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Big Pharma veterans at Pfizer, AstraZeneca join the great migration to biotech

→  Biogen has recruited Anabella Villalobos as its new SVP of biotherapeutic & medicinal sciences. The neurosciences vet was poached from Pfizer, where she was head of medicinal synthesis technologies.

Jean-Charles Soria, is giving up his job as a professor at South-Paris University (he was also a cancer specialist at Institut Gustave Roussy) to run the oncology innovative medicines group at AstraZeneca, while FDA vet Geoffrey Kim will helm the combination work being done in immunotherapies.

→ AstraZeneca has been hit with an exodus of top talent over the last year. As reported last week, Tony Ho left the company’s oncology group, where he was head of oncology integration and innovation. And now we learn that he’s landed as the head of R&D for CRISPR Therapeutics $CRSP, where he will be focused on gene-editing tech.

Juan Andres is taking his Big Manufacturing skills gained in Big Pharma — including the pioneering work done on CAR-T manufacturing — and putting it to work for Moderna as the biotech preps its own central manufacturing site for its mRNA platform. Officially, he’s handing in his title as global head technical operations (manufacturing and supply) at Novartis for senior vice president of late stage technical development and manufacturing (beyond human proof of concept) for Moderna. With Andres’ arrival, Steve Harbin, who had been SVP for manufacturing, is transitioning to new roles as chief of staff and chief sustainability officer.

→ Cell Design Labs has named Roger Sidhu as its chief medical officer.

→ Cara Therapeutics appointed Mani Mohindru as its CFO. Josef Schoell is retiring.

→ Just days after its bid to salvage its second application for the drug/device eye therapy Dextenza failed with another slapdown by regulators, Ocular Therapeutics $OCUL is cutting staff and shaking up the C suite. The biotech said that Antony Mattessich has assumed the role of CEO while former CEO Amar Sawhney has transitioned to executive chairman. The biotech also reduced its head count by 19%.

→ Flex Pharma’s Christoph Westphal has selected Inotek CSO William McVicar as his replacement for the CEO job. The move comes after back-to-back failures at Inotek which decimated its stock.

→  Bill Rastetter is taking over as CEO of Grail, replacing ex-Google exec Jeff Huber, who had been helming the startup over the past year.

→ In another example of the migration of talent from Big Pharma to biotech, Houston-based Bellicum Pharmaceuticals named Pfizer vet Gregory Naeve as its chief business officer.

Pfenex is naming Evert (Eef) Schimmelpennink as CEO. Pfenex’s Interim CEO Patrick Lucy will slide back into his position as Chief Business Officer.


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