Di­a­betes-fo­cused Pox­el names Eli Lil­ly vet David Moller as CSO; Ac­celeron's CBO hops ship to lead start­up

→ Af­ter pass­ing their third straight Phase III tri­al for its new kind of di­a­betes tablet in Japan, French phar­ma Pox­el has tapped David Moller as CSO. Moller has fo­cused his ca­reer in the fields of di­a­betes and meta­bol­ic dis­or­ders. He most re­cent­ly served as CSO at Sig­ilon Ther­a­peu­tics and has pre­vi­ous­ly com­plet­ed stints at Eli Lil­ly, as VP of en­docrine and car­dio­vas­cu­lar re­search and clin­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and Mer­ck, as VP of meta­bol­ic dis­or­ders. With his new role, Moller will be based in Boston.

→ Af­ter nab­bing an ok from the FDA for their be­ta-tha­lassemia drug Re­blozyl with their part­ner Cel­gene to treat ane­mia in adults who re­quire reg­u­lar trans­fu­sions, Ac­celeron‘s EVP and CBO John Quisel is hit­ting the ex­it. Quisel is head­ing to helm a ven­ture-backed start­up biotech com­pa­ny as CEO, though Ac­celeron isn’t say­ing which com­pa­ny that is. Quisel joined Ac­celeron in 2006.

Vivek Ra­maswamy‘s Roivant Sci­ences sub­sidiary Der­ma­vant has named Chris Chap­man as CCO. Chap­man joined the der­ma­tol­ogy-fo­cused com­pa­ny af­ter his re­cent stint as VP and gen­er­al man­ag­er, US pre­scrip­tion busi­ness for Gal­der­ma. Pri­or to his time at Gal­der­ma, Chap­man served in roles at Pfiz­er, Medicis Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and con­sult­ing firm The Core Ac­cess Group.

John Quisel Ac­celeron

→ San­thera Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals — who, back in Au­gust, boast­ed pos­i­tive Phase IIa da­ta for their al­ter­na­tive steroid va­morolone — has brought on An­drew Smith as CFO. Most re­cent­ly, Smith served as the CFO and COO of Al­le­cra Ther­a­peu­tics. Pri­or to that, he did a stint as CFO at Su­cam­po Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

→ CBD Em­po­ri­um — a re­tail­er of cannabid­i­ol prod­ucts — has snagged Paul Stein­berg as COO. Stein­berg’s pre­vi­ous stints in­clude roles at Abrax­is Bio­science (ac­quired by Cel­gene), PPD, Novel­la Clin­i­cal (a Quin­tiles com­pa­ny) and Sim­bec-Ori­on.

→ Sum­mit Ther­a­peu­tics — fo­cused on the de­vel­op­ment of an­tibi­otics — has an­nounced that its COO, CMO and pres­i­dent of R&D, David Rob­lin, is re­sign­ing. Rob­lin joined the com­pa­ny in ear­ly 2017.

→ Can­cer-fo­cused Avac­ta Group has wel­comed GSK vet Paul Fry as non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. Fry hopped over to the com­pa­ny af­ter serv­ing as in­ter­im CEO at Vec­tura Group as well as CFO of the com­pa­ny. Pre­vi­ous­ly, Fry held roles at Im­muno­core and Voda­fone.

Per­ci­val Bar­ret­to-Ko Astel­las

→ The for­mer pres­i­dent and COO of Sarep­ta Ther­a­peu­tics, Alan Tim­mins, has hopped aboard Cy­to­Dyn — cur­rent­ly de­vel­op­ing a CCR5 an­tag­o­nist, leron­limab (PRO 140) — as a mem­ber of the board of di­rec­tors as an in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tor and chair of the board’s au­dit com­mit­tee.

Be­yond­Spring, a can­cer-fo­cused biotech with deep roots in Chi­na, has brought on Roche vet Daniel Zabrows­ki and the com­pa­ny’s CMO and EVP, R&D Ra­mon Ma­han­lal to its board of di­rec­tors.

Astel­las Phar­ma’s US pres­i­dent Per­ci­val Bar­ret­to-Ko has joined the board of di­rec­tors, for a three-year long term, of health-fo­cused re­lief and de­vel­op­ment or­ga­ni­za­tion Ameri­cares.

BiTE® Plat­form and the Evo­lu­tion To­ward Off-The-Shelf Im­muno-On­col­o­gy Ap­proach­es

Despite rapid advances in the field of immuno-oncology that have transformed the cancer treatment landscape, many cancer patients are still left behind.1,2 Not every person has access to innovative therapies designed specifically to treat his or her disease. Many currently available immuno-oncology-based approaches and chemotherapies have brought long-term benefits to some patients — but many patients still need other therapeutic options.3

Drug man­u­fac­tur­ing gi­ant Lon­za taps Roche/phar­ma ‘rein­ven­tion’ vet as its new CEO

Lonza chairman Albert Baehny took his time headhunting a new CEO for the company, making it absolutely clear he wanted a Big Pharma or biotech CEO with a good long track record in the business for the top spot. In the end, he went with the gold standard, turning to Roche’s ranks to recruit Pierre-Alain Ruffieux for the job.

