Cher­ry Thomas joins Cari­bou as SVP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment; Ar­tax locks in Joseph Lobac­ki as CEO

Cher­ry Thomas

→ CRISPR genome edit­ing play­er Cari­bou Bio­sciences has ap­point­ed Cher­ry Thomas as SVP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, a new­ly-cre­at­ed po­si­tion. Thomas jumps to Berke­ley-based Cari­bou from Ar­ray Bio­phar­ma, where she was VP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment of their on­col­o­gy di­vi­sion. She’s al­so been the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at BeiGene.

Joseph Lobac­ki

→ Not on­ly has au­toim­mune dis­ease-fo­cused Ar­tax Bio­phar­ma brought Joseph Lobac­ki to the helm as CEO, but the Cam­bridge, Mass­a­chu­setts-based com­pa­ny has al­so made some new ad­di­tions to its man­age­ment team. Lobac­ki takes over the reins from Damia Tor­mo, who re­mains on the com­pa­ny’s board of di­rec­tors. Lobac­ki joins the team af­ter a stint at Ve­rastem as EVP and CCO and as COO of Finch Ther­a­peu­tics. In ad­di­tion, Lobac­ki has held posts at Medi­va­tion, Mi­cromet and Gen­zyme.

Join­ing Lobac­ki are Chris Van­Deusen as CSO, Richard Polis­son as CMO and Bris­tol My­ers vet Karen LaRochelle as CBO. Both Van­Deusen and Polis­son hop aboard from Sanofi Gen­zyme, while LaRochelle hails from PsiOxus Ther­a­peu­tics.

Michelle Mc­Mur­ry-Heath

BIO has se­lect­ed its next CEO to suc­ceed James Green­wood as one of biotech’s top lob­by­ists. Michelle Mc­Mur­ry-Heath has joined the fray, af­ter spend­ing more than 5 years large­ly cen­tered on reg­u­la­to­ry work for J&J, spe­cial­iz­ing in de­vices. Mc­Mur­ry-Heath jumped in­to the in­dus­try from the FDA, where she was as­so­ciate di­rec­tor for sci­ence, cen­ter for de­vices and ra­di­o­log­i­cal health. Mc­Mur­ry-Heath’s ré­sumé in­cludes a stint on Capi­tol Hill, work­ing for for­mer Sen­a­tor Joe Lieber­man.

Green­wood came to BIO straight from Con­gress, where he had been a play­er in the House for 6 terms. That made him in­stru­men­tal in gain­ing pas­sage of key leg­is­la­tion — per­haps most no­tably the ex­tend­ed patent pro­tec­tion en­joyed by bi­o­log­ics. Green­wood knew many of the key law­mak­ers on a first-name ba­sis, af­ter cre­at­ing bi­par­ti­san re­la­tion­ships that clear­ly played to the ad­van­tage of biotech.

Michael Var­ney is step­ping away from his top post in Genen­tech R&D, and the sto­ried biotech is pluck­ing a star cell ex­pert from the Broad as his re­place­ment. In a state­ment, Roche CEO Sev­erin Schwan high­light­ed their in­ter­est in tap­ping Aviv Regev’s knowl­edge of “da­ta-based drug dis­cov­ery and de­vel­op­ment,” one of the mantras de­vel­op­ing in Big Phar­ma re­search. Regev — a mem­ber of the Na­tion­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences — will be step­ping away from her job as fac­ul­ty chair and ex­ec­u­tive team mem­ber at the Broad In­sti­tute of Har­vard and MIT, her role as a pro­fes­sor at MIT as well as an in­ves­ti­ga­tor with the vir­tu­al Howard Hugh­es Med­ical In­sti­tute.

Regev will now be tak­ing a lead­ing role in a $10 bil­lion re­search or­ga­ni­za­tion as head of Genen­tech Re­search and Ear­ly De­vel­op­ment, bet­ter known as gRED to Basel-based pRED, and join­ing the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee at Roche.

