Bris­tol-My­ers vet Car­o­line Loew heads up Glympse Bio; Kalei­do nabs GSK's CMO Katharine Kno­bil

Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb vet Car­o­line Loew has trad­ed an R&D strat­e­gy and plan­ning role for the top job at Glympse Bio. Af­ter a 20-year ca­reer in drug de­vel­op­ment, with stints at Mer­ck and PhRMA, Loew will now lead the Arch-backed start­up in ad­vanc­ing its in vi­vo dis­ease-mon­i­tor­ing ac­tiv­i­ty sen­sors.  

Katharine Kno­bil

Kalei­do Bio­sciences has scooped Katharine Kno­bil from Glax­o­SmithK­line to be­come its CMO and head up R&D. Found­ed by Flag­ship Pi­o­neer­ing in 2015 and boost­ed by a $101 mil­lion mega-round this year, the biotech is de­vel­op­ing a pipeline of mi­cro­bio­me-based ther­a­pies that Kno­bil is tasked with steer­ing in­to Phase II in 2019.

Thomas Can­nell has brought fel­low phar­ma vet Den­nis Kim to his team at Sesen Bio as he steers the new­ly re­named com­pa­ny through a Phase III tri­al for the blad­der can­cer treat­ment Vicini­um (VB4-845). Be­tween Ipsen, Spec­trum, No­var­tis, Bio­gen and Am­gen, the new CMO has been in­volved in the ap­proval and com­mer­cial­iza­tion of more than 10 prod­ucts in on­col­o­gy and im­munol­o­gy, the com­pa­ny says.

→ Gene ther­a­py de­vel­op­er Pre­vail Ther­a­peu­tics is shak­ing up its C-suite for the new year. Brett Ka­plan, a man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Ever­core, is join­ing as CFO while Cel­gene vet Emi­ly Minkow gets a pro­mo­tion to chief busi­ness of­fi­cer from EVP of BD and strat­e­gy.

→ As Eiger Bio­Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals $EIGR ral­lies for a po­ten­tial piv­ot in­to com­mer­cial stage, it’s re­cruit­ed sea­soned fi­nan­cial ex­ec Sri Ryali to its lead­er­ship. Most re­cent­ly at Aim­mune, where he helped lead an IPO, Ryali’s pre­vi­ous work ex­pe­ri­ence spans Jazz, Onyx and Am­gen. He re­places James Welch as CFO.

→ In con­junc­tion with an or­ga­ni­za­tion­al over­haul that in­volves cut­ting a quar­ter of its staff, MiMedx is al­so re­struc­tur­ing its C-suite. Chris Cash­man is out as the strug­gling biotech elim­i­nates the chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer post that he oc­cu­pied. And then there’s the string of pro­mo­tions: Mark Landy to chief strat­e­gy of­fi­cer, David Ma­son to chief med­ical of­fi­cer (re­plac­ing Don­ald Fer­rerolf, who’s re­tir­ing); and John Har­ris to SVP, mar­ket­ing and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment.

→ On the heels of its first pos­i­tive da­ta read­out in months, Lund­beck an­nounced An­ders Gersel Ped­er­sen is re­tir­ing from his role as head of R&D af­ter 19 years with the com­pa­ny.

Thomas Wes­sel

→ Build­ing on decades of ex­pe­ri­ence in neu­ro­log­i­cal drug de­vel­op­ment — fea­tur­ing CMO stints at Acor­da and Flex Phar­maThomas Wes­sel has tak­en up a new chal­lenge to lead Swiss biotech As­ceneu­ron’s ex­pan­sion in­to the US as its CMO. He will over­see reg­u­la­to­ry and clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment for de­men­tia treat­ment ASN120290 from the com­pa­ny’s new of­fices in Cam­bridge, MA.

→ On the verge of start­ing Phase III tri­als for reza­fun­gin, Cidara Ther­a­peu­tics $CDTX has tapped for­mer Gold­man Sachs man­ag­ing di­rec­tor James Levine as CFO. Al­so join­ing the com­pa­ny: Jes­si­ca Oien, gen­er­al coun­sel and sec­re­tary.

→ Af­ter 30 years launch­ing and mar­ket­ing drugs for the likes of Cel­gene, J&J and Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb, Mark Kre­ston is tak­ing his com­mer­cial chops Knopp Bio­sciences. As chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer, he is tasked with de­vis­ing a glob­al strat­e­gy for the com­pa­ny’s treat­ments for in­flam­ma­to­ry and neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­eases, some of which are poised for Phase II and III stud­ies.

→ Two ex­ecs on Cel­gene’s CAR-T team have jumped to Omeros. Daniel Kir­by has been named VP and head of com­mer­cial, while Justin Mc­Cue will be­come VP of chem­istry, man­u­fac­tur­ing and con­trols, with re­spon­si­bil­i­ties over all of Omeros’ pro­grams rang­ing from eye ther­a­py to blood clot treat­ment.

→ Eye­ing an en­try in­to the clin­ic next year, Re­lay Ther­a­peu­tics has hired Mary Mad­er from Eli Lil­ly to be VP of chem­istry and Ve­rastem’s Ma­hesh Pad­val as SVP of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal drug de­vel­op­ment.

William West­lin is the new EVP of R&D at eGe­n­e­sis, lead­ing the xeno­trans­plan­ta­tion re­search and prod­uct de­vel­op­ment work for the George Church spin­out. He pre­vi­ous­ly held sim­i­lar roles at Nim­bus Ther­a­peu­tics and Avi­la Ther­a­peu­tics, but har­vest­ing an­i­mal or­gans for hu­man use will be a new field for him.

