si as the new CMO.

Mas­sace­si, who will con­tin­ue his role in on­col­o­gy along­side CMO du­ties, re­places Ann Tay­lor, who re­tired this sum­mer af­ter two years as CMO and two decades at Pfiz­er, No­var­tis, As­traZeneca sub­sidiary Med­Im­mune and ul­ti­mate­ly As­traZeneca.

Mas­sace­si is a Pfiz­er and No­var­tis vet­er­an him­self, com­ing to As­traZeneca in 2017 af­ter lead­ing an im­muno-on­col­o­gy team at Pfiz­er. Be­fore join­ing Pfiz­er, he led clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment for P13K and ALK mol­e­cules at No­var­tis. While he was there, the com­pa­ny got the ALK drug Zyka­dia ap­proved for cer­tain lung can­cer pa­tients and, in 2017, the P13K breast can­cer drug Piqray fol­lowed.

The on­col­o­gist will take over med­ical du­ties as As­traZeneca con­tin­ues to try to push its Covid-19 an­ti­bod­ies across the fin­ish line, while de­vel­op­ing its next gen­er­a­tion of can­cer med­i­cines, in­clud­ing fol­low-on AD­Cs to their fast-sell­ing breast can­cer drug En­her­tu along­side Dai­ichi Sankyo. — Ja­son Mast

Aamir Ma­lik

Three days af­ter Pfiz­er inked its lat­est bil­lion-dol­lar buy­out, the New York phar­ma gi­ant an­nounced a suc­ces­sor for their chief deal­mak­er, CBO John Young, who re­tires af­ter two years in the role and 34 years at the com­pa­ny. He will be re­placed by Aamir Ma­lik, a 24-year vet­er­an of the “Big Three” con­sult­ing firm McK­in­sey, whose phar­ma di­vi­sion is most fa­mous for hav­ing ad­vised Pur­due Phar­ma on how to in­crease opi­oid sales.

Ma­lik’s of­fi­cial ti­tle will be chief busi­ness in­no­va­tion of­fi­cer. Al­though Ma­lik is not men­tioned in court doc­u­ments re­lat­ed to McK­in­sey’s work with Pur­due, he served as head of the phar­ma di­vi­sion as far back as 2014. McK­in­sey ad­vised Pur­due from 2009 to 2019.

At Pfiz­er, Ma­lik will have big shoes to fill, and a lot of mon­ey to do it. Al­though Young was not CBO when Pfiz­er orig­i­nal­ly signed an mR­NA vac­cine col­lab­o­ra­tion with BioN­Tech back in 2018, he helped bro­ker the ex­pand­ed deal in win­ter of 2020 that led to their de­vel­op­ment of the first Covid-19 vac­cine, as well as the var­i­ous sub-deals and part­ner­ships that helped them ex­pand pro­duc­tion to up to 3 bil­lion dos­es per year.

Of course, all that Covid work has now giv­en Pfiz­er a siz­able war chest to con­tin­ue its ex­pan­sion. Ma­lik will have plen­ty of vac­cine rev­enues to spend as he looks to con­tin­ue the vi­sion from CEO Al­bert Bourla, who has promised in­vestors would “see a lot of Phase II, Phase III busi­ness de­vel­op­ment deals that will al­low us to bring in-house a lot of po­ten­tial med­i­cines that could be­come med­i­cines in this time frame.”

Ma­lik is co-man­ag­ing part­ner of McK­in­sey’s US of­fice and pre­vi­ous­ly led its phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and med­ical prod­ucts di­vi­sion. McK­in­sey’s phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal di­vi­sion is most well-known for its role in ad­vis­ing Pur­due Phar­ma on how best to sell the Oxy­con­tin. Pur­due’s ag­gres­sive mar­ket­ing of the opi­oid painkiller, be­gin­ning in the 1990s, is wide­ly cred­it­ed with help­ing start the opi­oid epi­dem­ic in the US.

