Peer review

Glob­al Blood Ther­a­peu­tics re­cruits a CHOP sick­le cell ex­pert as R&D chief; Catal­ent plucks Janssen vet to head new clin­i­cal pack­ag­ing fa­cil­i­ty

As a kid, Kim Smith-Whitley picked up injured animals from Rock Creek Park and biked them home in cages she built with her grandfather. They were simple things but crafty, wire mesh stitched over a base invented from whatever was around, and they wouldn’t hold the animals for long. While Kim slept, he released them back to the wild. In the morning, they would do it all over again: A granddaughter who wanted to heal the world and a grandfather who wanted time with her.

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GSK vet Antony Blanc signs on to be­come Cure­Vac's CBO and CCO; Chris Ca­bell out, Paul Streck in as Are­na Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals CMO

→ Enthused about the Phase I data for their Covid-19 mRNA vaccine and believing they’ve cracked the cold-storage code in delivering them, CureVac has brought Antony Blanc into the fray as CBO and chief commercial officer. While at GSK from 2009-17, Blanc served in several capacities with GSK Vaccines, including as integration lead when the pharma giant acquired Novartis Vaccines in 2015. Before his time at GSK, Blanc was CBO at Synosia Therapeutics.

Jef­frey Hat­field takes over from Diego Mi­ralles as CEO of Vi­vid­ion; Drag­on­fly scores a new ex­ec with COO Alex Lu­gov­skoy

→ San Diego protein degradation startup Vividion Therapeutics has made a change at the top with Jeffrey Hatfield taking the helm as CEO, replacing Diego Miralles six months after Roche forked over $135 million to collaborate with Vividion on their small molecule degraders. Hatfield is chairman of the board at miRagen Therapeutics and previously held the CEO job at Zafgen and Vitae Pharmaceuticals. He also had a series of leadership roles at Bristol Myers Squibb from 1996-2004, including SVP, immunology and virology divisions.

Jen­nifer Zi­olkows­ki re­signs from CFO post at Sol­id Bio­sciences; Sean Bo­hen's Ole­ma On­col­o­gy adds San­dra Horn­ing to board of di­rec­tors

Jennifer Ziolkowski has decided to step down from Ilan Ganot’s team at Solid Biosciences “to pursue a new career opportunity,” according to an SEC document filed Friday. Ziolkowski will continue to be Solid’s CFO until Jan. 29, 2021. The day after she announced her resignation at the company, the Duchenne muscular dystrophy biotech entered into a consulting agreement with Danforth Advisors, at which point Danforth managing partner Stephen DiPalma was named interim CFO. DiPalma has been a CFO before at Forum Pharmaceuticals and Aquila Biopharmaceuticals, and he founded Catalyst Oncology and Athena Diagnostics.

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Af­ter No­vo Nordisk's ac­qui­si­tion of Cor­vidia, Ram Ai­yar takes the helm at Ko­r­ro Bio; Sil­ver­back gets a new CFO to go along with its IPO

→ Co-founded by Nessan Bermingham and banking $91.5 million in Series A funding in September, RNA editing startup Korro Bio has tapped Ram Aiyar as their first CEO. Aiyar, who began as a research scientist in the immunology group at Janssen in the late 2000s, co-founded Corvidia Therapeutics in 2016 and was also their CFO and CBO along the way. Back in June, Aiyar helped steer the sale of Corvidia to Novo Nordisk for $2.1 billion, including $725 million upfront. With the deal, Novo Nordisk inserted Corvidia’s IL-6 inhibitor ziltivekimab into their pipeline.

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Karin Rosén moves on from GSK, now play­ing dual roles at Hori­zon; Gilead looks to Jared Baeten to take com­mand of HIV strat­e­gy

GSK and Genentech alum Karin Rosén is expanding her horizons, so to speak, taking on the roles of CSO and EVP, R&D at Horizon Therapeutics. Rosén departs for Horizon from her gig at GSK as SVP of US medical affairs, and she was a medical affairs exec at Aimmune before then for a short time. At Genentech, where she spent 10 years, she was promoted to therapeutic area head, immunology and worked on several Phase II/III programs in immunology, respiratory, allergy and dermatology.

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Trou­bled Unum re­brands as Co­gent Bio­sciences, re­places CEO Chuck Wil­son with An­drew Rob­bins; Jen­nifer Fox ap­point­ed as CFO at David Hung-led Nu­va­tion Bio

→ Rife with turmoil and hit with a barrage of FDA holds as it spiraled into penny-stock territory, Unum Therapeutics hopes a new name — Cogent Biosciences — and a new CEO can turn its fortunes around. Andrew Robbins takes control now and succeeds Chuck Wilson, who founded Unum in 2014.

The cell therapy biotech stumbled out of the gate when it debuted on Nasdaq in 2018 and revealed that 2 of its 9 patients died in one arm of their ACTR087 trial. The FDA would hand down 3 different holds, two for ACTR087 and another for its experimental therapy ACTR707. Adding insult to injury, Unum shed around 60% of its workforce and jettisoned its old pipeline in favor of a new one a few months ago.

Arndt Rolfs steps aside as Cen­to­gene CEO, with An­drin Os­wald named as his suc­ces­sor; João Sif­fert lands an­oth­er CEO post at De­sign Ther­a­peu­tics

→ There’s a change at the top at German rare disease biotech Centogene. Arndt Rolfs decided to step down as CEO, effective Tuesday, and Big Pharma vet Andrin Oswald will replace him starting Dec. 1. Oswald, the delegate for Covid-19 vaccines and immunotherapies for the federal government of Switzerland, recently spent 4 years with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as director of life science industry engagement and partnerships. He was also a business integration exec at GSK and division head of vaccines & diagnostics at Novartis.

Ameet Nath­wani re­bounds from Sanofi purge to helm Dew­point; Ali Mor­taza­vi named CEO at e-ther­a­peu­tics

Sanofi vet Ameet Nathwani has joined Arie Belldegrun and ARCH Venture Partners-backed Dewpoint Therapeutics as its new CEO. During his tenure at Sanofi, Nathwani served as CMO, chief digital officer and executive committee member. Prior to that, Nathwani completed a 12-year stint at Novartis, where he held roles such as global head of the critical care business franchise and SVP and global development head of the cardiovascular and metabolism franchise.

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Brett Zbar to lead life sci­ences in­vest­ing at Gen­er­al At­lantic; Michael Ka­vanaugh plans re­tire­ment as Cy­tomX pro­motes Genen­tech vet Mar­cia Belvin

→ Growth equity firm General Atlantic has reeled in Brett Zbar as managing director to lead its new life sciences focus. Zbar hops aboard from Foresite Capital where he served as managing director and advised on the boards of companies such as Kinnate Biopharma, ORIC Pharmaceuticals and Signant Health among others. Prior to his role at Foresite, Zbar was a partner at Aisling Capital.

Michael Kavanaugh has announced his retirement effective Dec. 1 as CSO, head of research and non-clinical development of CytomX. According to the release, he’s transitioning to an advisory role. Kavanaugh had been with the oncology biotech since 2015 after holding the same titles at Five Prime Therapeutics. VP of oncology research Marcia Belvin, who came to CytomX 2 years ago, has been promoted to SVP, head of research. Belvin previously held multiple positions leading cancer programs and preclinical pipeline teams during 13 years at Genentech and got her start at Exelixis.