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Amanda Wagner, Immunitas CEO

Out to prove the next big I/O tar­get, Im­mu­ni­tas' chief deal­mak­er steps up to CEO role

To Amanda Wagner, the past two years or so she’s spent at Immunitas feels like a microcosm of her entire career up to now.

Trained in neuroscience and equipped with an MBA, Wagner’s 16-year biopharma career could be split into a first half in R&D and a second in corporate finance and business development. She was consulting for the Longwood Fund in 2019 when the VC firm pulled her aside to talk about a new immuno-oncology company it was incubating.

Uğur Şahin, BioNTech CEO (ddp images/Sipa USA/Sipa via AP Images)

BioN­Tech CEO in­ter­view: On boost­ers, the fu­ture of Covid-19, and the plan to make and ship the next vac­cine in 3 months

For the first time since the pandemic began, BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin made his way to the US, this time for a cancer drug conference in Washington, DC, last week. Prior to presenting his company’s poster on early, promising data for its CLDN6-targeted CAR-T, Şahin sat down with a small group of reporters and discussed his company’s blockbuster Covid-19 vaccine, and what’s to be expected from the pandemic moving forward.

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Glen de Vries (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

Me­di­da­ta So­lu­tions co-founder Glen de Vries dies in plane crash

Glen de Vries, the co-founder of the clinical IT software giant Medidata Solutions, died in a plane crash last week.

Emergency crews found the wreckage of a Cessna 172 in a wooded area in northern New Jersey on Thursday. De Vries was an instrument-rated private pilot, though authorities have not yet said who was piloting the plane. He was with his flight instructor Thomas Fischer, 54, and the plane was headed to Sussex Airport from Essex County Airport in Caldwell. He had started his private pilot training with Fischer in February 2016. Fischer opened the flight school with his wife Jodi in March 2012.

Robert Califf (Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP Images, File)

UP­DAT­ED: It’s Califf: Biden picks the for­mer FDA com­mish to head back to the helm

Confirming one of the worst kept secrets in Washington, Robert Califf has been nominated on Friday to lead the FDA for a second time.

It’s an announcement biopharma has anxiously been waiting for, although not a surprising one. After vetting multiple names churned out by the rumor mills, President Joe Biden’s final choice is one both the industry and agency insiders have hailed as the perfect one.

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The Edge (L) and Bono of U2 performing at O2 Arena in London in 2018 (KGC-138/STAR MAX/IPx via AP Images)

Bono in­vests in biotech? Pep­tide play­er is head­ed to the US — with celebri­ty in­vestors back­ing its move

Even celebrities are piqued by biotech these days. For Bono and The Edge, it appears they’ve found what they’re looking for — and they’re willing to put their money on it.

The Irish peptide biotech Nuritas closed a $45 million Series B, an event which gained some added exposure through their front men from Dublin: U2’s The Edge and the man himself — Bono.

Nuritas’s round, led by Chicago-based investor Cleveland Avenue, includes the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF), Vertex Holdings and more. The Series B also more than doubles what Nuritas had raised previously, bringing the biotech to $75 million raised in total.

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Site of bluebird's new headquarters at 455 Grand Union Blvd, Assembly Row (Photo credit: Aram Boghosian)

Fresh off cor­po­rate split, blue­bird bio plots new hy­brid head­quar­ters at Somerville's As­sem­bly Row

Recouping from a series of setbacks for its gene therapy business, bluebird bio successfully bisected itself earlier this week as part of a big rebrand around genetic disease. Now, with its future still in the wind, bluebird has found a new nest.

Bluebird has signed a lease for a new 61,000 square-foot headquarters at Assembly Row in Somerville, MA, that the newly stripped-down biotech envisions as its hybrid home base of the future after spinning off its oncology business earlier this week.

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From left: Cara CEO Derek Chalmers and board member Christopher Posner

Weeks in­to first ap­proval, Cara waves good­bye to found­ing CEO in fa­vor of board mem­ber

A biotech’s first drug approval is a process often years in the making and a crowning achievement for founder-CEOs who have run the race from the beginning. After 17 years watching Cara Therapeutics grow to a commercial brand, this biotech’s founding CEO is now ready to move on to his next phase.

Cara has appointed Christopher Posner, a current board member and former CEO of Leo Pharma’s US branch, as its next leader, replacing founding CEO Derek Chalmers, the company said Wednesday. Chalmers will move over into a senior advisory role, with Posner set to take on the mantle Nov. 9.

Tal Zaks

Tal Zak­s' post-Mod­er­na fu­ture is now in view as he joins biotech VC blue-chip­per Or­biMed

It’s hard to imagine what comes next for a physician-scientist who’s developed one of the most lucrative vaccines in biopharma history. On Monday — a month after leaving his post at Moderna — Tal Zaks cleared up some of the mystery, announcing a new gig at a leading startup engine.

Zaks is joining OrbiMed along with Sheila Gujrathi, former CEO and co-founder of Gossamer Bio. They’ll be taking venture partner and venture advisor roles, respectively, to help find and fund the next breakthroughs in drug development.

Daniel Faga (L) and Joseph Leveque (Mirati)

Weeks in­to CEO shake­up, Mi­rati bids adieu to a pair of C-suit­ers with KRAS drug fil­ing around the cor­ner

Mirati is on the cusp of emerging as the sole challenger against Amgen in the suddenly hot KRAS inhibitor market and thinks it has the man to take it across the finish line. But new leadership often means shakeups, and now two Mirati execs are being shown the door.

Mirati CMO Joseph Leveque and Daniel Faga, the biotech’s chief operating officer and principal financial officer, have both departed the company as it enters the homestretch for filing its KRAS drug adagrasib with the FDA, Mirati revealed in an SEC filing Monday.

John Maraganore, Alnylam CEO (Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

'I want to be a grand­dad': Why John Maraganore left and where he (and Al­ny­lam) are go­ing

John Maraganore knew that people would be surprised when Alnylam announced his departure this morning after 19 years as CEO of the company. But he said it shouldn’t come as too much of a shock.

“Nineteen years as a CEO leading Alnylam has been the greatest joy of my life, but 19 years has been a long time,” he said in an interview Thursday morning. That’s “being in the 24/7 operational mode of running a company for 19 years.”