McK­in­sey apol­o­gized for its work with Pur­due and set­tled law­suits for near­ly $600 mil­lion, al­though it de­nied wrong­do­ing. Pfiz­er de­ferred ques­tions about Ma­lik’s work at McK­in­sey to the firm. End­points News has reached out and will up­date ac­cord­ing­ly.

While at McK­in­sey, Ma­lik was al­so men­tioned in a law­suit over Valeant Phara­maceu­ti­cals, the small phar­ma that made head­lines in 2016 af­ter rais­ing the price of two heart drugs 310% and 720% re­spec­tive­ly. A Flori­da law­suit quot­ed an email from Ma­lik to the CEO in Valeant in De­cem­ber, 2014 say­ing those drugs and oth­ers “have ma­te­r­i­al pric­ing po­ten­tial.” — Ja­son Mast 

Jim DeTore

→ Run­ning along­side yes­ter­day’s news of its $60 mil­lion Se­ries B round led by Vi­vo Cap­i­tal, Boston GI biotech Neu­ro­gas­trx and CEO Jim O’Hara have wel­comed three C-suit­ers: Jim DeTore (CFO), Christophe Ar­bet-En­gels (CMO) and Paul Rogers (CCO). DeTore has pre­vi­ous CFO ex­pe­ri­ence at blue­bird bio and Pro­teo­sta­tis Ther­a­peu­tics with eight ad­di­tion­al years un­der his belt as a fi­nance ex­ec at Iron­wood. With plen­ty of Big Phar­ma gigs to his cred­it (Mer­ck, Roche and Sanofi among them), Ar­bet-En­gels has al­so filled the CMO post at Mil­len­do and Pox­el. Fi­nal­ly, Rogers is an Iron­wood vet in his own right who was VP of mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy dur­ing a por­tion of his 10-year run at As­traZeneca.

Jonathan Yu

→ A quar­tet of lead­er­ship changes has hit the stage at hema­to­log­ic dis­ease-fo­cused Disc Med­i­cine — a Cam­bridge, MA biotech that launched with a $50 mil­lion Se­ries A backed by At­las Ven­ture and No­vo Hold­ings in Oc­to­ber 2019 — start­ing with the pro­mo­tions of Will Sav­age to CMO and Jonathan Yu to CBO. Sav­age first rolled in­to Disc Med­i­cine a year ago as head of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment af­ter a stint as se­nior med­ical di­rec­tor at Ma­gen­ta, while Yu al­so ar­rived last sum­mer as SVP, cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment.

The new­com­ers to Disc Med­i­cine are Hua Yang (VP of non-clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment) and Sarah Tuller (VP of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs). A Mil­len­ni­um and Bris­tol My­ers Squibb alum, Yang spent a decade at Agios and from 2016-20 was head of DMPK and clin­i­cal phar­ma­col­o­gy. Tuller moves on from Astel­las, where she was se­nior di­rec­tor of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs and med­ical spe­cial­ties team lead for the cell ther­a­py/re­gen­er­a­tive med­i­cine and mi­to­chon­dr­i­al dys­func­tion port­fo­lios.

An­drea Pirzkall

→ Last year’s “con­grat­u­la­tions” have turned in­to “sor­ry, we don’t need you any­more” for CMO An­drea Pirzkall at Replimune. An SEC fil­ing in­di­cates that Pirzkall has been “ter­mi­nat­ed, with­out cause” on Wednes­day, stat­ing that any­one who had re­port­ed to her will now re­port to pres­i­dent Robert Cof­fin or chief de­vel­op­ment op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer Tanya Lewis, who was just hired in May. Peer Re­view read­ers may re­mem­ber that Pirzkall left her role as BeiGene’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment to join Replimune on Aug. 31, 2020.

→ As Robert Hop­kins steps down as CFO at Adamis, David Bene­dic­to — who first joined Adamis in 2014 and has served as con­troller and chief ac­count­ing of­fi­cer dur­ing his tenure with the com­pa­ny — will take over that va­cant seat. Bene­dic­to looks to bring a mea­sure of sta­bil­i­ty to the fi­nan­cial op­er­a­tions at Adamis, which al­so an­nounced that it hadn’t filed its Form 10-Q to the SEC for the last two quar­ters. Back in No­vem­ber, the San Diego biotech was hit with a CRL for its high-dose nalox­one in­jec­tion that ham­mered the stock.

