CFO tran­si­tion on the hori­zon at BioN­Tech as Sierk Po­et­ting con­cen­trates on COO du­ties; Centes­sa rides a wave of new ex­ecs af­ter An­toine Yver's ap­point­ment

Jens Hol­stein

→ As its Covid-19 vac­cine with Pfiz­er con­tin­ues to in­oc­u­late mil­lions, BioN­Tech is chang­ing CFOs be­gin­ning Ju­ly 1 with Jens Hol­stein step­ping in­to the role pre­vi­ous­ly oc­cu­pied by Sierk Po­et­ting, who will di­rect his full at­ten­tion to his work as COO mov­ing for­ward. Hol­stein was CFO at Mor­phoSys from 2011-20 and held a num­ber of lead­er­ship roles with­in the Fre­se­nius uni­verse be­fore that time.

Sierk Po­et­ting

Po­et­ting has seen BioTech turn in­to a house­hold name since his tenure be­gan in 2014, and he’s been a cru­cial voice on the vac­cine dis­tri­b­u­tion ef­forts, in­di­cat­ing some weeks ago that BioN­Tech has held dis­cus­sions on ramp­ing up ca­pac­i­ty. “There is still room for im­prove­ment. But that will ul­ti­mate­ly al­so de­pend on de­mand,” Po­et­ting told Reuters in late April.

→ The week af­ter in­tro­duc­ing An­toine Yver as CMO, Centes­sa is flesh­ing out the team with a flur­ry of new ap­point­ments, start­ing with chief tech­nol­o­gy of­fi­cer Thomas Tem­ple­man. He comes to Centes­sa af­ter near­ly two years as Nu­va­tion Bio’s SVP, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal op­er­a­tions and qual­i­ty, and his pre­vi­ous two gigs at Ax­o­vant (SVP, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal op­er­a­tions and qual­i­ty as­sur­ance) and Gray­bug Vi­sion (COO) were brief stays. Chief qual­i­ty of­fi­cer Tia Bush em­barks on a new chap­ter af­ter a long ca­reer at Am­gen that start­ed in 1993, clos­ing it out as chief qual­i­ty of­fi­cer and SVP, glob­al qual­i­ty/en­vi­ron­ment, health, safe­ty and sus­tain­abil­i­ty.

Two more ex­ecs are help­ing to for­mu­late Centes­sa’s C-suite with David Chao as chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer and Marel­la Thorell as chief ac­count­ing of­fi­cer. In Kansas City, Chao was pres­i­dent and CEO of both Bio­Med Val­ley Dis­cov­er­ies — head­quar­tered near the Coun­try Club Plaza in the Amer­i­can Cen­tu­ry build­ing — and the Stow­ers In­sti­tute for Med­ical Re­search. Thorell scores a pro­mo­tion af­ter com­ing in Jan­u­ary as head of fi­nance, and she’s been CFO at Centes­sa sub­sidiary Pal­la­dio Bio­science and Realm Ther­a­peu­tics, where she was al­so COO.

For­mer­ly of Pfiz­er and Gal­der­ma, Car­ol Stuck­ley has been named to Centes­sa’s board of di­rec­tors and chairs the au­dit com­mit­tee.

An­dre Turenne

Voy­ager is be­ing left high and dry as its CEO and pres­i­dent An­dre Turenne is jump­ing ship, re­sign­ing to “pur­sue oth­er op­por­tu­ni­ties.” Turenne’s new gig will lead him to Eu­rope, but his de­par­ture leaves the com­pa­ny at a cross­roads as it de­cides to piv­ot back to dis­cov­ery-stage ef­forts af­ter a se­ries of set­backs. In ad­di­tion to Turenne’s de­par­ture, the com­pa­ny’s CMO and R&D chief Omar Khwa­ja al­so stepped down af­ter two years at the biotech. The board is search­ing for Turenne’s re­place­ment as chair­man Michael Hig­gins will take over as in­ter­im CEO. Glenn Pierce, a board mem­ber and en­tre­pre­neur-in-res­i­dence at Third Rock, will serve as CMO.

Maria Fardis

Io­vance just got doused with more cold wa­ter from the FDA for its tu­mor-in­fil­trat­ing lym­pho­cyte (TIL) ther­a­py li­fileu­cel af­ter the agency asked for more po­ten­cy as­say da­ta. With the BLA sub­mis­sion now slat­ed for 2022, CEO Maria Fardis won’t be the one do­ing the wait­ing. Sneak­ing Fardis’ ex­it in­to an SEC fil­ing, Io­vance now turns to gen­er­al coun­sel Fred­er­ick Vogt to be pres­i­dent and CEO in the in­ter­im. Fardis had helmed the com­pa­ny since 2016.

