Peer review

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.

Genen­tech gains clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment ex­ec by ap­point­ing Lil­li Petruzzel­li; Paul Sekhri caps event­ful week, nam­ing Sap­na Sri­vas­ta­va CFO of eGe­n­e­sis

→ A spokesperson for Genentech tells Endpoints News that Lilli Petruzzelli has forged a new path this week as SVP, early clinical development at Genentech’s Research and Early Development organization (gRED). Petruzzelli just spent two years as Incyte’s group VP, early clinical development, and prior to Incyte, she was global head, translational clinical oncology at the Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research.

Mark Mal­lon charts post-Iron­wood course by tak­ing CEO job at NeoGe­nomics; Glax­o­SmithK­line vet Feng Ren joins In­sil­i­co as CSO

Mark Mallon steps aside at Ironwood on March 12 after close to two years at the helm, and he already has a new change of scenery squared away. Beginning April 19, Mallon takes charge as CEO of cancer-focused genetic test maker NeoGenomics out of Fort Myers, FL while his predecessor, Douglas VanOort, is retiring after 12 years as NeoGenomics’ chairman and CEO.

It’s a fresh start for Mallon after what will amount to a tumultuous 23 months as Ironwood’s chief executive. Last year was marked by trial failures that spelled double trouble, leaving the Ironwood cupboard bare: first, a Linzess reformulation for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D) in May, and then the drug IW-3718 for persistent acid reflux in September. After IW-3718’s discontinuation, Ironwood chopped its staff by 35%. On Feb. 8, Mallon announced his departure at Ironwood, with president Tom McCourt getting bumped up to interim CEO.

Hen­ry Skin­ner buys time in the fight against an­timi­cro­bial re­sis­tance; Ver­tex's Michael Pari­ni be­comes pres­i­dent and COO at Free­line while CFO Bri­an Sil­ver plans his ex­it

When Henry Skinner was in charge of antibiotics-focused SelectX Pharmaceuticals about 15 years ago, the company had “very good science,” but couldn’t keep it capitalized. So when the Big Pharma-backed AMR Action Fund was launched in July to spur the development of new antibiotics, he said it was a “clarion call.”

The lack of progress across anti-infectives isn’t due to a shortage of innovation, Skinner said, “but because of the difficulty in capitalizing those innovations due to market constraints.” The fund is meant to “bridge that gap, and give our policymakers and governments time to make adjustments on a macro sense to reestablish the market.”

Ex-Vi­vid­ion chief Diego Mi­ralles finds 'dream team' at stealthy Flag­ship port­fo­lio com­pa­ny; Astel­las looks in­ward to se­lect CBO and CSO

Almost three months after leaving Vividion Therapeutics, where he recently signed a $135 million Roche deal, Diego Miralles has landed the top spot on a “dream team.”

On Thursday, Flagship Pioneering officially tapped Miralles as its newest CEO-partner, where he’ll head the stealthy portfolio company Laronde. While Miralles couldn’t say much about Laronde just yet, Flagship has said it’s an early-stage biotech working on nucleic acid medicines using a “multi-modality eRNA platform.”

For­mer Glax­o­SmithK­line CEO An­drew Wit­ty takes the helm at Unit­ed­Health; Af­ter more than a decade, Daniel Chung is back on a fa­mil­iar project

After reportedly hinting that he was considering leaving the helm of UnitedHealth Group’s Optum unit, Sir Andrew Witty has landed a big promotion.

The former GlaxoSmithKline CEO is stepping up as UnitedHealth’s next CEO, taking the place of David Wichmann, who recently announced his retirement after spending less than four years in the role.

The move comes a few months after Witty returned from an unpaid leave to help the World Health Organization’s vaccine effort, according to the company. The promotion is effective immediately, though Wichmann will stay on board through March to help with the transition.

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Michael Yang leads list of moves at Vi­a­Cyte, suc­ceed­ing Paul Laikind as CEO; Qasim Rizvi named CEO of Take­da part­ner KSQ

→ The winds of change are freshening off the coast in San Diego for stem cell biotech ViaCyte, which has appointed Michael Yang as president and CEO. Yang replaces Paul Laikind, who retired as ViaCyte’s CEO in September after eight years at the helm, and leaves his previous gig as chief commercial officer of Acadia Pharmaceuticals effective today. Prior to his nearly four years at Acadia, Yang was Janssen’s president in charge of their US immunology business, and before that, he was the J&J subsidiary’s CNS president.

Diem Nguyen tapped to lead 'point of in­flec­tion' at Xalud Ther­a­peu­tics; Di­ana Es­co­lar dances her way to Avro­bio CMO

Diem Nguyen considers herself a “point of inflection seer.”

Helping businesses strategize and scale up is “where my sweet spot is,” the Pfizer veteran said. So when she was tapped to take the helm at gene therapy-focused Xalud Therapeutics, she knew it would be a great fit.

Xalud, founded in 2009 and headquartered in New York City, is working on non-viral gene therapies to treat pathologic inflammation. The company’s lead candidate, XT-150, is a locally injectable plasmid DNA gene therapy expressing Interleukin 10 (IL-10) — an upstream modulator for many pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory mediators.

NextCure hires Cel­gene vet as CMO; José Ve­ga leaves Mer­ck to be­come Mod­er­na's chief safe­ty of­fi­cer

NextCure has found its new CMO after the previous executive resigned last August.

Han Myint, a biopharma and academia veteran of more than 20 years, joined the company Thursday after serving as CMO at NexImmune for a little over a year. Myint had overseen the company’s Phase I/II trial for a cell therapy in acute myeloid leukemia before hopping over to NextCure.

“Han’s strong industry track record is highlighted by his involvement in the development of multiple U.S. Food and Drug approved products,” CEO Michael Richman said in a statement.

Alk­er­mes pro­motes from with­in to find new CFO and COO in re­bound ef­fort; Mod­er­na vet Robert Dol­s­ki joins Check­mate as CFO

→ Vowing to find a groove after a string of bogeys on the scorecard, Richard Pops has shaken up the C-suite at Alkermes, staying in-house by tapping Blair Jackson as COO and Iain Brown as CFO. Jackson, who began his tenure at Alkermes in 1999, moves up from the SVP post in corporate planning he held for 18 years. Continuing a run with Alkermes that dates to 2003, Brown was SVP and chief accounting officer prior to the promotion.