Biogen exec Paul McKenzie heads to CSL as COO; Pulmatrix CEO resigns
→ After Biogen’s recent catastrophe with aducanumab, Paul McKenzie, the company’s EVP for pharmaceutical operations and technology (and member of its executive committee), jumped ship. He’s now heading to the Australia-based giant CSL as its COO. His new job entails managing CSL’s global supply chain. McKenzie’s last day is May 29.
→ French biopharmaceutical firm DBV Technologies announced on Tuesday the departure of its deputy CEO and principal financial officer, David Schilansky. Schilansky will remain with the company through August 2019. While a search is underway for a new CFO the role of deputy CEO will not be filled after Schilansky’s departure. Shilansky has been with the allergy specialist since 2011, at one point serving as COO.
→ Pulmatrix CEO Robert Clarke stepped down from his position on Thursday and will be immediately succeeded by current CBO Ted Raad. Clarke will stay with the dry powder inhaler developer as an advisor until August 14, 2019. Clarke was appointed CEO in 2012.
Clarke said, “After fifteen years at Pulmatrix growing with the organization from Head of R&D to CSO and ultimately to CEO, I’ve had the opportunity to see every aspect of the company’s business. With the Pulmazole program partnered with Cipla Technologies, and a strong balance sheet for future development, I believe that the business is now heading into a promising phase of its evolution under Ted’s capable leadership.”
→ Michael Cavanaugh will step up as interim CEO for Vitality Biopharma and current controller and counsel of the company, Richard McKilligan, will be promoted to CFO and counsel. Cavanaugh will step in to replace CEO and director Robert Brooke, who co-founded the company to pursue cannabinoid prodrugs.
→ Amunix is further expanding its executive team with the appointment of Mika Derynck as CMO, Darcy Mootz as CBO and Yvonne Li as SVP of finance. Earlier this year, Amunix appointed Angie You as CEO and brought on Frazier Life Sciences as a majority shareholder to fund and direct discovery of novel protein therapeutics on its tech platform.
The new hires “bring a wealth of skills and experiences that will help accelerate the growth of the company,” said You “Their recruitment speaks to the promise of our Pro-XTEN platform in addressing the key challenge of on-target, off-tumor toxicity with T-cell engagers and cytokines.”
→ Everest Medicines welcomed Wende Chen as chief commercial officer of the company. Chen will also serve as an operating partner for Everest’s founding investor, CBC Group, formerly known as C-Bridge Capital. He is tasked with devising strategies for Everest’s portfolio of drugs, in-licensed from global partners and targeted to Asian markets. Previously, Chen served as vice president of corporate affairs, market access and channel management at Roche Pharma China.
→ Six months after wooing Caroline Loew from Bristol-Myers Squibb to the helm, Glympse Bio has recruited another Big Pharma vet to its quest for disease-monitoring sensors. New CSO Wendy Winckler joins from the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, where she directed next-gen diagnostics projects. Spun out of Sangeeta Bhatia’s lab at MIT and backed by Arch as well as Polaris, Glympse Bio is getting ready to enter the clinic with its tech, which both detects diseases (like NASH and cancer) and monitor patients’ response to drugs.
→ Leaving behind a 17-year career at DuPont, William Feehery is the new CEO of Certara, a provider of model-informed drug development, regulatory science, real-world evidence and market access services. He replaces Edmundo Muniz, who was credited for casting a global vision over the past five years that Feehery will see to fruition.
→ Beam Therapeutics made several leadership appointments to strengthen its management team. The gene editing biotech says that Christine Bellon has joined as senior vice president and chief legal officer; Susan O’Connor has joined as chief human resources officer; and Suzanne Fleming has joined as senior vice president, finance. In addition, the company announced that Courtney Wallace has been promoted to senior vice president and head of business development and strategy.
→ Tetra Natural Health, a subsidiary of Tetra Bio-Pharma, said that it had appointed several individuals to its new board of directors. Andre Rancourt will become chairman, while Greg Drohan, Guy Chamberland and Richard Giguère also joined the board effective Wednesday. The company also announced the appointment of Chris MacLean as COO, who is also COO of Panag Pharma and will continue to hold the position.
→ On Tuesday, Tetra Bio-Pharma announced the retirement of its CFO Bernard Lessard and posted the appointment of Sabino Di Paola as his replacement, which became effective Wednesday.
→ Bijan Nejadnik is heading to SanBio as CMO of the company, tasked with leading regulatory affairs for its regenerative medicines by leveraging his vast experience accrued over a long career spanning J&J, Jazz Pharma, Galena Biopharma and Eureka Therapeutics. Damien Bates, who until Wednesday served as CMO of the company, will continue to be with the company and instead, hold the position of senior advisor.
Accepting the position of CMO, Nejadnik commented, “I have been involved in the development of many new pharmaceutical drugs with a view to meeting unmet medical needs that lack effective treatment. SanBio is a pioneer in drug development for patients suffering central nervous system disorders. I understand that the development of SB623 has already come close to the stage of product launch in Japan; taking advantage of my past experiences, I will do my best to bring SB623 to patients worldwide as soon as possible.”
→ Christopher Heery stepped up as the new CMO of Precision Biosciences. Previously, Heery served as CMO at Bavarian Nordic. Chief development officer, David Thomson, commented, “Chris brings a highly unique and sought-after skill set to Precision BioSciences. He has been a translational clinical trialist at one of the world’s preeminent research institutions, NCI, where his first-in-human immunotherapy clinical trials included a Phase I study of an anti-PD-L1 treatment (avelumab) that is now approved for use in the United States. Chris’s most recent experience as Chief Medical Officer at Bavarian Nordic has given him a strong understanding of regulatory requirements, clinical trial oversight, and leadership that will allow him to play a key role in helping Precision BioSciences build a successful clinical organization.”
→ Having recently wrapped up a Phase I study for its neuroprotection drug, Barcelona’s Bionure is stepping up its clinical game with a new leader. As CMO, Lucia Septien will help finalize and execute Phase II plans for BN201, a potential treatment for acute optic neuritis and multiple sclerosis. Septien jumps from DBV Technologies, where she held the same role following previous stints at Pfizer, GSK and Ipsen.
→ Geron is continuing to build its development team by adding two new senior leadership appointments. Ying Wan was announced as vice president, biometrics, while Patrick Murphy was announced as vice president, manufacturing. Both positions will support the company’s late-stage clinical development, which includes the “planned opening of the Phase III clinical trial of imetelstat in lower risk myelodysplastic syndromes for screening and enrollment by mid-year 2019.”
→ Geocann announced the appointment of Anthony Petraglia as CMO of the company as well as chairman of the scientific and medical advisory board. Petraglia is a neurosurgeon at Rochester Regional Health and serves as the executive director of the hospital’s concussion program. In his new role, Petraglia will work closely with the company’s global partner technology exchange, including Zurich, Switzerland-based Vesifact AG, as well as the organization’s scientific and medical advisory board comprised of physicians, nurses and product formulators.
Amber Tong contributed reporting