→ Plac­ing an em­pha­sis on the North Amer­i­can mar­ket, Mer­ck KGaA is shoring up that team with Chris Round as pres­i­dent of EMD Serono in charge of the North Amer­i­ca health­care busi­ness, along with An­drew Pa­ter­son as chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer. Round has, with apolo­gies to Joni Mitchell, looked through life from both Mer­cks — serv­ing as the Ger­man Mer­ck’s EVP, head of in­ter­na­tion­al op­er­a­tions & glob­al core fran­chis­es just be­fore this new as­sign­ment and hold­ing lead­er­ship po­si­tions such as gen­er­al man­ag­er of the on­col­o­gy and im­munol­o­gy fran­chise at the NJ-based Mer­ck. Pa­ter­son’s been with the phar­ma as SVP, glob­al busi­ness fran­chise neu­rol­o­gy & im­munol­o­gy, fol­lowed by a brief cup of cof­fee as pres­i­dent & head of glob­al in­no­v­a­tive med­i­cine fran­chis­es.

Ox­u­ri­on has pro­mot­ed Tom Graney to steer the helm of the com­pa­ny as CEO — tak­ing over for Pa­trik De Haes, who is mov­ing in­to the role of non-ex­ec­u­tive chair­man (suc­ceed­ing Thomas Clay). Graney joined the com­pa­ny in Oc­to­ber 2020 and served as CFO. Graney pre­vi­ous­ly was CFO of Gen­er­a­tion Bio, Ver­tex, Janssen, Ethicon and Ti­botec. In ad­di­tion, he was CFO and head of cor­po­rate strat­e­gy at Iron­wood Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

Tim Mayleben

→ Two of our sto­ries from this week col­lide as one with Lan­dos Bio­phar­ma — which an­nounced its part­ner­ship with Lian­Bio on Mon­day — re­serv­ing a spot for Tim Mayleben on the board of di­rec­tors. Mayleben de­cid­ed to step down as Es­pe­ri­on’s CEO on the same day the Lan­dos-Lian­Bio col­lab­o­ra­tion was re­vealed, leav­ing it to COO Shel­don Koenig to take con­trol as sales of Nexle­tol have lagged.

→ A cou­ple days ago, Per­cy Carter set­tled in­to his new role of chief sci­en­tist for Jeff Al­bers at Blue­print Med­i­cines. Carter, who had most re­cent­ly been CSO with Fi­bro­Gen, has Big Phar­ma cre­den­tials from 18 years at Bris­tol My­ers Squibb, where he was SVP and head of dis­cov­ery, among oth­er po­si­tions. He was al­so glob­al head of dis­cov­ery sci­ences for Janssen. With Ay­vak­it da­ta that “prob­a­bly ex­ceed­ed our ex­pec­ta­tions” for ad­vanced sys­temic mas­to­cy­to­sis in Sep­tem­ber, Blue­print is look­ing to out­shine No­var­tisRy­dapt in the in­di­ca­tion.

Robert Jacks

→ It’s a union of com­pa­ny name and chief ex­ec­u­tive that should be des­tined not to walk the plank: Or­biMed-backed Spar­row Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals pre­miered this week with $54 mil­lion in Se­ries A fi­nanc­ing, and Robert Jacks has tak­en the reins as pres­i­dent and CEO. A one-time en­tre­pre­neur-in-res­i­dence at Or­biMed, Jacks cut his teeth at Pfiz­er, spend­ing the tail end of his six-year run at the phar­ma gi­ant as di­rec­tor of world­wide busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. Jacks co-found­ed Sym­bio­mix Ther­a­peu­tics and from 2018-20, he helmed In­da­lo Ther­a­peu­tics.

Tim­o­thy Noyes

→ Af­ter his elec­tion to the board of di­rec­tors in April, Boston-based car­diopul­monary dis­ease biotech Aerovate has tapped Tim­o­thy Noyes as CEO. Noyes, who put his ca­reer in gear with com­mer­cial roles at Mer­ck in the 1990s, comes off a CEO stint with Ar­cu­ate Ther­a­peu­tics and held the con­trols at Pro­teon Ther­a­peu­tics for 13 years. Found­ed by Ben Dake, Aerovate emerged from stealth last Au­gust on a $72.6 mil­lion round to de­vel­op and run tri­als for pul­monary ar­te­r­i­al hy­per­ten­sion can­di­date AV-101.

