Bill Lund­berg takes over the reins at Merus; For­mer Akcea COO Jef­frey Gold­berg takes the helm of Im­mu­ni­tas

Bill Lund­berg

→ 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

Jef­frey Gold­berg

→ 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

Joanne Beck Boston

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.

Scott Bar­rett Im­muneer­ing

→ 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

Michael Hef­fer­nan In­da­lo

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. 

Jen­nifer Cook — who was the CEO of can­cer test­ing start­up Grail, but stepped down for fam­i­ly health rea­sons — has joined the board of di­rec­tors of Neil Ku­mar-led Bridge­Bio.

Mil­len­do Ther­a­peu­tics — who, last Au­gust, merged with strug­gling fer­til­i­ty com­pa­ny Ova­Sciencehas 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.

Patrice Mi­los Ri Bio

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.

Nick Galakatos, Blackstone global head of life sciences

Nick Galakatos and the Black­stone team now have a record $4.6B to in­vest in bio­phar­ma, with a big fo­cus on push­ing com­pa­nies over the top

Nick Galakatos and his team at Blackstone Life Sciences have seen their biggest opportunities swell up in mostly established players who don’t have all the money they need to accomplish everything on the to-do list. And right now, with the industry booming, that’s a long list with some hefty needs.

The Blackstone team has neatly tied up the largest private fund ever raised in life sciences for making big dreams come true in biopharma. Late Thursday, Blackstone put out word that they had closed their highly anticipated fund with the projected $4.6 billion all in.

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Gilead boasts of pos­i­tive remde­sivir da­ta on mor­tal­i­ty — but their analy­sis pro­vokes the skep­tics

Gilead is surging again off data that suggest its antiviral remdesivir might improve survival.

The new data come from an analysis Gilead conducted comparing the death rate and recovery time of patients in one of its remdesivir trials to a group of 800 patients “with similar baseline characteristics and disease severity” who received only standard-of-care around the same time. The result, they said, suggested that patients who received remdesivir had a 62% better chance at surviving than those who did not.

Hal Barron, GSK

Win or lose on the mar­ket­ing OK, the FDA just gunned down GSK’s bright hopes for their BC­MA ther­a­py

The FDA’s ODAC — the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee — has a well-known bias in favor of adding new cancer drugs to the market, even if efficacy is at best marginal and serious safety issues demand careful management.

Doctors want as many arrows in their quiver as they can get. And when patients are dying after failing multiple drugs, why not give it a go one more time?

GlaxoSmithKline, though, is about to test out how their new BCMA antibody drug conjugate belantamab mafodotin can do after being mauled in an in-house FDA review, ahead of the Tuesday expert panel discussion. Even if the agency goes ahead with an expected green light, this drug will likely be constrained to a small niche — icing any plans they may have for making waves in oncology anytime soon.

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UP­DAT­ED: Bio­gen shares spike as ex­ecs com­plete a de­layed pitch for their con­tro­ver­sial Alzheimer's drug — the next move be­longs to the FDA

Biogen is stepping out onto the high wire today, reporting that the team working on the controversial Alzheimer’s drug aducanumab has now completed their submission to the FDA. And they want the agency to bless it with a priority review that would cut the agency’s decision-making time to a mere 6 months.

The news drove a 10% spike in Biogen’s stock $BIIB ahead of the bell.

Part of that spike can be attributed to a relief rally. Biogen execs rattled backers and a host of analysts earlier in the year when they unexpectedly delayed their filing to the third quarter. That delay provoked all manner of speculation after CEO Michel Vounatsos and R&D chief Al Sandrock failed to persuade influential observers that the pandemic and other factors had slowed the timeline for filing. Actually making the pitch at least satisfies skeptics that the FDA was not likely pushing back as Biogen was pushing in. From the start, Biogen execs claimed that they were doing everything in cooperation with the FDA, saying that regulators had signaled their interest in reviewing the submission.

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Regeneron CEO Leonard Schleifer speaks at a meeting with President Donald Trump, members of the Coronavirus Task Force, and pharmaceutical executives in the Cabinet Room of the White House (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

OWS shifts spot­light to drugs to fight Covid-19, hand­ing Re­gen­eron $450M to be­gin large scale man­u­fac­tur­ing in the US

The US government is on a spending spree. And after committing billions to vaccines defense operations are now doling out more of the big bucks through Operation Warp Speed to back a rapid flip of a drug into the market to stop Covid-19 from ravaging patients — possibly inside of 2 months.

The beneficiary this morning is Regeneron, the big biotech engaged in a frenzied race to develop an antibody cocktail called REGN-COV2 that just started a late-stage program to prove its worth in fighting the virus. BARDA and the Department of Defense are awarding Regeneron a $450 million contract to cover bulk delivery of the cocktail starting as early as late summer, with money added for fill/finish and storage activities.

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An­oth­er four biotechs scratch out the first num­ber and ask for more as IPO boom con­tin­ues

Four more biotechs are raising their offers in an already record year for biotech IPOs.

Softbank-backed Relay Therapeutics scratched out its original $200 million filing and proposed a $250 million raise that would make them a $1.5 billion company. CAR-T developer Poseida Therapeutics bumped itself up $74 million to $224 million. Off-the-shelf cell therapy startup Nkarta upped from $150 million to $215 million — and then priced even higher, at $252 million. France’s Inventiva did its own modest reset, raising its bar from $102 million to $108 million.

Top biotech an­a­lyst projects a gloomy out­look for Pfiz­er's JAK port­fo­lio

Many in the pharma world are hoping — better yet, expecting — JAK inhibitors to provide one of the next big boons for the industry. Few have invested as heavily in this area as Pfizer, which boasts a portfolio including Xeljanz and at least five mid-to-late stage candidates in the pipeline.

But a top Wall Street analyst is pumping the brakes on just how much good fortune is in store for the Big Pharma.

Oph­thalmic drugs, can­cer cell ther­a­pies at­tract $340M+ on two HKEX biotech de­buts

Nasdaq may be running the main biotech IPO show, but the Hong Kong stock exchange has some stellar performance on display even as the city confronts a third wave of Covid-19.

Ocumension Therapeutics and Immunotech Biopharm both traded up after making their public debuts on the HKEX’s busiest IPO day of the year so far, with seven stocks getting listed. The former raised close to $200 million while the latter took home $141 million.

Bob Goeltz bolts Uni­ty Biotech­nol­o­gy to be­come CFO at Ar­cus Bio­sciences; John John­son tapped for his lat­est CEO gig

→ A press release earlier in the week noted that Bob Goeltz left his CFO post at Unity Biotechnology “to pursue a new opportunity.” We now know what that opportunity is, joining Terry Rosen’s crew at Arcus Biosciences as the new CFO. A former executive director of corporate development at Amgen, Goeltz was the CFO for CytomX Therapeutics before making the move to anti-aging startup Unity in 2017.