Joseph Tru­itt

BioSpecifics, a Delaware-based bio­phar­ma fo­cused on col­la­ge­nase-based ther­a­pies with its first-in-class prod­uct Xi­aflex, has re­moved the in­ter­im tag from Joseph Tru­itt and he will be the per­ma­nent CEO. He was named in­ter­im CEO by the board of di­rec­tors on April 6. Tru­itt has moved to BioSpecifics from Achillion, where he joined the com­pa­ny in 2009 and filled the roles of CCO and COO be­fore be­ing pro­mot­ed to CEO in May 2018.

Mi­cro­bi­ot­i­ca — which struck a $534 mil­lion mi­cro­bio­me pact with Roche in 2018 — has an­nounced the pass­ing of the com­pa­ny’s chair­man, Thomas Lynch. Lynch served as chair­man for the com­pa­ny since Sep­tem­ber 2019. Sam Williams, in­vestor di­rec­tor for IP Group, will serve as act­ing chair­man.

→ With its liq­uid-biop­sy tech­nol­o­gy EpiCheck, de­signed for ear­ly de­tec­tion in can­cers, Nu­cle­ix is ex­pand­ing op­er­a­tions in­to the Unit­ed States and ush­er­ing in new lead­er­ship. In ad­di­tion to its of­fices in Is­rael, Nu­cle­ix will ex­pand to San Diego and has named Chris Hi­b­berd CEO and Todd My­ers CFO of the Cal­i­for­nia op­er­a­tion. Hi­b­berd and My­ers come to Nu­cle­ix from As­tute Med­ical, where Hi­b­berd was CEO and co-founder and My­ers was CFO. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, Nu­cle­ix has reeled in Eyal Miller as GM for Eu­rope, Mid­dle East and Africa (EMEA). Miller was pre­vi­ous­ly the VP & head of the health­care di­vi­sion at Strata­sys.

Jeff Bai­ley

Jeff Bai­ley is tak­ing on the role of in­ter­im CEO at BioDe­liv­ery Sci­ences (BD­SI), whose prod­ucts tack­le se­ri­ous and de­bil­i­tat­ing con­di­tions. Bai­ley had been a board mem­ber at BD­SI, based in the Re­search Tri­an­gle area in Raleigh, since March. He was the CEO of Il­lu­mi­nOss Med­ical, which was ac­quired last month by Health­point Cap­i­tal, and the pres­i­dent and CEO of Lan­theus Med­ical Imag­ing. He al­so had a stint at No­var­tis and had a 22-year tenure at J&J.

Vivek Ra­maswamy‘s gene ther­a­py com­pa­ny Spirovant Sci­ences — look­ing to out­bid ri­val Ver­tex in treat­ing cys­tic fi­bro­sishas brought on Roland Kol­beck as CSO. Most re­cent­ly, Kol­beck served as VP, head of res­pi­ra­to­ry, in­flam­ma­tion and au­toim­mune re­search at Med­Im­mune, As­traZeneca‘s glob­al bi­o­log­ics or­ga­ni­za­tion — where he led the de­vel­op­ment of FASEN­RA, a bi­o­log­i­cal for the treat­ment of se­vere eosinophilic asth­ma.

Don Mar­vin

→ Re­unit­ing with chair­man and CEO Dale Pfost at New York-based Lo­do Ther­a­peu­ticsDon Mar­vin has been en­list­ed as EVP and CFO. Mar­vin and Pfost were at Or­chid Bio­sciences to­geth­er in the ear­ly 2000s, where Mar­vin was COO, CFO and SVP of cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment. The chair­man of Con­cen­tric af­ter five years as pres­i­dent and CEO, Mar­vin al­so helmed Identi­GEN and Di­a­tron Cor­po­ra­tion.