Robert Doe­bele

→ Here comes the Rain again: Robert Doe­bele made the tran­si­tion from acad­e­mia at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Col­orado to be­com­ing the CSO at Rain Ther­a­peu­tics, which he co-found­ed with Avan­ish Vel­lan­ki and oc­cu­pies a place on the list of 2021’s nine-fig­ure IPOs. This week he can add pres­i­dent to his ti­tle, and Doe­bele’s pro­mo­tion is far from the on­ly one be­ing doled out at the on­col­o­gy biotech. Ef­fec­tive last Fri­day, four staffers have been el­e­vat­ed at Rain: Vi­jaya Tiruna­garu (SVP and head of re­search); Kol­bot By (SVP, tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions); Lu­cio Tozzi (SVP, clin­i­cal op­er­a­tions); and Nel­son Ca­bat­u­an (SVP, fi­nance & ad­min­is­tra­tion).

Deb­o­rah Kno­bel­man

→ San Fran­cis­co gene cir­cuit shop Sen­ti Bio has pro­mot­ed Curt Her­berts to COO and Philip Lee to chief tech­nol­o­gy of­fi­cer, while bring­ing in Deb­o­rah Kno­bel­man as CFO. Her­berts has been up and down the C-suite at Sen­ti Bio since his 2018 ar­rival, serv­ing as CBO and CFO af­ter he put an ex­cla­ma­tion point on his eight years at Sang­amo as CBO. He takes over for Lee, who left Mil­li­pore­Sig­ma in 2016 to help co-found Sen­ti Bio with MIT’s Tim Lu. Be­fore start­ing at Sen­ti Bio, which inked a $645 mil­lion pact with Spark a month ago, Kno­bel­man had a pre­vi­ous CFO post with Gener­i­Co Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and is ex-di­rec­tor, com­mer­cial strat­e­gy & an­a­lyt­ics for Pfiz­er’s pri­ma­ry care busi­ness.

Jessie Han­ra­han

Aa­van­tiBio is liv­ing rent-free in Peer Re­view as the staff grows, with chief reg­u­la­to­ry of­fi­cer Jessie Han­ra­han be­com­ing the fifth se­nior ex­ec in two months to make her home at the Cam­bridge, MA gene ther­a­py play­er. Like David David­son and Joanne Smith-Far­rell be­fore her, Han­ra­han is in the club of folks who have left blue­bird bio — as se­nior di­rec­tor and then VP of reg­u­la­to­ry sci­ence, she worked on sub­mit­ting the mar­ket­ing au­tho­riza­tion ap­pli­ca­tion for, and the ap­proval of, Zyn­te­glo. Since March, Aa­van­tiBio CEO Bo Cum­bo has hired CFO Dou­glas Swirsky, COO Ty How­ton, CMO Christo­pher Wright, and CTO Paul Herzich.

→ This be­ing PGA Cham­pi­onship week, Fore Bio­ther­a­peu­tics is aim­ing straight down the mid­dle of the fair­way with the ad­di­tions of Sta­cie Pea­cock Shep­herd as CMO and No­ra Bren­nan as CFO. Shep­herd, an Ab­bott and Ab­b­Vie vet, comes to the Philadel­phia on­col­o­gy play­er from QED Ther­a­peu­tics, spend­ing a year there as SVP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. Bren­nan has CFO cred­its from TELA Bio and Xeris Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. Last­ly at Fore, ex-Pro­teosta­sis Ther­a­peu­tics pres­i­dent and CEO Meenu Chhabra has jumped on to the board of di­rec­tors.

Dale Sander

Dale Sander is suc­ceed­ing Doug Blanken­ship as CFO of Lau­ra Nikla­son-led Hu­ma­cyte, which vault­ed on­to Nas­daq in Feb­ru­ary in a $255 mil­lion SPAC deal with Ra­jiv Shuk­la. Sander, a board mem­ber at Hu­ma­cyte since 2015, has al­so re­moved the “act­ing” la­bel from his role of chief cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer and will be Hu­ma­cyte’s trea­sur­er as well. Sander was most re­cent­ly CFO of an­oth­er North Car­oli­na com­pa­ny, Bryn Phar­ma.