Norbert Bischofberger. Kronos

Backed by some of the biggest names in biotech, Nor­bert Bischof­berg­er gets his megaround for plat­form tech out of MIT

A little over a year ago when I reported on Norbert Bischofberger’s jump from the CSO job at giant Gilead to a tiny upstart called Kronos, I noted that with his connections in biotech finance, that $18 million launch round he was starting off with could just as easily have been $100 million or more.

With his first anniversary now behind him, Bischofberger has that mega-round in the bank.

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Francesco De Rubertis

Medicxi is rolling out its biggest fund ever to back Eu­rope's top 'sci­en­tists with strange ideas'

Francesco De Rubertis built Medicxi to be the kind of biotech venture player he would have liked to have known back when he was a full time scientist.

“When I was a scientist 20 years ago I would have loved Medicxi,’ the co-founder tells me. It’s the kind of place run by and for investigators, what the Medicxi partner calls “scientists with strange ideas — a platform for the drug hunter and scientific entrepreneur. That’s what I wanted when I was a scientist.”

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Chas­ing Roche's ag­ing block­buster fran­chise, Am­gen/Al­ler­gan roll out Avastin, Her­ceptin knock­offs at dis­count

Let the long battle for biosimilars in the cancer space begin.

Amgen has launched its Avastin and Herceptin copycats — licensed from the predecessors of Allergan — almost two years after the FDA had stamped its approval on Mvasi (bevacizumab-awwb) and three months after the Kanjinti OK (trastuzumab-anns). While the biotech had been fielding biosimilars in Europe, this marks their first foray in the US — and the first oncology biosimilars in the country.

Seer adds ex-FDA chief Mark Mc­Clel­lan to the board; Her­cules Cap­i­tal makes it of­fi­cial for new CEO Scott Bluestein

→ On the same day it announced a $17.5 million Series C, life sciences and health data company Seer unveiled that it had lured former FDA commissioner and ex-CMS administrator Mark McClellan on to its board. “Mark’s deep understanding of the health care ecosystem and visionary insights on policy reform will be crucial in informing our thinking as we work to bring our liquid biopsy and life sciences products to market,” said Seer chief and founder Omid Farokhzad in a statement.

Daniel O'Day

No­var­tis hands off 3 pre­clin­i­cal pro­grams to the an­tivi­ral R&D mas­ters at Gilead

Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day’s new task hunting up a CSO for the company isn’t stopping the industry’s dominant antiviral player from doing pipeline deals.

The big biotech today snapped up 3 preclinical antiviral programs from pharma giant Novartis, with drugs promising to treat human rhinovirus, influenza and herpes viruses. We don’t know what the upfront is, but the back end has $291 million in milestones baked in.

Vas Narasimhan, AP Images

On a hot streak, No­var­tis ex­ecs run the odds on their two most im­por­tant PhI­II read­outs. Which is 0.01% more like­ly to suc­ceed?

Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan is living in the sweet spot right now.

The numbers are running a bit better than expected, the pipeline — which he assembled as development chief — is performing and the stock popped more than 4% on Thursday as the executive team ran through their assessment of Q2 performance.

Year-to-date the stock is up 28%, so the investors will be beaming. Anyone looking for chinks in their armor — and there are plenty giving it a shot — right now focus on payer acceptance of their $2.1 million gene therapy Zolgensma, where it’s early days. And CAR-T continues to underperform, but Novartis doesn’t appear to be suffering from it.

So what could go wrong?

Actually, not much. But Tim Anderson at Wolfe pressed Narasimhan and his development chief John Tsai to pick which of two looming Phase III readouts with blockbuster implication had the better odds of success.

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Af­ter a decade, Vi­iV CSO John Pot­tage says it's time to step down — and he's hand­ing the job to long­time col­league Kim Smith

ViiV Healthcare has always been something unique in the global drug industry.

Owned by GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer — with GSK in the lead as majority owner — it was created 10 years ago in a time of deep turmoil for the field as something independent of the pharma giants, but with access to lots of infrastructural support on demand. While R&D at the mother ship inside GSK was souring, a razor-focused ViiV provided a rare bright spot, challenging Gilead on a lucrative front in delivering new combinations that require fewer therapies with a more easily tolerated regimen.

They kept a massive number of people alive who would otherwise have been facing a death sentence. And they made money.

And throughout, John Pottage has been the chief scientific and chief medical officer.

Until now.

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On a glob­al romp, Boehringer BD team picks up its third R&D al­liance for Ju­ly — this time fo­cused on IPF with $50M up­front

Boehringer Ingelheim’s BD team is on a global deal spree. The German pharma company just wrapped its third deal in 3 weeks, going back to Korea for its latest pipeline pact — this time focused on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

They’re handing over $50 million to get their hands on BBT-877, an ATX inhibitor from Korea’s Bridge Biotherapeutics that was on display at a science conference in Dallas recently. There’s not a whole lot of data to evaluate the prospects here.

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Servi­er scoots out of an­oth­er col­lab­o­ra­tion with Macro­Gen­ics, writ­ing off their $40M

Servier is walking out on a partnership with MacroGenics $MGNX — for the second time.

After the market closed on Wednesday MacroGenics put out word that Servier is severing a deal — inked close to 7 years ago — to collaborate on the development of flotetuzumab and other Dual-Affinity Re-Targeting (DART) drugs in its pipeline.

MacroGenics CEO Scott Koenig shrugged off the departure of Servier, which paid $20 million to kick off the alliance and $20 million to option flotetuzumab — putting a heavily back-ended $1 billion-plus in additional biobuck money on the table for the anti-CD123/CD3 bispecific and its companion therapies.