Matt Killeen

Ren­o­va­cor, one of the En­er­giz­er bun­nies of Peer Re­view this sum­mer, keeps go­ing and go­ing and go­ing in this space af­ter its SPAC deal with Chardan Health­care Ac­qui­si­tion 2 Corp by lock­ing in Matt Killeen as CSO. A Bio­gen vet in the mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis fran­chise, Killeen spent six years with Bio­Marin and mere months ago was el­e­vat­ed to head of ther­a­peu­tic re­search, found­ing the car­dio­vas­cu­lar ther­a­peu­tic area. Oth­er re­cent ap­pointees you may re­call from Ren­o­va­cor in­clude CMO Marc Sem­i­gran, CBO and SVP of op­er­a­tions Eliz­a­beth White, and SVP of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs and qual­i­ty as­sur­ance Ji­wen Zhang.

→ Farm­ing­dale, NY-based biotech Coda­genix, which net­ted a mod­est $20 mil­lion Se­ries B round in Jan­u­ary 2020 for its soft­ware-de­rived vac­cine plat­form, has re­cruit­ed Tyler Cook as CFO. Cook piv­ots to Coda­genix af­ter four years at Samus Ther­a­peu­tics, where he earned a pro­mo­tion to CFO, and he’s al­so been Zio­pharm On­col­o­gy’s SVP of fi­nance, ad­min­is­tra­tion and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy.

Kia Bengts­son

→ Ef­fec­tive Oct. 1, Swedish on­col­o­gy play­er Oas­mia Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal has called up­on Kia Bengts­son to lead clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and Jo­han­na Röstin to be in charge of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs. Bengts­son, who worked in drug de­vel­op­ment and clin­i­cal op­er­a­tions at Ipsen from 2006-14 and then briefly at As­traZeneca, will make the tran­si­tion to Oas­mia af­ter two years as CMO of Nanolog­i­ca. A long­time staffer at So­bi, Röstin is fin­ish­ing her time as di­rec­tor of CMC, pro­gram man­age­ment and reg­u­la­to­ry at Ox­Thera.

→ Big Phar­ma alum Jean Fan has been pro­mot­ed to the new­ly-cre­at­ed role of chief clin­i­cal of­fi­cer at T cell play­er NeoIm­muneTech out of Rockville, MD. Fan, who left her VP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment post at Blue­print Med­i­cines last year to lead clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at NeoIm­muneTech, is the ex-glob­al clin­i­cal lead of As­traZeneca’s late-stage im­muno-on­col­o­gy R&D di­vi­sion. Ear­li­er, Fan served as se­nior glob­al clin­i­cal pro­gram leader for NSCLC drug Gilotrif at Boehringer In­gel­heim.

Christo­pher Ken­ney

→ No­var­tis and EMD Serono vet Christo­pher Ken­ney has ven­tured off to Xenon Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals to be­come CMO at the neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­der biotech. From 2016-19, Ken­ney was SVP, clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and lat­er SVP, med­ical af­fairs at Acor­da Ther­a­peu­tics be­fore he moved on to No­var­tis part­ner Ca­dent Ther­a­peu­tics as CMO. In De­cem­ber, No­var­tis forked over $216 mil­lion up­front to pur­chase Ca­dent and boost its neu­ro pipeline, name­ly NM­DA re­cep­tor mod­u­la­tor MIJ-821.

End­point Health has wel­comed for­mer Take­da ex­ec Kirsten De­t­rick as CCO. Dur­ing her time at Take­da, De­t­rick served in a va­ri­ety of roles, in­clud­ing as VP and ther­a­py area com­mer­cial leader for the glob­al gas­troin­testi­nal fran­chise, gen­er­al man­ag­er of Aus­tria and head of the com­pa­ny’s mul­ti-coun­try or­ga­ni­za­tion in cen­tral and East­ern Eu­rope. Pri­or to that, De­t­rick was with Am­gen and Bris­tol My­ers.