→ With its sec­ond Peer Re­view ap­pear­ance in as many weeks, Log­icBio has pro­mot­ed Daniel Gruskin to CMO while nam­ing Stephen Boy­er VP of reg­u­la­to­ry and qual­i­ty af­fairs and Pe­ter Pechan VP of gene ther­a­py. Gruskin be­came Log­icBio’s SVP and head of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment nine months ago af­ter a run at Sanofi Gen­zyme that in­clud­ed get­ting bumped up to VP, head of glob­al med­ical af­fairs, rare dis­ease. Boy­er had worked for a strong line­up of big names — Bio­gen, Bris­tol My­ers, Boehringer In­gel­heim and Bay­er — be­fore his most re­cent gig as head of reg­u­la­to­ry at Boston Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. And Pechan, who brings gene ther­a­py ex­pe­ri­ence from Bio­gen and Sanofi Gen­zyme, had been se­nior di­rec­tor of R&D and head of vec­tor bi­ol­o­gy for Sol­id Bio­sciences.

De­bra Hus­sain

Eli Lil­ly alum De­bra Hus­sain has signed on as chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer for Aca­cia Phar­ma, which won two FDA ap­provals in 2020 — one for its in­tra­venous for­mu­la­tion of amisul­pride, and the oth­er for remi­ma­zo­lam. With Aca­cia’s US head­quar­ters in In­di­anapo­lis, Hus­sain stays in the Cross­roads of Amer­i­ca af­ter more than 20 years at Lil­ly that saw her rise to se­nior di­rec­tor of mar­ket­ing for the phar­ma gi­ant.

Gain­ing break­through ther­a­py des­ig­na­tion by the FDA in De­cem­ber for its ty­ro­sine ki­nase in­hibitor re­potrec­tinib to treat non-small cell lung can­cer, San Diego’s Turn­ing Point Ther­a­peu­tics has se­lect­ed Ku­mar Srini­vasan as CBO. Srini­vasan hails from As­traZeneca, where he con­clud­ed his nine years at the phar­ma gi­ant as VP and glob­al head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment for the bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal busi­ness unit.

Bradley Glover

→ Pla­cen­ta-based CAR-T biotech Celu­lar­i­ty (not to be con­fused with Flag­ship’s Cel­lar­i­ty) has en­list­ed Roche and Genen­tech vet Bradley Glover as chief tech­nol­o­gy of­fi­cer. Glover makes the switch to the NK de­vel­op­er af­ter four and a half years at Kite, serv­ing as VP, cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment, head of cor­po­rate strat­e­gy and op­er­a­tions be­fore join­ing Robert Hariri’s squad.

Ire­na Mel­niko­va

→ Fol­low­ing the ad­di­tion of CMO Nush­mia Khokhar last month, Seat­tle-based Umo­ja Bio­phar­ma has wel­comed Ire­na Mel­niko­va as CFO. Mel­niko­va, the ex-di­rec­tor of strat­e­gy and ex­ter­nal in­no­va­tion at Sanofi, was a man­ag­ing di­rec­tor in in­vest­ment bank­ing at SVB Leerink and just spent sev­en years there over­all be­fore mov­ing on to Umo­ja, a gene ther­a­py biotech us­ing its $53 mil­lion Se­ries A to de­vel­op its pipeline of in vi­vo CAR-T ther­a­pies.

→ Ger­man rare dis­ease biotech Cen­to­gene has pegged Michael Motz as chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals af­ter re­plac­ing CEO Arndt Rolfs with An­drin Os­wald in Oc­to­ber. With ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence a fo­cal point in Cen­to­gene’s drug dis­cov­ery ef­forts, Motz — a for­mer di­rec­tor of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment at Roche — has been head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment AI at MAB Dis­cov­ery and Zealand Phar­ma.

San­dra Ro­jas-Caro

San­dra Ro­jas-Caro will be CMO of Pitts­burgh’s NeuBase Ther­a­peu­tics start­ing Mon­day, the lat­est C-suite hire at the gene si­lenc­ing biotech af­ter COO William Mann and CSO Curt Brad­shaw jumped aboard in the last nine months. Ro­jas-Caro has for­mer­ly been CMO at Gem­i­ni Ther­a­peu­tics and Ae­glea Bio­Ther­a­peu­tics, both of which came af­ter her time in R&D at Synage­va and Alex­ion.

Tariq Ar­shad is tak­ing on the role of CMO at Carls­bad, CA-based can­cer and in­fec­tious dis­ease biotech Quali­gen Ther­a­peu­tics. Ar­shad has spent the last two years as glob­al head of med­ical af­fairs and clin­i­cal re­search at Bec­ton Dick­in­son, and pri­or to that he was Sanofi Gen­zyme’s head of med­ical af­fairs for the im­munol­o­gy fran­chise (Dupix­ent and Kevzara). Fur­ther­more, he has held lead­er­ship po­si­tions at Pfiz­er, Mer­ck and Genen­tech.