Ruffieux, a member of the pharma leadership team at Roche, spent close to 5 years at the company. But like a small army of manufacturing execs, he gained much of his experience at the other Big Pharma in Basel, remaining at Novartis for 12 years before expanding his horizons.

David Meline (file photo)

Mod­er­na’s new CFO took a cut in salary to jump to the mR­NA rev­o­lu­tion­ary. But then there’s the rest of the com­pen­sa­tion pack­age

David Meline took a little off the top of his salary when he jumped from the CFO post at giant Amgen to become the numbers czar at the upstart vaccines revolutionary Moderna. But the SEC filing that goes with a major hire also illustrates how it puts him in line for a fortune — provided the biotech player makes good as a promising game changer.

To be sure, there’s nothing wrong with the base salary: $600,000. Or the up-to 50% annual cash bonus — an industry standard — that comes with it. True, the 62-year-old earned $999,000 at Amgen in 2019, but it’s the stock options that really count in the current market bliss for all things biopharma. And there Meline did well.

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Covid-19 roundup: Ab­b­Vie jumps in­to Covid-19 an­ti­body hunt; As­traZeneca shoots for 2B dos­es of Ox­ford vac­cine — with $750M from CEPI, Gavi

Another Big Pharma is entering the Covid-19 antibody hunt.

AbbVie has announced a collaboration with the Netherlands’ Utrecht University and Erasmus Medical Center and the Chinese-Dutch biotech Harbour Biomed to develop a neutralizing antibody that can treat Covid-19. The antibody, called 47D11, was discovered by AbbVie’s three partners, and AbbVie will support early preclinical work, while preparing for later preclinical and clinical development.

President Donald Trump (left) and Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed (Alex Brandon, AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: White House names fi­nal­ists for Op­er­a­tion Warp Speed — with 5 ex­pect­ed names and one no­table omis­sion

A month after word first broke of the Trump Administration’s plan to rapidly accelerate the development and production of a Covid-19 vaccine, the White House has selected the five vaccine candidates they consider most likely to succeed, The New York Times reported.

Most of the names in the plan, known as Operation Warp Speed, will come as little surprise to those who have watched the last four months of vaccine developments: Moderna, which was the first vaccine to reach humans and is now the furthest along of any US effort; J&J, which has not gone into trials but received around $500 million in funding from BARDA earlier this year; the joint AstraZeneca-Oxford venture which was granted $1.2 billion from BARDA two weeks ago; Pfizer, which has been working with the mRNA biotech BioNTech; and Merck, which just entered the race and expects to put their two vaccine candidates into humans later this year.

Por­tion of Neil Wood­ford’s re­main­ing in­vest­ments, in­clud­ing Nanopore, sold off for $284 mil­lion

It’s been precisely one year and one day since Neil Woodford froze his once-vaunted fund, and while a global pandemic has recently shielded him from the torrent of headlines, the fallout continues.

Today, the California-based patent licensing firm Acacia Research acquired the fund’s shares for 19 healthcare and biotech companies for $284 million.  Those companies include shares for public and private companies and count some of Woodford’s most prominent bio-bets, such as Theravance Biopharma, Oxford Nanopore and Mereo Biopharma, according to Sky News, which first reported the sale. It won’t include shares for BenevelontAI, the machine learning biotech once valued at $2 billion.

Is a pow­er­house Mer­ck team prepar­ing to leap past Roche — and leave Gilead and Bris­tol My­ers be­hind — in the race to TIG­IT dom­i­na­tion?

Roche caused quite a stir at ASCO with its first look at some positive — but not so impressive — data for their combination of Tecentriq with their anti-TIGIT drug tiragolumab. But some analysts believe that Merck is positioned to make a bid — soon — for the lead in the race to a second-wave combo immuno-oncology approach with its own ambitious early-stage program tied to a dominant Keytruda.

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Michael Gladstone, partner at Atlas Venture

At­las rais­es new $400M fund amid spree of VC rais­es. Here’s what they’ll spend it on

You can add another few hundred million to the now Montana-sized reservoir of cash biotech VCs have raised since the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic.

Atlas Venture, the prominent Kendall Square incubator, has raised $400 million for its twelfth biotech fund, their first in 3 years. After a string of mammoth new raises from other major VCs in April and May, the total pot now stands between $5 billion and $6 billion, depending on how you slice it.

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Pfiz­er’s Doug Gior­dano has $500M — and some ad­vice — to of­fer a cer­tain breed of 'break­through' biotech

So let’s say you’re running a cutting-edge, clinical-stage biotech, probably public, but not necessarily so, which could see some big advantages teaming up with some marquee researchers, picking up say $50 million to $75 million dollars in a non-threatening minority equity investment that could take you to the next level.

Doug Giordano might have some thoughts on how that could work out.

The SVP of business development at the pharma giant has helped forge a new fund called the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative. And he has $500 million of Pfizer’s money to put behind 7 to 10 — or so — biotech stocks that fit that general description.

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