Peer review

Vedan­ta Bio­sciences taps Big Phar­ma vet Jef­frey Sil­ber as CMO; Robert Doe­bele leaves be­hind teach­ing post at Col­orado to fo­cus on CSO job at Rain Ther­a­peu­tics

→ A Big Pharma vet has joined Cambridge, MA upstart Vedanta Biosciences to help develop and expand on its microbiome-derived bacteria portfolio.

Jeffrey Silber signed on as CMO of Vedanta after 4 years at EMD Serono as their SVP, global clinical development. Silber worked his way through the ranks at Merck in the late 1990s, eventually becoming their VP and therapeutic area head, vaccine clinical research. And after 16 years at the pharma giant, Silber moved on to AbbVie to be their VP, strategic portfolio development.

GSK and J&J alum Vi­jay Red­dy to take con­trol of R&D at Tmu­ni­ty; An­drew Hirsch ex­its Agios for CEO job at C4 Ther­a­peu­tics

Vijay Reddy was seeking a return to the US when he left his role as CMO at London-based Autolus this summer. Philadelphia is that landing spot, as the T cell immunotherapy player Tmunity has put him in charge of R&D.

Reddy arrives at the Penn spinout with plenty of Big Pharma bona fides after developing the CAR-T cell clinical program at Autolus. Tmunity’s new chief R&D officer was a senior director and led early clinical development at J&J subsidiary Janssen from 2013-16, and from 2009-13, he was GSK’s medical director, cancer research and clinical development.

Scott Ed­mond­son leaves As­traZeneca, starts new chap­ter at Nim­bus; With IPO filed, Taysha pulls to­geth­er an AveX­is-heavy team

Nimbus Therapeutics, which identified 4 new targets – AMPKβ2, CTPS1, Cbl-b and WRN – in their drug discovery efforts, has reeled in a big fish with Big Pharma vet Scott Edmondson now a part of the mix as SVP, head of chemistry. Edmondson had been AstraZeneca’s director and head of Boston oncology chemistry for almost 4 years.

From 1998-2016, Edmondson was at Merck and worked his way up to director of discovery chemistry. While at the pharma giant, he discovered vibegron for patients with overactive bladder, a drug that Urovant would pick up in 2017. Urovant filed for an NDA for vibegron at the FDA, which the agency accepted for review in March.

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Michael Var­ney comes out of brief Genen­tech 're­tire­men­t' for R&D gig at Eras­ca; Vivek Ra­maswamy's Im­muno­vant re­cruits J&J vet for CSO post

→ Michael Varney is opening up a new chapter in his career after stepping down recently from a high-profile job as head of research and early development at Roche’s prestigious gRED organization in South San Francisco.

He’s taken a job as chairman of R&D at Erasca, a private biotech company that recently raised a whopping $200 million from a syndicate led by ARCH and Cormorant. Erasca is led by Jonathan Lim, who sold Ignyta to Roche for $1.7 billion.

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MD An­der­son­'s Patrick Hwu to helm Mof­fitt Can­cer Cen­ter; Af­ter Rock­well Med­ical ouster, Robert Chioi­ni gets an­oth­er chance to lead

→ The Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa has found its next president and CEO after the imbroglio surrounding the departure of Alan List.

Patrick Hwu, the head of cancer medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center, has been tapped to lead Moffitt almost exactly 8 months following the mass resignations of List, center director Thomas Sellers and 4 other researchers for conflict of interest regarding their work in China, one of several high-profile examples that include Harvard professor Charles Lieber.

Sanofi vet Kather­ine Bowdish named CEO of PIC Ther­a­peu­tics; As the world Terns: Liv­er dis­ease biotech makes ex­ec­u­tive changes

PIC Therapeutics hasn’t raised much money, yet. But the fledgling biotech has attracted a high-profile player to the helm.

The Boston-based biotech has handed the reins to Katherine Bowdish as its president and CEO. Bowdish will also join the board of directors of PIC. Bowdish joins from Sanofi where she served as VP and head of R&D strategy, as well as helping launch and lead Sanofi Sunrise, a venture investment and partnering vehicle at Sanofi. Before that, Bowdish held several exec roles at Permeon Biologics, Anaphore, Alexion Pharmaceuticals and Prolifaron (acquired by Alexion).

Alex­ion cre­ates new post for chief di­ver­si­ty of­fi­cer; Bar­ry Greene step­ping down at Al­ny­lam, Yvonne Green­street named as suc­ces­sor

Alexion has carved out a new position for chief diversity officer and filled it with an inside promotion.

Uzair Qadeer will now be responsible for their “diversity, inclusion and belonging” strategy, looking to reshape the biotech’s corporate culture. A veteran of Deloitte and Bristol Myers Squibb, Qadeer was working on executive coaching and helping create the diversity program he now leads.

Tetraphase deal done, La Jol­la Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal taps Lar­ry Ed­wards as CEO; Long­time Eli Lil­ly ex­ec Michael Over­dorf heads to An­nex­on as CBO

→ As La Jolla Pharmaceutical closed on their acquisition of Tetraphase on Wednesday, the San Diego biotech also announced that they’re taking the president and CEO right along with them as Larry Edwards steps in. Edwards, who had a 15-year run at Merck and was a global marketing director for the pharma giant, spent the last year at the helm at Tetraphase and 5 years overall in other roles.

Last November, George Tidmarsh walked away as La Jolla’s top exec “to pursue other interests” after their drug LJPC-401 flamed out for beta thalassemia patients and the study (LJ401-BT01) was summarily scrapped.

Jeff Capel­lo out the door as Michael Mc­Don­nell takes over Bio­gen's CFO post; Ron Bruehlman named in­ter­im CFO at IQVIA

→ In a move that essentially caught everyone in biotech off guard, Jeff Capello is on his way out as CFO of beleaguered Biogen and ex-IQVIA EVP and CFO Michael McDonnell is taking over on Aug 15. Capello will assist in the transition until Sept 15. Although Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos balked at the question of whether the switch is a signal that they want to ramp up their M&A activity, Evan Seigerman’s assessment at Credit Suisse was succinct: “Our read — McDonnell was brought in to do deals.”

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John Connolly speaks on an Endpoints News panel at the 2018 BIIS PharmCube/Endpoints conference in Shanghai (File photo)

Turn­ing can­cer in­to a cur­able dis­ease: Im­munother­a­py ex­pert John Con­nol­ly picks up the reins as the new CSO of Sean Park­er’s can­cer in­sti­tute

John Connolly synced with the folks at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy early on.

As the science chief at Singapore-based Tessa Therapeutics, he worked on a next-gen CAR-T with an amped up package of T cells. But the same immunotherapy focus runs right through his days teaching at Baylor and on back to getting his PhD in immunology from Dartmouth Medical School, where he studied human dendritic cell biology, all of which helped make him an obvious choice as a top collaborator with the institute.

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