Cather­ine Ball

→ Just be­cause the FTC put the ki­bosh on Il­lu­mi­na’s $1.2 buy­out of Pa­cif­ic Bio­sciences doesn’t mean PacBio can’t dip in­to Il­lu­mi­na’s tal­ent pool. Kathy Lynch, PacBio’s new head of glob­al gov­ern­ment af­fairs and cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions, was Il­lu­mi­na’s VP of glob­al gov­ern­ment Af­fairs and pub­lic pol­i­cy; new chief ac­count­ing of­fi­cer Michele Farmer start­ed at Il­lu­mi­na in 2009 and was the se­quenc­ing com­pa­ny’s se­nior di­rec­tor of ac­count­ing. Else­where, Cather­ine Ball has joined PacBio as SVP of re­search af­ter nine years at An­ces­tryD­NA, five of them as CSO.

→ Alzheimer’s-fo­cused Cog­ni­to Ther­a­peu­tics has called up­on Ever­est Crosland to be chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer af­ter hold­ing the same po­si­tion at Ap­plied­VR. Fur­ther back, Crosland was VP of mar­ket ac­cess & re­im­burse­ment for Pear Ther­a­peu­tics and se­nior di­rec­tor, pric­ing and re­im­burse­ment strat­e­gy. Crosland’s ap­point­ment comes two weeks af­ter Cog­ni­to brought on Jonathan Lieber as CFO.

Vi­jay Kar­w­al

Vi­jay Kar­w­al has got­ten the nod to be CFO of Shang­hai-based Af­faMed Ther­a­peu­tics, zoom­ing in on oph­thalmic, neu­ro­log­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal dis­or­ders and com­pil­ing $170 mil­lion in a Se­ries B round. Kar­w­al was pre­vi­ous­ly No­mu­ra In­ter­na­tion­al’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and head of health­care in­vest­ment bank­ing for the Asia (ex-Japan) re­gion, and he’s al­so been a man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for CIMB and Roy­al Bank of Scot­land.

→ Can­cer-fo­cused Onc­ter­nal Ther­a­peu­tics out of San Diego has made No­var­tis and J&J vet Sal­im Yazji CMO. Yazji, who was VP & glob­al head of on­col­o­gy at Bax­ter for two years, co-found­ed and helmed im­muno-on­col­o­gy out­fit Aju­ta Ther­a­peu­tics be­fore mak­ing the jump to Onc­ter­nal. He’s al­so the ex-CMO of PMV Phar­ma.

Gopi Shanker

Tevard Bio­sciences is adding a new face to its lead­er­ship team with the ap­point­ment of Gopi Shanker as CSO. Shanker hops aboard from the NI­BR, where he most re­cent­ly served as head of neu­ro­science. Pri­or to that, worked on ad­vanc­ing drugs like Aimovig to ap­proval at No­var­tis and had stints at Am­gen and Re­gen­eron.

Au­los Bio­science has brought on Leo Red­mond as CFO. Red­mond re­cent­ly served as CFO of Al­lakos and pre­vi­ous­ly served at Pre­sidio Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Genen­tech.

Qi Wei

→ Los An­ge­les-based Ap­pia Bio — fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing en­gi­neered al­lo­gene­ic cell ther­a­pies from hematopoi­et­ic stem cells for can­cer pa­tients — has reeled in Qi Wei as SVP and head of tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions. Wei makes the leap from Gene­cep­tion Ther­a­peu­tics, which he co-found­ed as an ex­ec­u­tive-in-res­i­dence at F-Prime Cap­i­tal. In ad­di­tion to that, Wei brings in a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence from his times at No­var­tis, Kite, Eli Lil­ly and TCR2 Ther­a­peu­tics.

→ Life sci­ences VC For­bion has named Jasper Bos as gen­er­al part­ner. Bos was for­mer­ly SVP and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at M Ven­tures, the ven­ture arm of Mer­ck.

→ Prince­ton, NJ-based biosim­u­la­tion soft­ware com­pa­ny Cer­tara, a late en­try in the Great IPO Gold Rush of 2020, has put to­geth­er a quar­tet of moves and wel­comed the fol­low­ing: Matt Zier­hut (VP, mod­el-based meta-analy­sis); James Dun­yak (se­nior di­rec­tor, bio­sta­tis­tics and da­ta pro­gram­ming); Su­san Potts (se­nior di­rec­tor, bio­sta­tis­tics and da­ta pro­gram­ming); and Josh Xie (di­rec­tor, clin­i­cal phar­ma­col­o­gy and trans­la­tion­al med­i­cine).

