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Mod­er­na woos tri­al vet Melanie Ivars­son to the se­nior R&D team; Ex-Roche CMO San­dra Horn­ing joins Gilead board

Moderna was founded 10 years ago and early on grew into a unicorn with grand ambitions for a broad preclinical effort in messenger RNA. Now that it has shifted a large number of those candidates — along with some blockbuster expectations — into clinical development, the biotech has recruited a development chief. And they’ve turned to an experienced hand from Big Pharma to get the job done.

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Di­a­betes-fo­cused Pox­el names Eli Lil­ly vet David Moller as CSO; Ac­celeron's CBO hops ship to lead start­up

→ After passing their third straight Phase III trial for its new kind of diabetes tablet in Japan, French pharma Poxel has tapped David Moller as CSO. Moller has focused his career in the fields of diabetes and metabolic disorders. He most recently served as CSO at Sigilon Therapeutics and has previously completed stints at Eli Lilly, as VP of endocrine and cardiovascular research and clinical investigation, and Merck, as VP of metabolic disorders. With his new role, Moller will be based in Boston.

Pe­ter Ciriel­lo takes over the reins at Vy­gon USA; Mirum Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals taps Ian Clements to the role of CFO

Peter Ciriello has climbed to the upper echelons of the French medical device maker Vygon Group. He will run the company’s US operations from the company’s headquarters in Pennsylvania and is also tasked with overseeing activities at the New Hampshire facility. Ciriello joined Vygon in 2018 and takes over from Les Davies, who served as CEO, Vygon UK and VP for the UK/North American region. Ciriello previously served as co-founder and managing partner at Clearwater Organic Farms.

Eli Lil­ly vet jumps aboard Po­laris Part­ners; Mi­rati shakes up its lead­er­ship team with new hires and pro­mo­tions

→ Polaris Partners has snagged Eli Lilly vet Darren Carroll as a partner. Carroll spent 22 years at Eli Lilly before making the switch to the investment firm’s Boston office. Most recently, Carroll served as SVP of corporate business development at Lilly, where he oversaw the $8.1 billion acquisition of Loxo Oncology and the divestiture of animal health company Elanco. Carroll is credited with forming Lilly Asia Ventures and was the founding CEO of Lilly spinout InnoCentive.

IQVIA vet takes the helm at Chi­na's Foun­tain Med­ical; Michael Nazak pro­mot­ed to CFO post at Aridis

After bagging $62 million in a Series D financing round, Fountain Medical Development has tapped IQVIA vet Ling Zhen as CEO and co-chairman of the board of directors. Most recently, Zhen served as a partner at Draper Dragon Venture Group. During his time at IQVIA (formerly Quintiles), Zhen served as a global SVP and general manager of Greater China. Prior to IQVIA, Zhen served at Eli Lilly, GSK and Ernst & Young in the US.

Bill Lund­berg takes over the reins at Merus; For­mer Akcea COO Jef­frey Gold­berg takes the helm of Im­mu­ni­tas

→ Dutch biotech Merus, who struck up a $200 million bispecific development deal with Incyte in 2016,  is losing their CEO Ton Logtenberg. Meanwhile, the company has nominated Sven (Bill) Ante Lundberg to be Logtenberg’s successor. Lundberg, most recently served as CSO at CRISPR Therapeutics — helping establish the company in Cambridge, MA and leading the development of the company’s first clinical trial application. Prior to CRISPR, Lundberg was the head of translational medicine at Alexion Pharmaceuticals and CMO of Taligen Therapeutics. His other stints include roles at Xanthus/Anthsoma, Wyeth and Genzyme.

Shehnaaz Suli­man dives back in­to Alzheimer's at Alec­tor; Pyx­is re­cruits Spring­Works founder Lara Sul­li­van as CEO

Amid Shehnaaz Suliman’s lengthy resume it could be easy to miss her stint leading early-stage Alzheimer’s R&D at Genentech, where she oversaw a program for the ill-fated crenezumab and initiated one of the first prevention studies around the devastating neurodegenerative disease. But it is this experience that she — after thinking long and hard about her next career move over the past months — will be leaning heavily on as the first president and COO of Alector.

Ex-Cel­gene ex­ec Ter­rie Cur­ran puts her Phath­om team in place; Car­away taps Mar­tin Williams as CEO

→ Gastrointestinal disease-focused Phathom Pharmaceuticals has shaken up its leadership team. The company has tapped former Celgene exec Terrie Curran as CEO, succeeding David Socks, who is transitioning to interim CFO. Curran was president of Celgene’s global inflammation and immunology franchise — helping with the sale of Otezla for $13.4 billion to Amgen — and has held a previous stint at Merck. In addition to Curran, the company also welcomed former Omeros CMO Eckhard Leifke as CMO, ex-Celgene exec Joseph Hand as chief administrative officer, and former general counsel for Cyclerion Therapeutics Larry Miller as general counsel. They also replaced Chris Slavinsky on the board with Takeda exec Asit Parikh.

Biotech vet Paul Bren­nan takes helm at re­gen­er­a­tive med biotech; Ax­cel­la names CFO

→ Regenerative medicine company, NervGen Pharma — focused on the treatment of nerve damage — has tapped Paul Brennan to head the helm of the company as CEO and president. Brennan is the successor to Ernest Wong, who will continue to serve as a consultant to the company. In addition, the company has enlisted Lloyd Mackenzie in the newly created position of COO. Brennan’s previous stints include roles at Eupraxia Pharmaceuticals, Aquinox Pharmaceuticals, Arbutus Biopharma (formerly Tekmira Pharmaceuticals) and AnorMED among others. Brennan played roles in handling the sale of Aspreva to Vifor Pharma for $915 million, the sale of AnorMED to Genzyme for $580 million and the merger of Tekmira and OnCore Biopharma to form Arbutus Biopharma, valued at over $1 billion on the day of the transaction. Mackenzie hails from his recent role as chief development officer at Notable Labs and prior to that was the COO at Aquinox Pharmaceuticals.

Cel­gene R&D vet jumps to biotech: 'It’s about short­en­ing the cy­cle'; No­var­tis ex­o­dus con­tin­ues as William Chou takes the helm at Aru­vant

Jorge DiMartino has been turning over the same question in his head since he was a kid: How does every human cell start out the same, with the same wiring, yet end up so different?

It’s a question that brought him to Berkeley and Stanford, Genentech, the upper echelons of Celgene and now, as Celgene is swallowed by Bristol-Myers Squibb, Kronos Bio. The small molecule biotech has hired DiMartino to be their CMO.

“I’m chomping at the bit,” he told Endpoints News. 

To ask about why liver or stomach cells are the way they are is really to ask about transcription: How does the cell read the code and why? Which in turn is to ask about RNA and epigenetics. When DiMartino first considered these questions, he was thinking as a kid fascinated by nature.

“It’s hard to wrap your head around,” he said.  “How do you go from a single fertilized zygote to developing multiple tissues?”

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