Bill Lundberg takes over the reins at Merus; Former Akcea COO Jeffrey Goldberg takes the helm of Immunitas
→ Dutch biotech Merus, who struck up a $200 million bispecific development deal with Incyte in 2016, is losing their CEO Ton Logtenberg. Meanwhile, the company has nominated Sven (Bill) Ante Lundberg to be Logtenberg’s successor. Lundberg, most recently served as CSO at CRISPR Therapeutics — helping establish the company in Cambridge, MA and leading the development of the company’s first clinical trial application. Prior to CRISPR, Lundberg was the head of translational medicine at Alexion Pharmaceuticals and CMO of Taligen Therapeutics. His other stints include roles at Xanthus/Anthsoma, Wyeth and Genzyme.
→ Earlier this year, Hep B vaccine maker Dynavax Technologies was looking to unload its immuno-oncology program, slashing jobs and devoting its resources to its vaccine Heplisav-B. Now, the company has announced the promotion of Ryan Spencer to the role of CEO and David Novack to the position of president and COO. Spencer hopped aboard the company in 2006, and most recently served as commercial vice president and since May 2019 has served as interim co-president with Novack. Novack joined Dynavax in 2013. He previously served in various roles at Novartis.
→ After being swept out with two other top execs at Akcea, Jeffrey Goldberg has found a new home at the helm of Immunitas Therapeutics, where he will serve as the company’s CEO and director. Goldberg will succeed founding CEO, Christoph Westphal, who is moving to the role of chairman of the board of directors. During his time at Akcea, Goldberg served as COO. Prior to that, he was the VP of business operations at Proteostasis Therapeutics. His other roles include stints at Sanofi and Genzyme.
→Accelerator Life Sciences startup Lodo Therapeutics has tapped Dale Pfost to head the company as CEO and chairman. Pfost draws from his experience of previously running five biotech companies — MicroBiome Therapeutics, Acuity Pharmaceuticals (later merged to form OPKO Health), Oxford GlycoSciences, Orchid BioSciences and Receptor BioLogix (later acquired by Symphogen). Pfost was also a general partner at VC firm Advent Life Sciences. In addition to Pfost’s appointment, Lodo welcomed Merck vet Steve Colletti as SVP of R&D, co-founder of Bloom Science Anthony Colasin as SVP of business development, principal at BLL Partners Barbara Lindheim as consulting vice president of strategic communications and investor relations and president of The Mackenzie Consulting Group Sarajane Mackenzie as consulting vice president of human resources and organization development.
→ Bone Therapeutics — who saw their shares plummet 26% after hitting the brakes on a Phase III study of their cell therapy for osteonecrosis — has snagged Miguel Forte to the helm of the company as CEO, succeeding Thomas Lienard, who is hitting the exit. Forte makes the leap to the company after serving as the CEO of Zelluna Immunotherapy and is currently serving as CCO and chair of the commercialization committee of the International Society of Cellular Therapy (ISCT). His previous experience includes roles at the EMA, UCB and TxCell.
→ CRISPR-focused Mammoth Biosciences — co-founded by Jennifer Doudna and backed by Tim Cook and Jeff Huber — has expanded its leadership team with the appointments of Peter Nell to the role of CBO and head of therapeutics and Ted Tisch as COO. Nell joins the with experience from his time at Casebia Therapeutics and Bayer HealthCare. Tisch joins the company after a stint at Synthego, where he established the development, manufacturing operations and commercial program of two CRISPR-based product lines.
→ Lantern Pharma — focused on cancer drug development with the help of AI and genomics — has tapped David Margrave to the role of CFO and Kishor Gopaldas Bhatia as CSO. Margrave joins the company after serving at BioNumerik Pharmaceuticals, where he spent time in the roles of president, chief administrative officer and general counsel. Bhatia, whose research focuses on lymphoma and EBV makes the hop over to Lantern from the director’s chair at National Cancer Institute’s AIDS Malignancy Program.
→ Flagship-backed Cygnal Therapeutics — which is focused on exoneural biology — has appointed Elaine Caughey to the role of CBO. Caughey joins the company after a stint as a consultant at The Blackstone Group. Her previous roles include serving as senior director of business development at Biogen and a role in business development and corporate venture at CYTYC Corporation, later acquired by Hologic.
→ Nimbus Therapeutics — who, back in July, had Celgene, ahead of $74 billion Bristol-Myers buyout, bag an option for the company’s HPK1 inhibitor program — has promoted CMO Annie Chen to be president of the company’s Tyk2 subsidiary, Nimbus Lakshmi. Along with her new role, Chen will still continue her responsibilities as CMO to the company. Chen has served in the role of CMO since 2015 and prior to her time at Nimbus, was executive director of clinical research and section head of vaccines at Merck. Before that, Chen held stints at Genentech and Celera Genomics.