Zier­hut spent his last five years with Janssen as di­rec­tor of quan­ti­ta­tive sci­ences, while Dun­yak is a No­var­tis vet who was pre­vi­ous­ly As­traZeneca’s se­nior di­rec­tor of clin­i­cal phar­ma­co­met­rics. Potts has worked in bio­sta­tis­tics at Rea­ta, En­do Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and most re­cent­ly, Ae­glea Bio­Ther­a­peu­tics. Fi­nal­ly, Xie — whose work will be cen­tered around part­ner­ships with com­pa­nies in Chi­na and oth­er multi­na­tion­als — has held posts at Pfiz­er and the FDA.

On­coSec has re­cruit­ed Robert Schi­nagl as VP of pro­gram and al­liance man­age­ment. Schi­nagl joins the com­pa­ny from Prothex Phar­ma, where he was COO. Pri­or to Prothex, Schi­nagl served at Drais Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Eli Lil­ly, Im­Clone Sys­tems and Osiris Ther­a­peu­tics, among oth­ers.

Manuel Hi­dal­go Med­i­na

→ Bris­tol My­ers has made room for Manuel Hi­dal­go Med­i­na on its board of di­rec­tors, ef­fec­tive June 1. Med­i­na, chief of hema­tol­ogy and med­ical on­col­o­gy at Weill Cor­nell Med­i­cine and New York-Pres­by­ter­ian/Weill Cor­nell Med­ical Cen­ter, will be the 11th mem­ber of a board chaired by CEO Gio­van­ni Caforio.

Notch­ing an up­sized IPO in March, IBD-fo­cused Prometheus Bio­sciences has made Fred Has­san a part of its board of di­rec­tors. Has­san, the ex-chair­man and CEO of Scher­ing-Plough and a board mem­ber at Am­gen since 2015, is di­rec­tor at War­burg Pin­cus.

Re­lay Ther­a­peu­tics pres­i­dent and CEO San­jiv Pa­tel is mak­ing the leap on­to the board of di­rec­tors of Prothena. Pri­or to his gig at Re­lay, Pa­tel served in a va­ri­ety of roles at Al­ler­gan such as EVP, chief strat­e­gy of­fi­cer and cor­po­rate vice pres­i­dent, glob­al strate­gic mar­ket­ing and glob­al health out­comes.

Roger Dansey

Seagen CMO Roger Dansey has been elect­ed to In­ovio’s board of di­rec­tors a month af­ter the De­part­ment of De­fense put a lid on fund­ing the Phase III tri­al of the biotech’s Covid-19 vac­cine. Dansey has been an on­col­o­gy ex­ec at Mer­ck, Gilead and Am­gen.

Jean-Pierre Som­ma­dos­si has brought on Jerome Adams to be part of Atea Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals’ board of di­rec­tors. Adams was Sur­geon Gen­er­al dur­ing Pres­i­dent Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion and a mem­ber of the Covid-19 Task Force.

Crit­i­cal Path In­sti­tute has ap­point­ed Robert Califf to its board of di­rec­tors. Califf is the head of clin­i­cal pol­i­cy and strat­e­gy for Al­pha­bet’s Ver­i­ly Life Sci­ences and Google Health di­vi­sions. Califf for­mer­ly serves as FDA com­mis­sion­er un­der Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s ad­min­is­tra­tion from 2016-2017.

Emi­ly Pe­ter­son Al­va

Alk­er­mes has a new board mem­ber in Emi­ly Pe­ter­son Al­va, gain­ing El­liott Ad­vi­sors’ seal of ap­proval af­ter CEO Richard Pops un­veiled a val­ue en­hance­ment plan to re­ju­ve­nate the com­pa­ny. Al­va de­vot­ed more than 15 years to Lazard as an in­vest­ment banker, is on the board at Am­neal Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, and is a found­ing mem­ber/cor­po­rate board part­ner with the Nas­daq Cen­ter for Board Ex­cel­lence.

