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As Co­di­ak en­ters 'next phase of growth,' Jen­nifer Whel­er steps in­to CMO role; Mark Tim­ney lines up his sec­ond CEO op­por­tu­ni­ty af­ter Pur­due Phar­ma reign

Most CMOs don’t start out as art students. But after getting her bachelor’s in art history from Princeton University, Jennifer Wheler decided to go after an MD from Cornell, kicking off a decades-long career in biopharma. Her next move? Leading the team at Codiak BioSciences to deliver therapeutics using a form of cellular postal service called exosomes.

“I was captivated by the science and the potential for exosomes to have transformational impact in cancer and other disease areas,” the incoming CMO told Endpoints News via email. “Codiak has a potent combination of great science and wonderfully experienced and kind people — it doesn’t get much better.”

Karyopharm taps long­time Pfiz­er, Am­gen vet to steer the ship; With Mer­ck in the rearview mir­ror, Roger Perl­mut­ter stakes his claim to a CEO job — and it's a sur­pris­ing choice

Like many who work in biopharma, Richard Paulson got started in the field because of a love of science.

Paulson had just finished business school and was looking to start a career that married his two passions. While looking for jobs, he thought of his grandmother who had struggled with Alzheimer’s disease, recalling how he saw first-hand what innovative medicines can do for patients. Ultimately, he started his first job in the space as a sales rep at Glaxo Wellcome, one of GlaxoSmithKline’s predecessors before its merger with SmithKline Beecham in 2000.

Genen­tech alum Jane Gro­gan goes start­up hop­ping from Ar­se­nal­Bio to Graphite Bio; Scott Holmes to han­dle CFO du­ties at Cata­ma­ran Bio, team­ing up again with ex-Dis­arm CEO

→ Gene editing player Graphite Bio notched a $150 million Series B megaround to boost its total to $195 million, and a month later, Jane Grogan is moving from another startup to be Graphite’s CSO. Grogan is leaving ArsenalBio after serving as chief scientist since its launch in October 2019. She was at Genentech from 2004-19, with her last five years as head of adaptive tumor immunity and principal scientist of cancer immunology discovery research.

A pair of Bay­er ex­ecs land pro­mo­tions in the US; En­er­gized by lenzilum­ab da­ta, Hu­mani­gen taps As­traZeneca alum as CMO

Bayer has handed out two promotions in its US operations, with Nelson Ambrogio and John Berrios both getting the bump. Ambrogio becomes SVP, general manager of oncology, while Berrios take Ambrogio’s place as SVP, general manager of women’s healthcare. Ambrogio is a longtime Bayer vet who’s held such titles internationally as general manager in Australia and New Zealand and managing director in Portugal. Berrios, who joined Bayer in 2016 after 15 years at AstraZeneca, takes on his new responsibilities after a year as VP, commercial operations.

No­vavax CFO Greg Covi­no makes a quick ex­it as lead­er­ship carousel keeps turn­ing; Kite ex­ecs fly away to a cell ther­a­py up­start team­ing up with Lyell

→ If it seems like Covid-19 vaccine bridesmaid Novavax is shuttling staffers in and out, you’re not alone. This week, Greg Covino announced he’s leaving the biotech after holding the CFO job for a blink-and-you-miss-it tenure. An advisory role within the company awaits for Covino, who came to Novavax just five months ago from Bristol Myers Squibb, while CCO and CBO John Trizzino juggles even more executive responsibility by taking on the interim CFO title.

John Robin­son re­cruits a small band of Ar­ray vets to kick­start dis­cov­ery at Co­gent; Syn­tim­mune co-founder takes charge at Arch On­col­o­gy

Biotech is a small world — and all the more so in a tight-knit community like Boulder, CO.

A serendipitous reunion with Andrew Robbins, a former colleague at Array, was what sparked John Robinson’s jump to his new gig as CSO of Cogent Biosciences.

He had started following the company, a reincarnation of the troubled cell therapy biotech Unum Therapeutics, after it tapped Robbins as CEO. The two had worked on multiple projects together at Array — as Robinson shepherded to the clinic what eventually became Mektovi, Tukysa, Vitrakvi, Retevmo and Koselugo — but parted ways after Pfizer bought it for $11.4 billion. Robinson stayed on at the pharma giant, most recently getting elevated to VP of medicinal chemistry.

Cut­ting loose from Mer­ck, Mike Nal­ly is 'run­ning to­ward a great op­por­tu­ni­ty'; No­var­tis part­ner­ship in hand, BeiGene pro­motes Ju­lia Wang to CFO

When Mike Nally was an undergrad at Middlebury College in Vermont, he thought investment banking and finance was his “path to salvation.”

He graduated in 1998 with his bachelor’s in economics, then took a job at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, an investment bank later bought by Credit Suisse. He was tasked with doing research and analysis in the life sciences industry, but what he found surprised him.

Mer­ck keeps it in the fam­i­ly as Robert Davis hands the CFO keys to Car­o­line Litch­field; Gilead los­es Di­ana Brainard, with vi­rol­o­gy ex­ec be­com­ing CEO of AlloVir

→ With Robert Davis preparing to take over as Merck’s CEO, the Big Pharma stayed in-house to choose a successor in the job he won’t hold for much longer. Caroline Litchfield, who’s served at Merck since 1990 and has been treasurer the past two years, will become CFO on April 1, the same day Davis assumes the role of president. Davis will then take the helm for Ken Frazier on July 1.

In the four years before her tenure as treasurer, Litchfield led finance for the Human Health division, where Frank Clyburn just became president after Mike Nally’s departure last week as chief marketing officer.

Gone away are the blue­bird ex­ecs as COO, CMO both leave the nest; Mike Nal­ly is lat­est ma­jor fig­ure to move on from Mer­ck

→ As bluebird bio’s regulatory concerns swell yet again by pressing the pause button for LentiGlobin a month ago, Joanne Smith-Farrell won’t be around to see how the saga plays out with the FDA. Smith-Farrell has taken the helm at Longwood-backed B cell biotech Be Biopharma, which launched last October with a $52 million Series A round. She was previously bluebird’s COO and business unit head, oncology, and she first came to Nick Leschly’s team as CBO in 2017 after her Big Pharma experience in business development with Merck and Pfizer. Smith-Farrell tells our Kyle Blankenship that her decision to become CEO at Be Bio wasn’t related to the decision to split bluebird into two companies in January.

With Kathy High on board, AskBio makes next lead­er­ship play and se­lects Bay­er's Gu­ru Ra­ma­murthy as fi­nance chief; Myles O'Neill and Melis­sa Barnes set to re­tire from Eli Lil­ly

→ The stars aligned to bring in Kathy High as president of therapeutics, and Brain Neurotherapy Bio founder Krystof Bankiewicz now leads its Parkinson’s program. And in its first big leadership move since they signed on to the team, gene therapy player AskBio has appointed Guru Ramamurthy CFO, a spokesperson tells Endpoints News. Six months removed from striking a deal to acquire AskBio, it should come as no surprise that Ramamurthy is a 20-year Bayer alum: More recently he had been the German multinational’s global finance lead for the oncology franchise, and prior to that, Ramamurthy was CFO of the North American business at Bayer Consumer Health.