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Big Pharma vet John Hohneker takes the reins at Anokion; Heptares co-founder Fiona Marshall resigns from parent company Sosei

John Hohneker

→ Having worked in a slate of senior positions in pharma and biotech, John Hohneker is now taking the reins of Anokion as president and CEO. Most recently he was president of R&D at Forma Therapeutics, where he guided the company from discovery stage to clinical trials. In Hohneker, the Lausanne, Switzerland-headquartered biotech gets an experienced exec who’s spent a combined 20 years at GSK and Novartis. He’s been involved with the development, approval and commercialization of such drugs as Cosentyx, Gleevec, and Afinitor. His focus will be on developing the biotech’s immune tolerance platform for autoimmune disease, which has attracted Celgene to ink a collaboration deal with an option to buy.

→ Riding on the excitement of the early OK for Rhopressa, Aerie Pharmaceuticals $AERI has made two new hires to help lead regulatory and sales efforts. Nils Hauptmann will become director of regulatory affairs and pharmacovigilance, supporting — as he did at Avanir, FibroGen and Spectrum Pharma — the preparation of clinical documents. He will also provide oversight of post-marketing promotional activities. Meanwhile, Allergan vet Tim Swan will manage the teams that interact with healthcare providers and organizations as director of sales and transparency operations. Bringing more hands on deck is a natural next step for the ophthalmic company, as it plans to launch its first drug and file an NDA for its second by Q2.

Heptares co-founder Fiona Marshall has resigned from her position as EVP and CSO at Sosei to assume a role outside the company. She is set to depart in February, almost exactly three years after Sosei acquired the G protein-coupled receptors targeting biotech that she helped create. Malcolm Weir, Heptares co-founder and CEO and Sosei’s EVP and chief R&D officer, will continue to lead these activities. Supporting him in managing the Japanese/UK biopharma’s pipeline will be Tim Tasker, who has been promoted to EVP and CMO.

→ After a stint advising biopharma companies, Robert Lutz is diving back into a biotech role of his own as the new CSO of Glythera, a next-gen antibody drug conjugate developer based in Newscastle, England. Before becoming a consultant, Lutz spent over 20 years at ImmunoGen, where he helped advance several ADC candidates — including Kadcyla — and was most recently VP of translational research and development. In its quest to develop new targeted treatments for hard-to-treat tumors, Glythera has also recruited medicinal chemist Jon Roffey to its scientific advisory board from Cancer Research UK’s commercial partnerships team.

Phyton Biotech, a contract development and manufacturing organization most known for making Paclitaxel and Docetaxel, has promoted Colin Marr as its new president. Marr has worked in the Vancouver office for a couple years as VP of business development, so his mandate of overseeing the company’s Canadian and German divisions and devising a longterm growth and diversification strategy won’t be entirely new to him.

→ As its three preclinical projects approach clinical development, Sweden’s Alligator Bioscience (Nasdaq Stockholm: ATORX) has appointed Anu Balendran as its VP of business development. Specifically, Balendran, who is currently external innovation director at AstraZeneca, will help solidify Alligator’s out-license model by seeking partnerships. His appointment follows those of CMO Charlotte Russell and VP of discovery Peter Ellmark last month, continuing a period of growth through both deals and in-house clinical work.

→ Gene control specialist Synpromics has brought in Sarah Haecker Meeks as VP of business development, in charge of positioning and finding partners for its platform technology, which harnesses synthetic promoters to regulate gene expression. In conjunction, the Edinburgh, Scotland biotech has also a subsidiary in the US, from where Meeks from lead business activities covering all territories.

Aslan Pharmaceuticals, a Singaporean cancer fighter with dual ambitions in Asia and US/Europe, has tapped Boehringer Ingelheim vet Stephen Doyle to be head of China. As Aslan explores potential markets for its lead asset varlitinib, licensed from Array Biopharma — which it has been developing for a while but only recently got commercialization rights to — China has become an important target. It has also accelerated its development timeline there. Between Boehringer and Sanofi, Doyle has led both regulatory and marketing/sales sides of things. In his new role, he will have broad responsibility with operations and pipeline development.

→ After a decade in the CFO seat at immunotherapy company Genticel (now Genkyotex), Eli Lilly vet Martin Koch is switching it up by taking the role of COO at Inotrem. During that time, Koch played roles in Genticel’s financing, IPO and ultimate merger. In line with his previous experience, Koch will supervise financial activities and execute the business plan at Paris-based Inotrem, which is developing Motrem, a septic shock drug aimed at modulating the immunological mechanism leading to it.

→ Taiwan’s JHL Biotech — an upstart developer and manufacturer of biologics — has named Rong Chen its new CMO. Having worked in the China offices of Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, Chen joins from Phagelux in Shanghai, a biologics company where he was also CMO.

→ Zurich-based Inositec has recruited Roche vet Frits van Alphen to the company as chief medical officer. Alphen had headed the operational excellence team at Roche.

ViraTherapeutics CEO Heinz Schwer has joined the advisory board of Germany’s amcure, giving advice to the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology spinoff as it prepares to move its peptide-based cancer therapy through the clinic.


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