Mer­dad Parsey

In ad­di­tion to De­t­rick’s ap­point­ment, the Pa­lo Al­to, CA-based com­pa­ny has pulled in some renowned in­dus­try vet­er­ans as strate­gic ad­vi­sors of the com­pa­ny: Paul Brown (for­mer CEO, pres­i­dent and glob­al head of Roche Mol­e­c­u­lar So­lu­tion); Javier San Mar­tin (CMO of Ar­row­head Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and a for­mer Ul­tragenyx ex­ec); Mer­dad Parsey (CMO of Gilead); and Mike Var­ney (Eras­ca‘s R&D chair and for­mer head of Genen­tech‘s re­search and ear­ly de­vel­op­ment).

→  San Diego-based Aris­tea Ther­a­peu­tics has tapped Justin Thack­er as CFO. Thack­er for­mer­ly served as VP, fi­nance at De­sign Ther­a­peu­tics and al­so served in the same role at Syn­thorx. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, Thack­er has held po­si­tions at Aca­dia Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Aus­pex Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Ca­dence Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

William Lud­lam

→ Recor­dati Rare Dis­eases, part of the Mi­lan-based Recor­dati Group, has waved in William Lud­lam as CMO and VP, clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. Lud­lam has spent the last six years as a clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment ex­ec at Chi­as­ma, and while he was with No­var­tis from 2012-15, he brought his ex­per­tise in pi­tu­itary dis­or­ders to the rare dis­ease fran­chise as se­nior med­ical di­rec­tor in US clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and med­ical af­fairs.

Jiang Bian has signed on to be gen­er­al coun­sel and chief com­pli­ance of­fi­cer for Con­nect Bio­phar­ma, fur­ther fill­ing out the C-suite al­most ex­act­ly a year af­ter a $115 mil­lion Se­ries C round. Bian hails from Guardant Health, where he was se­nior coun­sel, and he al­so held that ti­tle at Pieris Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. Mean­while, Jean LiuSeagen’s EVP, le­gal af­fairs, gen­er­al coun­sel and sec­re­tary — has been giv­en a seat on the board of di­rec­tors at Con­nect, which al­so ap­point­ed CBO Sel­wyn Ho back in Jan­u­ary.

Chuck Ryan

→ The Prostate Can­cer Foun­da­tion has tagged gen­i­touri­nary on­col­o­gist Chuck Ryan to be its pres­i­dent and CEO. Ryan, who has ex­per­tise in the bi­ol­o­gy and treat­ment of ad­vanced prostate can­cer, comes to the foun­da­tion from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta, where he served as di­rec­tor of the hema­tol­ogy, on­col­o­gy and trans­plan­ta­tion di­vi­sion in the de­part­ment of med­i­cine. Ryan al­so brings to the ta­ble ex­pe­ri­ence from his time at the Ma­son­ic Can­cer Cen­ter, Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin Hos­pi­tal and Clin­ics, Memo­r­i­al Sloan Ket­ter­ing Can­cer Cen­ter and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, San Fran­cis­co.

→  Fac­ing sub­poe­nas from the DOJ and SEC, trou­bled Cy­to­Dyn has pulled in Seenu Srini­vasan as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor-CMC reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs. Pre­vi­ous­ly, Srini­vasan served as di­rec­tor of CMC reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs at Re­gen­eron and he was glob­al VP/CSO, CMC phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal de­vel­op­ment ser­vices for Co­v­ance. Cy­to­Dyn dis­closed the sub­poe­nas ear­li­er this month af­ter flood­ing the zone with press re­leas­es tout­ing the suc­cess of its Covid-19 drug that failed to show any ben­e­fit.

