AstraZeneca vet Jennifer Butler takes charge of Innate Pharma's US biz; C4 raids NIBR
→ France’s Innate Pharma has wooed AstraZeneca vet Jennifer Butler to lead the US operations it has set up after acquiring Lumoxiti from the British drugmaker in a rich add-on collaboration deal. Butler’s official title will be EVP and general manager of Innate Pharma US. Most recently, she was chief business officer, chief commercial officer and head of US operations at Tessa Therapeutics.
→ After celebrating the approval of a Parkinson’s therapy he helped acquired for Acorda Therapeutics, chief business officer Andrew Hindman has decided to step down. Hindman, who joined Acorda in 2014, is now “interested in pursuing opportunities in the wider biopharma industry,” CEO Ron Cohen said. Over the next few transitioning months, he will continue to help evaluate ex-US commercial partnerships for Inbrija as the company awaits a European regulatory decision.
→ C4 Therapeutics has raided the Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research for its chief medical officer. The biotech reported today that it’s hired on Adam Crystal for the spot, following a stint as a senior director at NIBR. C4 is one of several biotechs working on protein degraders, which has also been a keen interest of NIBR chief Jay Bradner. “Dr. Crystal’s deep understanding of the science of targeted protein degradation, coupled to his proven clinical leadership and understanding of the patient community, will be instrumental to advancing C4T’s pipeline,” said Andy Phillips, the CEO of C4.
→ John Leaman is quitting his job as CFO and head of corporate strategy at Selecta Bio, a year and a half after joining the Watertown, MA-based biotech. His resignation comes in the wake of a revamp that claimed 36% of the staff — most of them working on a now defunct oncology team — and promoted a gout drug to the lead position.
→ San Diego-based Escient has tapped William Hodder as its chief business officer, adding a seasoned BD exec and one-time entrepreneur to its startup leadership team. Less than a year into its official existence, the biotech is still busy translating insights on Mas-related G-protein receptors to a new class of GCPR-targeted drugs, and Hodder will play a hand in the planning and growing process, CEO Alain Baron said. Before a recent run as a consultant, Hodder has worked for Protagonist Therapeutics and FibroGen, as well as founding and leading Trenovus.
→ Incyte’s head of clinical development in Europe has jumped ship to shape a nascent pipeline at iOnctura, a Merck KGaA spinout based in Geneva. As CMO, Michael Lahn will lead first-in-human studies of the biotech’s next-gen PI3Kδ inhibitor and potential first-in-class autotaxin (ATX) inhibitor. Lahn, an alumni of AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly, will work closely with Zoë Johnson, who’s recently been promoted to CSO.
→ Israel’s burn and wound management biotech MediWound is parting ways with CEO Gal Cohen after 12 years. Sharon Malka, who helped steer the company to a 2014 Nasdaq debut alongside Cohen during this time as CFO and COO, is stepping up to the role. Cohen’s tenure was marked by Europe and Israel approvals for NexoBrid, MediWound’s flagship, non-surgical product for burn treatment. Now financed under a contract with BARDA, the therapy has completed a second Phase III that will hopefully prop up the case for an FDA approval — something that Malka will oversee while supporting an “ongoing strategic process.”
→ Orphan drug developer Minoryx Therapeutics has recruited Didier Le Normand to be CFO of its operations across Europe and the general manager of a newly established Belgian subsidiary. The appointment adds another C-suite role to Le Normand’s resume, which has been packed with similar roles in pharma and medtech companies.
→ Biotech vet Tony Fiorino — perhaps best known as the former CEO of Brainstorm Therapeutics — is taking up the CMO post at electroCore $ECOR as it seeks FDA clearance of its non-invasive bioelectronic vagus nerve stimulator gammaCore. Coming from an interim CEO role at struggling Immune Pharma, he replaces Peter Staats, who will become a senior executive adviser. Also joining the company: Pharmacopeia vet Brian Posner, electroCore’s new CFO.
→ While researchers at Sangamo Therapeutics $SGMO continue to tweak its gene editing tech for its lead rare disease programs, the biotech is beefing up its cell therapy team to grow the CAR-Tregs portfolio. Jason Fontenot will now lead that effort, including a partnership with Sanofi and a pact with Gilead’s Kite for hemoglobinopathies and cancer respectively. He comes to his new role of SVP, cell therapy by way of Immusoft, Juno and Biogen.
→ Experienced medtech exec Kevin Kalish has been recruited to lead the R&D effort at EnClear Therapies, a neurodegeneration-focused startup that’s just raised $2 million in seed funding to take a device-based amyotrophic lateral sclerosis therapy to the clinic in two years. Developed by Kevin Eggan of the Broad Institute, the treatment would remove toxic proteins believed to drive the disease.
→ Cold Spring Harbor Lab’s Mickey Atwal has teased on Twitter that he will “soon be joining Regeneron to head their machine learning and molecular profiling efforts.” Having researched the intersection of population genetics, machine learning and cancer biology, developing mathematical and computational tools, he’s moving onto a new position with “direct translational opportunities ahead,” Atwal said.
→ Triumvira Immunologics has named Cynthia Molina as VP of regulatory affairs to drive submissions and interactions with health agencies around the world. Molina has been immersed in the T cell cancer therapy world while serving in a similar role at Houston-based Cell Medica for the past six years.