Peer review

Robert Baze­more makes Hutchmed deal his grand fi­nale as Epizyme CEO; Black Di­a­mond reshuf­fles the deck with de­par­tures of CMO, CSO

→ One minute, Epizyme CEO Robert Bazemore helped engineer a partnership with Hutchmed on developing Tazverik in China. The next minute, he gave his job to someone else.

Bazemore stepped aside as Epizyme’s chief executive the same day the biotech announced the deal, ceding the throne to Grant Bogle, the chief commercial officer at Tesaro from 2015 until 2019 — the year GlaxoSmithKline’s takeover of the oncology-focused company was completed. Since 2019, Bogle has kept a seat on Epizyme’s board of directors.

Ver­tex taps long­time com­mer­cial lead to fill two-year COO va­can­cy; Nan­cy Thorn­ber­ry set for dif­fer­ent role at Kally­ope with an old friend from Mer­ck wait­ing in the wings

For the first time in two years, Vertex has a COO.

The cystic fibrosis drugmaker announced Wednesday that Stuart Arbuckle, who has led the company’s commercial efforts since 2012, has been appointed to run operations as well. In doing so, Arbuckle fills a void opened two years ago when, after an investigation, longtime executive Ian Smith was abruptly fired for “personal behavior” that violated Vertex’s code of conduct. Details of the violation, which also cost Smith high-profile board seats at other biotechs, have never been made public.

Roche Chi­na CEO preps for a move to Mer­ck KGaA while US Mer­ck adds to C-suite; Suc­ces­sion plan fi­nal­ized for EVPs re­tir­ing from Sanofi

→ Beginning Oct. 1, Roche China CEO Hong Chow will be head of China & international for Merck KGaA’s healthcare business, a position that also encompasses Japan, Europe, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and Russia. The multi-pronged position also has Chow leading the cardiovascular metabolism & endocrinology franchise and the Global Business Innovation (GBI) unit. A Bayer alum, Chow has helmed Roche China since 2015.

Jim Wil­son start­up Pas­sage Bio plugs in CFO, CMO; Till­man Gern­gross nabs a COO fa­mil­iar with Covid-19 fight at Pfiz­er as Ada­gio files for IPO

→ Back in May, Passage Bio CFO Richard Morris and CMO Gary Romano left within days of each other, but this week the gene therapy player has found their replacements, along with a chief commercial officer. Simona King, a 19-year Bristol Myers Squibb vet in finance, becomes CFO on Aug. 23 after a quick stop in the same post at Tmunity Therapeutics and a year at Emergent BioSolutions. CMO Mark Forman gets started a week from today and was recently VP of translational medicine at Acadia Pharmaceuticals, preceded by 11 years at Merck. And Maria Törnsén, who got the ball rolling as CCO this week, had been Sarepta’s SVP, general manager, US.

Eli Lil­ly part­ner Ab­Cellera finds a CBO in the face of bam­lanivimab strug­gles; Fi­bro­Gen's next CSO walks in­to rox­adu­s­tat re­buff

→ Covid-19 variants have marred the effectiveness of Eli Lilly and AbCellera’s bamlanivimab to such an extent that the US government stopped using the monoclonal antibody in March, followed by a similar halt for the combo treatment with etesevimab late last month. AbCellera is nonetheless pressing onward with a new candidate for mild to moderate cases, LY-CoV1404, and this week Neil Berkley joined Carl Hansen’s squad as CBO. Berkley, a GlaxoSmithKline neuroscience veteran, makes the leap from Halozyme, starting out at the San Diego biotech as head of oncology global partnering, corporate development in 2019 and earning a promotion to VP, head of business development.

Great Danes: Two Nordic biotechs name their chief ex­ec­u­tives; Ax­el Hoos bids adieu to Glax­o­SmithK­line, be­comes CEO of small on­col­o­gy play­er

Don’t let the short week deceive you. Peer Review has a lot to get to:

→ When our Nicole DeFeudis profiled new Codiak CMO Jennifer Wheler, she also wrote that Benny Sorensen would be taking on the role of SVP of strategic projects after heading up clinical development. That didn’t last long.

We’ve learned that Sorensen has resigned to lead Danish biotech Hemab Therapeutics as CEO. Backed by Novo Holdings, Hemab is a three-year-old company that develops bispecific antibodies for rare bleeding disorders that had been helmed by co-founder Johan Faber. Sorensen, an Alnylam vet, will still be connected to Codiak as a member of the scientific advisory board and a clinical consultant.

Cure­Vac gains COO and hands Flo­ri­an von der Mülbe new as­sign­ment in the midst of Covid-19 vac­cine trou­bles; As Ken Fra­zier re­tires, Mer­ck hires chief strat­e­gy of­fi­cer

→ Aiming to bounce back and trying to accentuate the positive after its mRNA Covid-19 vaccine took a major pratfall, CureVac is shaking things up by bringing in Malte Greune as COO and giving new responsibilities to co-founder and chief production officer Florian von der Mülbe. Greune jumps on board from Sanofi after a nearly 10-year run where he was stationed in Germany and spent the last several months as general manager and VP, cartridges, devices & insulin technology group in Frankfurt.

With Glax­o­SmithK­line in the rearview mir­ror, Ab­bas Hus­sain is ready to lead a biotech of his own; Doug Tre­co scores first CEO job since Ra Phar­ma buy­out

Abbas Hussain was once considered to be a top candidate to take Andrew Witty’s place as CEO of GlaxoSmithKline in 2016. When the job was ultimately given to Emma Walmsley — who has been in her own spots of bother recently — Hussain quit as GSK’s global president of pharmaceuticals and vaccines in January 2017. Four years later, Hussain gets behind the CEO wheel at Swiss-based Vifor Pharma, which has a PDUFA date of Aug. 23 with its Carapartnered drug Korsuva for pruritis in hemodialysis patients. Hussain officially takes over for the departing Stefan Schulze a week before that date on Aug. 16. Schulze had been in charge at Vifor since March 2020 and is leaving for personal reasons.

Mod­er­na dips in­to J&J's tal­ent pool for Tal Zak­s' re­place­ment; Jim Mullen choos­es next chief sci­en­tist at Ed­i­tas Med­i­cine

→ Apparently Tal Zaks took George Costanza’s concept on Seinfeld of going out on a high note to heart at Moderna, making his plans to leave his lofty perch as CMO in February after the biotech became a household name for millions receiving its mRNA Covid-19 vaccine. Starting July 6, J&J vet Paul Burton will succeed one of Stéphane Bancel’s most trusted associates, climbing on board as Moderna pushes past Covid-19 and concentrates on other vaccine candidates.

In­ter­cept re­tools C-suite with a pair of new­com­ers; Charles Ryan moves past Alzheimer's flops with an­oth­er CEO chal­lenge

Jason Campagna and Sandip Kapadia were two execs who punched their tickets out of Intercept as things went pear-shaped, and the teetering NASH biotech has found their replacements as CMO Michelle Berrey and CFO Andrew Saik take over their positions. Berrey, the ex-president and CEO at Chimerix, was Pharmasset’s CMO from 2007-12. Just before her Pharmasset days, she had been with GlaxoSmithKline as VP, viral diseases, clinical pharmacology & discovery medicine. Berrey will also be Intercept’s president of R&D in addition to CMO. SVP Gail Cawkwell had been pinch-hitting after Campagna’s departure and subsequent move to Q32 Bio.