→ San Fran­cis­co Bay Area-based Bolt Ther­a­peu­tics —de­vel­op­ing im­mune-stim­u­lat­ing an­ti­body con­ju­gates (ISACs) to treat can­cer — has snagged William Quinn as CFO. Pri­or to his ap­point­ment, Quinn was CFO and SVP, fi­nance and cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment of Sune­sis. Quinn pre­vi­ous­ly held an 8-year stint at Jazz Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and was al­so CEO and co-founder of Bul­let Tech­nol­o­gy.

→ Af­ter Kel­ly Mar­tin suc­ceed­ed him as pres­i­dent and CEO of Ra­dius Health, As­cendis Phar­ma has tapped Jes­per Høi­land as glob­al chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer. Be­fore Ra­dius, Høi­land spent 29 years at No­vo Nordisk, cul­mi­nat­ing in a three-year run as pres­i­dent and SVP, USA.

Jeanne Ma­gram

Third Rock Ven­tures part­ner Christoph Lengauer is no longer in­ter­im CSO at the place he co-found­ed, Cel­sius Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. Jeanne Ma­gram has now tak­en over as CSO, as Lengauer stays in both his ad­vi­so­ry role and as a board mem­ber. A Pfiz­er and Boehringer In­gel­heim vet, Ma­gram was CSO at Quen­tis Ther­a­peu­tics and the found­ing CSO at North­ern Bi­o­log­ics. Mean­while, Xilio CEO René Rus­so has been named to Cel­sius’ board of di­rec­tors.

→ Be­cause of Covid-19 and “re­duced cor­po­rate ac­tiv­i­ty in busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and pro­mo­tion,” cannabi­noid-fo­cused Tetra Bio-Phar­ma has deemed pres­i­dent Syl­vain Chre­tien’s po­si­tion non-es­sen­tial and they have ac­cept­ed his res­ig­na­tion. CEO Guy Cham­ber­land, CFO Sabi­no Di Pao­la and COO Steeve Néron will han­dle Chre­tien’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

Kim Sablich

→ Dublin-based Jazz Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has re­cruit­ed Kim Sablich as their EVP and GM of North Amer­i­ca, ef­fec­tive June 1. Sablich has been My­ovant’s CCO since No­vem­ber 2018. Pri­or to My­ovant, Sablich was GSK’s VP, pri­ma­ry care mar­ket­ing in the US and al­so spent 15 years at Mer­ck.

→ With CEO William Chou in his first year, Aru­vant now has Joseph McIn­tosh step­ping in as CMO. McIn­tosh comes to Aru­vant, which tar­gets se­vere blood dis­or­ders, from PTC Ther­a­peu­tics, where he was SVP, head of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and shep­herd­ed the ap­proval of the Duchenne mus­cu­lar dy­s­tro­phy drug Translar­na as VP of de­vel­op­ment. He’s al­so been with NPS Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Ei­sai and Pfiz­er.

CorMedix, which fo­cus­es on in­fec­tious and in­flam­ma­to­ry dis­eases, has se­lect­ed Matt David as EVP and CFO. Be­fore join­ing the NJ-based bio­phar­ma, David was head of strat­e­gy at Ovid Ther­a­peu­tics. David has over 15 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in health­care in­vest­ment bank­ing, no­tably at Bank of Amer­i­ca, and al­so as an eq­ui­ty an­a­lyst.

Al­lan Shaw

→ Im­muno-on­col­o­gy play­er Portage has called up­on Al­lan Shaw to be CFO, re­plac­ing Kam Shah. Pri­or to join­ing Toron­to-based Portage, Shaw has been a CFO on four pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions: at Syn­dax Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals (where he was al­so trea­sur­er), Serono, NewLead Hold­ings and Vi­a­tel. He al­so found­ed Shaw Strate­gic Cap­i­tal in 2005.

De­bra Feld­man has joined the ranks at At­las-backed Dyne Ther­a­peu­tics as VP, head of reg­u­la­to­ry. Most re­cent­ly, Feld­man helped lead Sage Ther­a­peu­tics through its ap­proval of Zul­res­so as VP, reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs.