Jeff Dou­glas

Jeff Dou­glas has an­swered the call to be VP, clin­i­cal op­er­a­tions at Es­ker Ther­a­peu­tics, the sec­ond biotech hatched from Vik Ba­jaj‘s in­cu­ba­tor at Fore­site Labs. Dou­glas is part­ing ways with MyoKar­dia — which was re­cent­ly bought out by Bris­tol My­ers for $13 bil­lion — where he served as head of clin­i­cal op­er­a­tions for the last three years. Dou­glas has al­so di­rect­ed pro­grams fo­cused on can­cer im­munother­a­py and hema­to­log­ic ma­lig­nan­cies at Genen­tech. Es­ker, which launched in May with $70 mil­lion in Se­ries A fi­nanc­ing, cou­ples this an­nounce­ment with the open­ing of their new 14,000-square foot of­fice space in South San Fran­cis­co.

Ad­verum is in a pre­car­i­ous po­si­tion af­ter safe­ty is­sues shut­tered its study of AD­VM-022 for di­a­bet­ic mac­u­lar ede­ma. Hop­ing to sal­vage the drug for those with wet AMD, the biotech has ap­point­ed Jim Wang as SVP, head of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs. Wang, who has vast reg­u­la­to­ry ex­pe­ri­ence at Sanofi, Bris­tol My­ers, No­vo Nordisk, Shire and Spark, was re­cent­ly with PTC Ther­a­peu­tics as VP, glob­al head of reg­u­la­to­ry strat­e­gy.

Provenge mak­er Den­dreon Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, which just un­veiled a con­tract man­u­fac­tur­ing and ser­vices di­vi­sion un­der sec­ond-year CEO Ja­son O’Neill, has en­list­ed Sher­ry Sauri­ni as VP of qual­i­ty. Sauri­ni had held the same post at Tis­sueTech and Cry­oLife be­fore head­ing to Den­dreon.

Bruce Binkowitz

→ Skin dis­ease biotech Ar­cutis has opened up its doors to new ex­ecs in man­u­fac­tur­ing, in­vestor re­la­tions and com­mu­ni­ca­tions in the last cou­ple months, and there’s no off switch on the hir­ing spree with Bruce Binkowitz as VP of bio­met­rics. Binkowitz had been VP of bio­met­rics at Sh­iono­gi ever since he com­plet­ed his 32-year tenure at Mer­ck in 2017.

→ Lo­cat­ed near the heart of Penn State Uni­ver­si­ty, NeuEx­cell Ther­a­peu­tics has tapped Russ Ad­dis as VP, re­search, stay­ing in Penn­syl­va­nia af­ter join­ing Sue Dil­lon’s crew at Aro Bio­ther­a­peu­tics around the time of its 2018 launch. Ad­dis was pro­mot­ed to se­nior di­rec­tor of bi­ol­o­gy in Jan­u­ary at Aro be­fore piv­ot­ing to the CNS and neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease-fo­cused biotech.

Tarif Awad

→ San­ta Clara, CA-based Re­bus Biosys­tems has plucked Tarif Awad as VP sci­en­tif­ic af­fairs. Awad comes to the com­pa­ny from Ther­mo Fish­er Sci­en­tif­ic, where he di­rect­ed the re­pro­duc­tive health pro­gram. In ad­di­tion to Awad’s ap­point­ment, Re­bus has brought on bio­chemist Glo­ria Chui and Si­mone Codelup­pi (as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor at Karolin­s­ka In­sti­tute in Stock­holm) as prin­ci­pal sci­en­tists.

Dot­mat­ics — a cloud-based sci­en­tif­ic R&D da­ta man­age­ment plat­form that was ac­quired in March by In­sight­ful Sci­encehas re­cruit­ed Michael Swartz as SVP en­ter­prise prod­uct. Pri­or to his new role, Swartz was VP of soft­ware so­lu­tions and strat­e­gy at PerkinElmer In­for­mat­ics.

Nan­cy Whit­ing

→ Long­time Seagen ex­ec Nan­cy Whit­ing has joined the board of di­rec­tors at Jen­nifer Doud­na’s Cari­bou Bio­sciences, which has en­joyed an event­ful sum­mer with its $300 mil­lion-plus IPO and the start of its al­lo­gene­ic CAR-T tri­al. Cari­bou’s board al­so in­cludes CEO Rachel Hau­r­witz, Mar­i­nus CEO Scott Braun­stein and Vax­cyte CFO An­drew Guggen­hime.

