Peer review

Two Au­rinia ex­ecs are out — and CRISPR’s op­er­a­tions chief is­n't far be­hind; Bio­gen MS leader jumps to Eli Lil­ly part­ner

According to an SEC filing, Aurinia’s EVP of research Robert Huizinga and CMO Neil Solomons are both walking away by Halloween, and while no explanations are given, details of their severance packages were provided. Huizinga had spent the last nine years at Aurinia after the Isotechnika merger: first as VP, clinical affairs, then as EVP, corporate development before his latest promotion in 2020. Solomons co-founded Aurinia a decade ago and used to be VP of R&D with Vifor Pharma. The Peter Greenleaf-led Aurinia just launched its “Get Uncomfortable” ad campaign, urging lupus nephritis patients to schedule checkups with their doctor.

For­mer Al­ler­gan ex­ec heads to Re­vance as it chal­lenges Botox; Mark Pruzan­s­ki sur­rounds him­self with more team­mates

Revance feels like it has a competitive advantage over AbbVie’s blockbuster Botox with only biannual injections of its freshly approved Daxxify, as opposed to the injections every three or four months that Botox requires. But you come at the king, you best not miss, and as Daxxify hits the market, Revance has now tapped David Hollander as CMO. Hollander was previously the chief R&D officer at Aerie Pharmaceuticals, which was sold to Alcon a couple months ago in a $770 million deal, and he has familiarity with the Botox developer through his 10 years at Allergan. From 2011-16, he was Allergan’s VP, global therapeutic area head in clinical development for anterior segment and consumer eye care. The Nashville biotech is also testing DaxibotulinumtoxinA in patients with cervical dystonia, among other conditions.

'Been through a lot': New Pas­sage Bio CEO talks about 'ris­ing tide'; Back in busi­ness with the FDA, Bio­Marin finds it­self with­out a CMO

William Chou has a lot on his hands at Passage Bio as the Jim Wilson-founded biotech attempts a rebound following a rough year of executive departures, layoffs and pipeline pruning.

Chou himself recently departed another gene therapy developer that has essentially shuttered. Aruvant, from the Roivant web, ceased clinical development of a lentiviral gene therapy for beta thalassemia after enrolling seven patients, and a preclinical AAV gene therapy for patients with hypophosphatasia, the parent company announced this summer.

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Sanofi's BD chief heads to Owkin as CBO; Roche re­lies on its bench for Thomas Schi­neck­er’s di­ag­nos­tics re­place­ment

Up until recently, Alban de La Sablière was Sanofi’s chief dealmaker, reporting directly to CEO Paul Hudson without officially being a C-suite executive.

That’s now changed with de La Sablière’s newest position at a much smaller French biotech, Sanofi partner Owkin. And to top it off, it’s his first job in the C-suite.

Tuesday was his first day as the chief business officer at Owkin, a now-transatlantic biotech with offices in both France and the US. Its emphasis in AI and a concept called “federated learning” earned a $270 million investment from the Big Pharma last year, with an eye to improving its odds in clinical development. The company has now inked other AI deals with other Big Pharma companies such as Bristol Myers Squibb.

'Don't eat me' up­start taps Take­da vet on path to the clin­ic; Greg Mayes leaves An­tios for Cana­di­an psy­che­delics play­er

Nenad Grmusa was “really happy” at Takeda, where he’d been for more than a decade in various R&D strategy and finance positions. However, the more he learned about DEM BioPharma, the more intrigued he became by cancer’s unexplored “don’t eat me” signals.

Jonathan Weissman and team launched the aptly-named biotech back in June to deploy macrophages and other myeloid effector cells against tumors by using so-called “don’t eat me” and “eat me” signals, which allow cancer cells to evade the immune system.

Amid mas­sive turnover, Agios hires Bio­gen alum as new CFO; Schol­ar Rock, Ever­est Med­i­cines lead the big CEO pa­rade

When Cecilia Jones started at Genzyme, there was next to nothing in Kendall Square.

“It was just us,” Jones said. “There wasn’t much to even go for lunch.”

Jones would work in Cambridge, MA, for the next 17 years — spending seven at Genzyme and 10 at Biogen, where she would go on to hold a VP role in finance — as Kendall Square and Cambridge grew into a biotech hub.

“It’s like night and day,” Jones said of the area now.

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Scor­pi­on snags a Sanofi vet to lead the way to the clin­ic; All eyes on eli-cel as blue­bird seeks a fi­nance leader — again

Upon taking the helm at precision oncology-focused Scorpion Therapeutics last summer, Axel Hoos told Endpoints News that he had a clear vision of the type of leaders he wanted to hire.

It appears that former Sanofi project head Michael Streit, one of Hoos’ old colleagues from GSK, fits the bill.

Streit has been tapped to lead Scorpion’s first two experimental drugs into the clinic, the company announced on Monday. When Hoos approached him about the open CMO position, Streit said he was “keen about the opportunity” to work together again.

Ho­mol­o­gy sails with same cap­tains in dif­fer­ent seats; Ex-Har­poon chief weath­ers the Storm at UK biotech

After a multi-year run as co-workers at Shire Pharmaceuticals, Arthur Tzianabos and Albert Seymour got the band back together in 2016 as two of the early-days employees at Homology Medicines.

Tzianabos as CEO and Seymour as science chief of the genetic medicine-focused biotech “was not really ready for prime time,” in the words of Seymour. The plan from the start was to have Seymour assume the chief executive duties once the biotech was fully in the clinic with multiple programs to account for.

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Jay Brad­ner’s NI­BR ex­it sets off a suc­ces­sion plan at Mer­ck; Dyne and Mor­phoSys fill ma­jor R&D roles

→ In the Big Pharma world, companies like J&J and Merck have experienced a pronounced sea change in leadership over a two-year period, and you can begin to say the same at Novartis, which dismissed head of development John Tsai and head of oncology Susanne Schaffert as part of CEO Vas Narasimhan’s wide-ranging restructuring plan. The next shoe to drop is Jay Bradner, the president of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, who is leaving his post on Halloween and passing the baton to Fiona Marshall, Merck’s SVP and global head of discovery sciences, preclinical development and translational medicine.

No Myth: CEO of ADC up­start calls it quits; Bris­tol My­ers vet Jon Wig­gin­ton scales new heights at Bright Peak

→ When Mythic Therapeutics CEO Alex Nichols spoke to Endpoints News last December about the biotech’s $103 million Series B, he and fellow co-founder Brian Fiske emphasized safety, saying that they’re “really working on trying to overcome what has been one of the most historically challenging obstacles to realizing the full potential of ADCs.” But Mythic will have to look for someone else to take up that mantle.