Bill Haney-led up­start Drag­on­fly Ther­a­peu­tics has named Tapan Ma­niar as SVP and head of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. Ma­niar leaps aboard from Reper­toire Im­mune Med­i­cines, where he was in the same role. Pri­or to that, Ma­niar was se­nior di­rec­tor of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Atara Bio­ther­a­peu­tics and glob­al de­vel­op­ment lead at Am­gen.

Machelle Manuel has joined Cam­bridge, MA-based Amy­lyx Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, which fo­cus­es on ALS, Alzheimer’s and oth­er neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases, as VP, head of glob­al med­ical af­fairs. Manuel had just spent eight years at Iron­wood Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, where she was head of glob­al med­ical sci­en­tif­ic af­fairs and part of the ini­tial med­ical af­fairs lead­er­ship team.

→ Ex­o­some biotech Evox Ther­a­peu­tics has tapped Gilead vet Paul Carter as non-ex­ec­u­tive chair­man. Carter cur­rent­ly has di­rec­tor­ships at Hutchi­son Chi­na MediTech and Mallinkrodt Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, and un­til April, he was a di­rec­tor at Alder Bio­phar­ma. Dur­ing his time at Gilead, Carter was the EVP, chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer and the SVP, head of com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions, in­ter­na­tion­al mar­kets. He was al­so at re­gion­al VP of Chi­na and Hong Kong at GSK.

→ No­var­tis-backed Al­tim­mune has en­list­ed for­mer Pfiz­er ex­ec Di­ane Jorkasky to its board of di­rec­tors. Dur­ing her time at Pfiz­er, Jorkasky served as VP of glob­al clin­i­cal re­search op­er­a­tions. In ad­di­tion, Jorkasky held ex­ec posts at En­do Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Aileron Ther­a­peu­tics.

Bharat Tewarie has jumped on the board of di­rec­tors at Bay Area start­up Alveo Tech­nolo­gies, which an­nounced a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Janssen Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals in April to bring its be.well plat­form to mar­ket. Tewarie found­ed Boston Bio­Phar­ma Con­sul­tants in Jan­u­ary and was the EVP, CMO and mem­ber of the Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee at UCB.

Health­care Dis­par­i­ties and Sick­le Cell Dis­ease

In the complicated U.S. healthcare system, navigating a serious illness such as cancer or heart disease can be remarkably challenging for patients and caregivers. When that illness is classified as a rare disease, those challenges can become even more acute. And when that rare disease occurs in a population that experiences health disparities, such as people with sickle cell disease (SCD) who are primarily Black and Latino, challenges can become almost insurmountable.

David Meek, new Mirati CEO (Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fresh off Fer­Gene's melt­down, David Meek takes over at Mi­rati with lead KRAS drug rac­ing to an ap­proval

In the insular world of biotech, a spectacular failure can sometimes stay on any executive’s record for a long time. But for David Meek, the man at the helm of FerGene’s recent implosion, two questionable exits made way for what could be an excellent rebound.

Meek, most recently FerGene’s CEO and a past head at Ipsen, has become CEO at Mirati Therapeutics, taking the reins from founding CEO Charles Baum, who will step over into the role of president and head of R&D, according to a release.

Dave Lennon, former president of Novartis Gene Therapies

Zol­gens­ma patent spat brews be­tween No­var­tis and Re­genxbio as top No­var­tis gene ther­a­py ex­ec de­parts

Regenxbio, a small licensor of gene therapy viral vectors spun out from the University of Pennsylvania, is now finding itself in the middle of some major league patent fights.

In addition to a patent suit with Sarepta Therapeutics from last September, Novartis, is now trying to push its smaller partner out of the way. The Swiss biopharma licensed Regenxbio’s AAV9 vector for its $2.1 million spinal muscular atrophy therapy Zolgensma.