→ Ex-Wyeth (now Pfiz­er) pres­i­dent of R&D Robert Ruf­fo­lo has been elect­ed to the board of di­rec­tors at Fort Worth-based Nacu­ity Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, which aims to treat eye dis­eases that in­volve ox­ida­tive stress like re­tini­tis pig­men­tosa and cataracts. The chief in­no­va­tion of­fi­cer at Ver­si­col­or Tech­nolo­gies, Ruf­fo­lo is al­so on the board at OcuTer­ra, which is chaired by Brent Saun­ders.

Nisha Nan­da

→ Cham­pi­oned by Ab­b­Vie in a fi­bro­sis part­ner­ship and gal­va­nized by IBD da­ta that sent its stock soar­ing to its high­est lev­el of the year in March, Mor­phic Ther­a­peu­tic has ap­point­ed Nisha Nan­da to the board of di­rec­tors. Since Jan­u­ary 2019, Nan­da has been chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer of Loxo On­col­o­gy at Lil­ly.

Yu­jiro Ha­ta

→ De­vel­op­ing drug can­di­dates in such dis­eases as RSV, HBV and NASH, Enan­ta Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has space avail­able on the board of di­rec­tors for Yu­jiro Ha­ta. The founder and CEO of Ideaya Bio­sciences al­so oc­cu­pies board seats at Xen­cor and Ex­pan­sion Ther­a­peu­tics.

Di­ane Parks is adding an­oth­er board seat to her ré­sumé with her new ap­point­ment at CTI Bio­Phar­ma. Parks has held a va­ri­ety of roles across the in­dus­try, in­clud­ing as SVP, head of US com­mer­cial at Kite, where she led the launch and strate­gic plan­ning for Yescar­ta. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, Parks has served at Phar­ma­cyclics, Genen­tech and Am­gen. Parks cur­rent­ly sits on the boards of Cal­lid­i­tas, Soli­genix and Ku­ra On­col­o­gy, among oth­ers.

Hol­ly Schachn­er

→ Myokar­dia vet Hol­ly Schachn­er just got start­ed as CMO at Dou­ble Rain­bow, and she’s picked up a board ap­point­ment to boot at Ap­plied Mol­e­c­u­lar Trans­port. Late last spring, AMT watched its IPO steam­roll past the $100 mil­lion it pen­ciled in, tal­ly­ing a $177.1 mil­lion raise.

→ Woburn, MA-based Re­Form Bi­o­log­ics has giv­en So­bi North Amer­i­ca CMO John Yee a seat on the board of di­rec­tors. Yee, a for­mer di­a­betes ex­ec at As­traZeneca, has al­so been glob­al head of med­ical af­fairs at Ver­tex.

Pri­ti Hegde

→ Cam­bridge, MA-based TCR2 Ther­a­peu­tics — spe­cial­iz­ing in T cell ther­a­pies for on­col­o­gy — has brought on Pri­ti Hegde to its board of di­rec­tors. Cur­rent­ly, Hegde serves as CSO of Foun­da­tion Med­i­cine, and pre­vi­ous­ly worked at Glax­o­SmithK­line along with a 12-year stint at Genen­tech.

BioCryst — which bagged $250 mil­lion in a debt and roy­al­ty deal last year — has pulled out a seat on its board of di­rec­tors for Steven Gal­son, a for­mer di­rec­tor of the FDA’s CDER. Most re­cent­ly, Gal­son served as SVP, re­search and de­vel­op­ment at Am­gen.

Chip Clark

Geno­cea Bio­sciences pres­i­dent and CEO Chip Clark is hop­ping on­to the board of di­rec­tors of iBio. Pri­or to his cur­rent stint at Geno­cea, Clark was CBO of Van­da Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals — a com­pa­ny he co-found­ed in 2004 — and served in roles at Care Cap­i­tal and SmithK­line Beecham.

