Peer Review

David Meeker starts a new biotech chapter in his career; Sam Kulkarni takes the helm at CRISPR

David Meeker left Genzyme last April after a 23-year run, including six years as president after Sanofi stepped in to buy the landmark biotech six years ago. Five months later, after adding a string of biotech board positions to his schedule, Meeker has landed his next big gig in biotech running KSQ Therapeutics in Cambridge, MA. At KSQ, he says, you can start an experiment using cutting edge technology and no bias about outcomes. With CRISPR,“we can study all 20,000 genes in the genome across a multitude of disease models and find out which of those targets has the biggest impact in modulating the disease. We can do it one shot, 20,000 genes at a time.”

Sam Kulkarni

→ After steering CRISPR Therapeutics to an IPO last year as the last of the big three gene editing companies to make the leap into the public markets, founding CEO Rodger Novak is stepping down and handing the reins over to the original chief business development officer, Samarth Kulkarni. There’s no specific reason given for Novak’s departure, other than the generic “personal reasons” often cited during these kinds of changeups. Novak is staying on the board.

Shafique Virani, a business development exec at Roche/Genentech, has been named the new CEO of Navire Pharma. Partnering with MD Anderson, the biotech will work on inhibiting SHP2 in fighting cancer tumors. “Navire’s compounds potently bind SHP2 and prevent activation of the protein, blocking its ability to promote tumor growth,” said Virani. BridgeBio is bankrolling the startup to the tune of $30 million.

Loan Hoang-Sayag is exiting her post as CMO at Cellectis, effective immediately. Mathieu Simon, the COO/EVP of the immunotherapy company, will be stepping in as the interim.

Angelo Moesslang has joined InGeneron as their new CEO. Formerly, Moesslang was the CFO at Fresenius Medical Care North America, where he worked his way up starting in 1995.

Halozyme Therapeutics‘ chief operating officer Mark Gergen is leaving to “pursue professional opportunities outside the Company.”

Sumita Ray is the new general counsel of Calithera Biosciences.

→ Adverum Biotechnologies has added Linda Neuman as VP of clinical development. She hails from Sunesis Pharmaceuticals.

→  Stefan Oelrich worked his way up and is now the executive vice president of Sanofi’s diabetes & cardiovascular unit.

Ganesh Kaundinya has been promoted to the COO/CSO gig at Momenta. He is one of the co-founders of the Cambridge, MA-based company.

Immunocore has appointed Andrew Hotchkiss as their new chief commercial officer. Previously, he worked at Eli Lilly, beginning in ’96.

→  Margo Heath-Chiozzi is now SVP of regulatory affairs at Celldex Therapeutics.

→  Amit Shah is the CFO at Marina Biotech.

ContraFect’s new COO is Lisa Ricciardi.



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