→ Boston Pharmaceuticals — who, last October, inked two big in-licensing deals with Novartis and GSK — has welcomed Joanne Beck as COO. Beck makes the hop over after a stint as EVP of global pharmaceutical development and operations at Celgene. In her new role, Beck will draw from experience during her time at Shire — serving as SVP of pharmaceutical development — Abbott’s Global Pharmaceutical Operations, Abbott Vascular, Genentech and Amgen.
→ Immuneering — whose current pipeline focuses on diseases such as cancer cachexia and metastasis — has tapped Scott Barrett as CMO. Prior to joining the company, Barrett was the global medical affairs lead for Targeted Therapeutics at Incyte Pharmaceuticals. In addition, he has also held stints at Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Eisai Pharmaceuticals, and at the Janssen division of J&J.
→ Neurodegenerative disease-focused E-Scape Bio has named Tony Rimac as CFO and Ann Kapoun as SVP of R&D. Rimac joins the company from Chrono Therapeutics, where he served as CFO and CBO. Prior to that, he served as CFO of Aldea Pharmaceuticals, Adamas Pharmaceuticals — leading the company’s IPO — and Aerovance. Most recently, Kapoun served as SVP of translational medicine at OncoMed Pharmaceuticals and has previously held roles at ALZA and Scios, a biopharma unit of J&J.
→ Cell engineering service provider Maxcyte — who recently inked a deal with KSQ Therapeutics — has named Shruti Abbato as EVP of business development as the company continues with a Phase I trial of its cancer drug, MCY-M11. Prior to his new role at Maxcyte, Abbato was the VP of business development at treatment developer Celdara Medical and was the owner of Perspicere.
→ Not long after sealing a licensing deal with Emory University, Neurotrauma Sciences has welcomed Todd Verdoorn as VP of research and development. Verdoorn, most recently, served as CSO of DiaMedica.
→ Months after the FDA lifted its partial hold on Xencor’s CD123 x CD3 bispecific, XmAb14045 — after the drug caused one of two deaths — the company has appointed Allen Yang to the role of SVP and CMO. In his new role, Yang will be responsible for leading clinical development and strategy and overseeing operations for Xencor’s portfolio of XmAb antibody drug candidates. Yang joins the company from Jazz Pharmaceuticals, where he served as VP, head of clinical development and acting CMO. Before Jazz, Yang held roles at Spectrum Pharmaceuticals and Amgen — where he was the global development leader for Aranesp in oncology and clinical research medical director for Blincyto.
→ After recently bagging an $85 million round, Zentalis Pharmaceuticals has tapped Melissa Epperly as CFO. Epperly makes the jump to Zentalis after a stint in the same role at PsiOxus Therapeutics. Prior to that, she was the CFO and head of business development at R-Pharm US. Previously, Epperly has held stints at Anchorage Capital Group, Goldman Sachs, Bain & Company and Morgan Stanley.
→ Pfizer and Mylan announced that former CEO and president of Pfizer Ian Read and former chairman and CEO of The Gillette Company James Kilts will join the Viatris board of directors upon the completion of the planned merger of Mylan and Upjohn — which is expected to occur mid-2020.
→ Millendo Therapeutics — who, last August, merged with struggling fertility company OvaScience — has welcomed current CMO of BioMarin Geoff Nichol to the company’s board of directors.
→ Indalo Therapeutics — focused on the development of integrin antagonists for patients suffering from serious fibrotic diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) — has appointed former CEO of Collegium Pharmaceutical Michael Heffernan as chairman to the board of directors.
→ Life sciences industry group RI Bio has appointed current CEO, president and co-founder of Medley Genomics Patrice Milos as chairman of the board of directors. In addition, the board appointed two new members, Bank of America SVP and private client advisor with Guy Asadorian and VP of business development for The Allied Group Brian Butler.
→ Pathios’ search for small molecule drugs that hit “orphan” GCPR has been backed by Canaan. The company bagged $8.8 million in Series A financing and brought on Stuart Hughes as the company’s CEO. Prior to joining Pathios, Hughes served as a senior director at Vertex and before that held a stint at Eli Lilly.
→ David Meeks has handed in his resignation as CEO to Ipsen and is making the leap across the Atlantic to head startup FerGene. The 30-year biopharma veteran has traveled the world throughout his career. He spent a little more than 3 years at the helm of Paris-based Ipsen, arriving after a stint running the oncology division at Baxalta before it was snapped up by Shire (which was later bought by Takeda). Before that, he was the top commercial officer at Endocyte and earlier he completed a global stint at Novartis.