→ Af­ter reel­ing in a $210 mil­lion Se­ries B in June, Umo­ja Bio­phar­ma has en­list­ed Greg Sar­gen to its board of di­rec­tors. Sar­gen joins the Seat­tle-based com­pa­ny af­ter his most re­cent stint as CFO and EVP of cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment and strat­e­gy at Cam­brex Cor­po­ra­tion. Pri­or to that, he served at Ex­panets, Mer­ck and Fish­er Sci­en­tif­ic, among oth­ers.

Phar­ma Two B has se­lect­ed Jef­frey Berkowitz as chair­man of its board of di­rec­tors. Berkowitz is cur­rent­ly CEO of Re­al End­points and, in the past, has held po­si­tions at Mer­ck, Scher­ing-Plough, Unit­ed­Health Group/Op­tum and Wal­greens Boots Al­liance.

→ Seat­tle-based Vi­s­us Ther­a­peu­tics has brought on two new faces to its board of di­rec­tors with the ap­point­ments of Tracey Val­o­rie (for­mer SVP and gen­er­al man­ag­er, US oph­thal­mol­o­gy RX and sur­gi­cal at Bausch + Lomb) and Dwight Mox­ie (SVP, gen­er­al coun­sel and cor­po­rate sec­re­tary at Re­vance Ther­a­peu­tics).

→ One-time pen­ny stock play­er Vaxart has cre­at­ed an eight-mem­ber sci­en­tif­ic and clin­i­cal ad­vi­so­ry board which in­cludes: Ralph Bar­ic (pro­fes­sor, de­part­ment of epi­demi­ol­o­gy, mi­cro­bi­ol­o­gy, and im­munol­o­gy at UNC-Chapel Hill); Robert Belshe (pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus, di­vi­sion of in­fec­tious dis­eases, al­ler­gy and im­munol­o­gy at St Louis Uni­ver­si­ty); Ste­fan Graven­stein (pro­fes­sor of med­i­cine at Brown Uni­ver­si­ty); Gre­go­ry Gray (pro­fes­sor of med­i­cine, di­vi­sion of in­fec­tious dis­eases at Duke Uni­ver­si­ty School of Med­i­cine); Har­ry Green­berg (pro­fes­sor in the school of med­i­cine at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty); Mar­i­on Pep­per (as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor, im­munol­o­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton); Stan­ley Plotkin (emer­i­tus pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia); and George Siber (for­mer CSO of Wyeth Vac­cines Re­search).

Health­care Dis­par­i­ties and Sick­le Cell Dis­ease

In the complicated U.S. healthcare system, navigating a serious illness such as cancer or heart disease can be remarkably challenging for patients and caregivers. When that illness is classified as a rare disease, those challenges can become even more acute. And when that rare disease occurs in a population that experiences health disparities, such as people with sickle cell disease (SCD) who are primarily Black and Latino, challenges can become almost insurmountable.

David Meek, new Mirati CEO (Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fresh off Fer­Gene's melt­down, David Meek takes over at Mi­rati with lead KRAS drug rac­ing to an ap­proval

In the insular world of biotech, a spectacular failure can sometimes stay on any executive’s record for a long time. But for David Meek, the man at the helm of FerGene’s recent implosion, two questionable exits made way for what could be an excellent rebound.

Meek, most recently FerGene’s CEO and a past head at Ipsen, has become CEO at Mirati Therapeutics, taking the reins from founding CEO Charles Baum, who will step over into the role of president and head of R&D, according to a release.

Jacob Van Naarden (Eli Lilly)

Ex­clu­sives: Eli Lil­ly out to crash the megablock­buster PD-(L)1 par­ty with 'dis­rup­tive' pric­ing; re­veals can­cer biotech buy­out

It’s taken 7 years, but Eli Lilly is promising to finally start hammering the small and affluent PD-(L)1 club with a “disruptive” pricing strategy for their checkpoint therapy allied with China’s Innovent.

Lilly in-licensed global rights to sintilimab a year ago, building on the China alliance they have with Innovent. That cost the pharma giant $200 million in cash upfront, which they plan to capitalize on now with a long-awaited plan to bust up the high-price market in lung cancer and other cancers that have created a market worth tens of billions of dollars.