→ Three’s a crowd as Ar­a­vive makes a trio of ap­point­ments to its board of di­rec­tors. John Hohnek­er, Sig­urd Kirk and Pe­ter Ho are the new­ly-mint­ed mem­bers of the team. Hohnek­er, the ex-CEO of Anokion (now led by Deb­o­rah Ger­aghty), cur­rent­ly serves on the boards of Evelo Bio­sciences and Tr­ishu­la Ther­a­peu­tics. Kirk comes from Al­ler­gan, where he served as EVP, cor­po­rate busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. Mean­while, Ho has served in roles at GSK, Epizyme, BeiGene and Boston Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

El­liott Levy

Flag­ship epi­ge­net­ic pro­gram­ming start­up Omega Ther­a­peu­tics has waved in El­liott Levy as a mem­ber of the board of di­rec­tors. Levy, who just de­part­ed Am­gen and was SVP of glob­al de­vel­op­ment, is the one-time VP and head of spe­cial­ty de­vel­op­ment for Bris­tol My­ers.

Shore­line Bio­sciences has wel­comed Kim­ber­ly Man­hard to its board of di­rec­tors. Man­hard cur­rent­ly serves as EVP, drug de­vel­op­ment and di­rec­tor of Heron Ther­a­peu­tics. Pri­or to that, Man­hard had stints at Ardea Bio­sciences, Ex­elix­is, Agouron Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, BMS and Eli Lil­ly.

→ New York-based El­e­va­tion On­col­o­gy has giv­en a seat to long­time Ar­ray Bio­Phar­ma CFO Michael Car­ruthers on the board of di­rec­tors. Car­ruthers be­came a CFO again at Edge­wise Ther­a­peu­tics back in Oc­to­ber.

Katy Rez­vani

→ CRISPR genome edit­ing play­er Cari­bou Bio­sciences has pulled in Katy Rez­vani and Christo­pher Stur­geon to its sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board. Rez­vani is a pro­fes­sor of stem cell trans­plan­ta­tion and cell ther­a­py at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas MD An­der­son Can­cer Cen­ter while Stur­geon is an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at the Ic­ahn School of Med­i­cine at Mount Sinai.

Shut­tle Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has added Chris Senanayake to its board of di­rec­tors. Senanayake brings with him his ex­pe­ri­ence from TCG Life­sciences, Mer­ck, Boehringer In­gel­heim and As­ta GreenChem, among oth­ers.

→ A char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tion that looks to pro­vide life­time sup­plies of an­ti­sense oligonu­cleotide ther­a­pies to pa­tients for free, n-Lorem Foun­da­tion has en­list­ed Frank Sasi­nows­ki to its board of di­rec­tors. Sasi­nows­ki comes aboard with ex­pe­ri­ence from his stint as a reg­u­la­to­ry coun­sel for the FDA. Sasi­nows­ki is cur­rent­ly a di­rec­tor of Hy­man, Phelps & Mc­Na­ma­ra and an ad­junct pro­fes­sor of neu­rol­o­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Rochester School of Med­i­cine.

In­side Track: Be­hind the Scenes of a Ma­jor Biotech SPAC

Dr. David Hung and Michelle Doig are no strangers to the SPAC phenomenon. As Founder and CEO of Nuvation Bio, a biotech company tackling some of the greatest unmet needs in oncology, Dr. Hung recently took the company public in one of this year’s biggest SPAC related deals. And as Partner at Omega Funds, Doig not only led and syndicated Nuvation Bio’s Series A, but is now also President of the newly formed, Omega-sponsored, Omega Alpha SPAC (Nasdaq: OMEG; oversubscribed $138m IPO priced January 6, 2021).

Janet Woodcock, acting FDA commissioner (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

New Alzheimer's drug ap­proval fall­out: Pub­lic Cit­i­zen seeks re­moval of FDA's Wood­cock, Cavaz­zoni and Dunn

As Capitol Hill begins to wake up to the financial and scientific mess behind the FDA’s approval of Biogen’s new controversial Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, nonprofit watchdog Public Citizen is now calling for the top three FDA officials who are responsible to be removed from their positions.

In a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra on Wednesday, the group highlighted the “litany of flaws” in the FDA’s approval of the new drug, including the “unprecedented, inappropriately close” collaboration between the FDA and Biogen in the analysis of key trial data, basing approval on an unvalidated surrogate endpoint, not following the advice of its expert advisory committee (3 members of which have since resigned), and the wide label that the agency granted.

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Aus­tralian spin­out eyes the clin­ic with a pro­phy­lac­tic nasal spray for Covid-19

Whether patients are immunocompromised or just don’t like needles, one fledgling Australian biotech says it has an alternative to Covid-19 vaccines that doesn’t involve a jab in the arm — and on Tuesday, it pulled in a fresh round of funding to take it into the clinic.