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Ex­elix­is pulls a sur­prise win in thy­roid can­cer just days ahead of fi­nal Cabome­tyx read­out

Exelixis added a thyroid cancer indication to its super-seller Cabometyx’s label on Friday — months before the FDA was expected to make a decision, and days before the company was set to unveil the final data at #ESMO21.

At a median follow-up of 10.1 months, differentiated thyroid cancer patients treated with Cabometyx (cabozantinib) lived a median of 11 months without their disease worsening, compared to just 1.9 months for patients given a placebo, Exelixis said on Monday.

Volker Wagner (L) and Jeff Legos

As Bay­er, No­var­tis stack up their ra­dio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal da­ta at #ES­MO21, a key de­bate takes shape

Ten years ago, a small Norwegian biotech by the name of Algeta showed up at ESMO — then the European Multidisciplinary Cancer Conference 2011 — and declared that its Bayer-partnered targeted radionuclide therapy, radium-223 chloride, boosted the overall survival of castration-resistant prostate cancer patients with symptomatic bone metastases.

In a Phase III study dubbed ALSYMPCA, patients who were treated with radium-223 chloride lived a median of 14 months compared to 11.2 months. The FDA would stamp an approval on it based on those data two years later, after Bayer snapped up Algeta and christened the drug Xofigo.

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Den­mark's Gubra to col­lab­o­rate with Bay­er on pep­tides; Sam­sung and Bio­gen re­ceive FDA ap­proval for Lu­cen­tis biosim­i­lar

Danish biotech Gubra announced a research collaboration and license agreement with Bayer to develop peptide therapeutics to treat cardiorenal diseases. The collaboration will utilize Gubra’s peptide drug discovery platform to identify potential candidates.

This is not the first time Gubra has partnered with a company on peptide therapeutics — they partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim back in 2017 to create peptide therapeutics to treat obesity.

Ex-My­lan em­ploy­ee pleads guilty to in­sid­er trad­ing, il­le­gal­ly deal­ing on FDA ap­provals, earn­ings and Up­john merg­er

A former Mylan IT executive pleaded guilty Friday to an insider trading scheme where he bought and sold stock options on another executive’s advice.

Prosecutors secured the plea from Dayakar Mallu, Mylan’s former VP of global operations information technology, after uncovering the plan. Mallu collaborated with an unnamed “senior manager,” the SEC said, to trade options ahead of Mylan public announcements regarding FDA approvals, revenue reports and its merger with the Pfizer generics subsidiary Upjohn. The two subsequently shared profits.

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Rafaèle Tordjman (Jeito Capital)

Con­ti­nu­ity and di­ver­si­ty: Rafaèle Tord­j­man's women-led VC firm tops out first fund at $630M

For a first-time fund, Jeito Capital talks a lot about continuity.

Rafaèle Tordjman had spotlighted that concept ever since she started building the firm in 2018, promising to go the extra mile(s) with biotech entrepreneurs while pushing them to reach patients faster.

Coincidentally, the lack of continuity was one of the sore spots listed in a report about the European healthcare sector published that same year by the European Investment Bank — whose fund is one of the LPs, alongside the American pension fund Teacher Retirement System of Texas and Singapore’s Temasek, to help Jeito close its first fund at $630 million (€534 million). As previously reported, Sanofi had chimed in €50 million, marking its first investment in a French life sciences fund.

Mi­rati tri­umphs again in KRAS-mu­tat­ed lung can­cer with a close­ly watched FDA fil­ing now in the cards

After a busy weekend at #ESMO21, which included a big readout for its KRAS drug adagrasib in colon cancer, Mirati Therapeutics is ready to keep the pressure on competitor Amgen with lung cancer data that will undergird an upcoming filing.

In topline results from a Phase II cohort of its KRYSTAL-1 study, adagrasib posted a response rate of 43% in second-line-or-later patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer containing a KRAS-G12C mutation, Mirati said Monday.