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Jay Bradner (Jeff Rumans for Endpoints News)

Div­ing deep­er in­to in­her­it­ed reti­nal dis­or­ders, No­var­tis gob­bles up an­oth­er bite-sized op­to­ge­net­ics biotech

Right about a year ago, a Novartis team led by Jay Bradner and Cynthia Grosskreutz at NIBR swooped in to scoop up a Cambridge, MA-based opthalmology gene therapy company called Vedere. Their focus was on a rather narrow market niche: inherited retinal dystrophies that include a wide range of genetic retinal disorders marked by the loss of photoreceptor cells and progressive vision loss.

But that was just the first deal that whet their appetite.

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FDA hands ac­cel­er­at­ed nod to Seagen, Gen­mab's so­lo ADC in cer­vi­cal can­cer, but com­bo stud­ies look even more promis­ing

Biopharma’s resident antibody-drug conjugate expert Seagen has scored a clutch of oncology approvals in recent years, finding gold in what are known as “third-gen” ADCs. Now, another of their partnered conjugates is ready for prime time.

The FDA on Monday handed an accelerated approval to Seagen and Genmab’s Tivdak (tisotumab vedotin-tftv, or “TV”) in second-line patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer who previously progressed after chemotherapy rather than PD-(L)1 systemic therapy, the companies said in a release.

Dave Lennon, former president of Novartis Gene Therapies

Zol­gens­ma patent spat brews be­tween No­var­tis and Re­genxbio as top No­var­tis gene ther­a­py ex­ec de­parts

Regenxbio, a small licensor of gene therapy viral vectors spun out from the University of Pennsylvania, is now finding itself in the middle of some major league patent fights.

In addition to a patent suit with Sarepta Therapeutics from last September, Novartis, is now trying to push its smaller partner out of the way. The Swiss biopharma licensed Regenxbio’s AAV9 vector for its $2.1 million spinal muscular atrophy therapy Zolgensma.

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Volker Wagner (L) and Jeff Legos

As Bay­er, No­var­tis stack up their ra­dio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal da­ta at #ES­MO21, a key de­bate takes shape

Ten years ago, a small Norwegian biotech by the name of Algeta showed up at ESMO — then the European Multidisciplinary Cancer Conference 2011 — and declared that its Bayer-partnered targeted radionuclide therapy, radium-223 chloride, boosted the overall survival of castration-resistant prostate cancer patients with symptomatic bone metastases.

In a Phase III study dubbed ALSYMPCA, patients who were treated with radium-223 chloride lived a median of 14 months compared to 11.2 months. The FDA would stamp an approval on it based on those data two years later, after Bayer snapped up Algeta and christened the drug Xofigo.

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Rafaèle Tordjman (Jeito Capital)

Con­ti­nu­ity and di­ver­si­ty: Rafaèle Tord­j­man's women-led VC firm tops out first fund at $630M

For a first-time fund, Jeito Capital talks a lot about continuity.

Rafaèle Tordjman had spotlighted that concept ever since she started building the firm in 2018, promising to go the extra mile(s) with biotech entrepreneurs while pushing them to reach patients faster.

Coincidentally, the lack of continuity was one of the sore spots listed in a report about the European healthcare sector published that same year by the European Investment Bank — whose fund is one of the LPs, alongside the American pension fund Teacher Retirement System of Texas and Singapore’s Temasek, to help Jeito close its first fund at $630 million (€534 million). As previously reported, Sanofi had chimed in €50 million, marking its first investment in a French life sciences fund.

Mi­rati tri­umphs again in KRAS-mu­tat­ed lung can­cer with a close­ly watched FDA fil­ing now in the cards

After a busy weekend at #ESMO21, which included a big readout for its KRAS drug adagrasib in colon cancer, Mirati Therapeutics is ready to keep the pressure on competitor Amgen with lung cancer data that will undergird an upcoming filing.

In topline results from a Phase II cohort of its KRYSTAL-1 study, adagrasib posted a response rate of 43% in second-line-or-later patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer containing a KRAS-G12C mutation, Mirati said Monday.