ENA Respiratory, which spun out of ENA Therapeutics last year, has pulled in nearly $24.7 million (AU $30 million) to advance its nasal spray for respiratory viral infections, the company said Tuesday.

Someit Sidhu, JATT

An­oth­er life sci­ences SPAC has popped up from a small biotech CEO with the help of Take­da, No­var­tis vet­er­ans

Editor’s note: Interested in following biopharma’s fast-paced IPO market? You can bookmark our IPO Tracker here.

The SPAC train has slowed down since the extraordinarily high levels from late 2020 into early this year, but Tuesday saw the filing of a new blank-check company targeting the life sciences industry.

Jatt Acquisition submitted its SEC paperwork Tuesday, penciling in an estimated raise of $120 million as it sets its sights on a reverse merger partner. The SPAC is run by Someit Sidhu, a co-founder of Pathios Therapeutics, as well as CEO of Akaza Bioscience and Izana Bioscience. Sidhu will control about 97% of the blank-check company’s shares, per the S-1.

In a first, Re­gen­eron's an­ti­body cock­tail re­duces deaths for a sub­group of hos­pi­tal­ized Covid-19 pa­tients

Scientists have come up with the first evidence that Regeneron’s antibody cocktail, which has so far only been authorized for the outpatient setting, may reduce deaths of hospitalized Covid-19 patients — albeit only a subset.

The combination of casirivimab and imdevimab is the subject of the latest data cut from RECOVERY, the large-scale UK-based trial testing a variety of potential treatments. In total, 9,785 patients hospitalized with Covid-19 were enrolled in this arm of the study and were randomly assigned to receive either usual care plus the intravenous combo or usual care alone.

Barry Greene, Sage CEO

UP­DAT­ED: Sage's sec­ond chance at de­pres­sion hits the PhI­II pri­ma­ry, but ques­tions re­main over dura­bil­i­ty, side ef­fects

Looking to make a comeback after a big Phase III flop, Sage Therapeutics revealed data they believe could change the entire depression treatment landscape, given the vast array of failures in the field. But some results are spooking investors, sending Sage $SAGE shares down early Tuesday.

First, the primary: Sage and Biogen reported Phase III data for once-daily zuranolone Tuesday morning, saying the experimental drug hit its primary endpoint by spurring a statistically significant change from baseline in the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression total score. After 15 days, patients in the drug arm saw an average change of -14.1 points, compared to -12.3 on placebo.

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Bio­gen sig­nals a big PhI­II fail­ure as the lead gene ther­a­py in their $800M Night­star buy­out goes down in flames

That $800 million buyout of Nightstar has turned into a bust for Biogen as the lead therapy in the deal failed a pivotal study, signaling a severe setback for the biotech’s ambitions in gene therapies.

The big biotech put out the word after the market closed on Monday that the gene therapy they picked up in the deal for a degenerative blindness called choroideremia failed the Phase III study, just a month after their #2 drug in the deal also flopped in a mid-stage study.

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CEO Harith Rajagopalan (Fractyl)

Af­ter a decade in the type 2 di­a­betes game, Fractyl Lab­o­ra­to­ries recharges with a fresh $100M and a new name

Harith Rajagopalan compared the way type 2 diabetes is managed to sticking your fingers in a dam that’s leaking from a number of places.

You can take drugs to lower your blood sugar, cholesterol, or blood pressure, but you’re not addressing what he says is the core issue — the metabolic abnormality that causes the disease.

“We’re so busy plugging the holes in the dam, we don’t have time to see that the whole infrastructure is at risk,” he said. “That infrastructure is a full-body systemic metabolic abnormality called metabolic syndrome, that we’re ignoring while we’re so busy trying to treat all of the individual symptoms of the condition.”

Michel Sade­lain puts his name and new cell en­gi­neer­ing tech be­hind 'ag­nos­tic' CAR-T start­up chas­ing epi­ge­net­ic anti­gens

It felt natural for Alain Maiore and Sebastian Amigorena to bring in Michel Sadelain as a co-founder of Mnemo Therapeutics. A CAR-T pioneer, Sadelain had been involved as an advisor since the early days — enthusiastic about Amigorena’s work in a genetic knockout that could enhance T cell memory and a new class of potential targets he’s discovered — and could introduce some well-known technologies to the toolbox. So they got the initial cash from Sofinnova Partners to plant roots in Paris and New York in early 2019; within a few months, they began to see more clearly just what the antigen discovery platform might unlock.

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