Eli Lil­ly part­ner Ab­Cellera finds a CBO in the face of bam­lanivimab strug­gles; Fi­bro­Gen's next CSO walks in­to rox­adu­s­tat re­buff

Neil Berkley

→ Covid-19 vari­ants have marred the ef­fec­tive­ness of Eli Lil­ly and Ab­Cellera’s bam­lanivimab to such an ex­tent that the US gov­ern­ment stopped us­ing the mon­o­clon­al an­ti­body in March, fol­lowed by a sim­i­lar halt for the com­bo treat­ment with ete­se­vimab late last month. Ab­Cellera is nonethe­less press­ing on­ward with a new can­di­date for mild to mod­er­ate cas­es, LY-CoV1404, and this week Neil Berkley joined Carl Hansen’s squad as CBO. Berkley, a Glax­o­SmithK­line neu­ro­science vet­er­an, makes the leap from Halozyme, start­ing out at the San Diego biotech as head of on­col­o­gy glob­al part­ner­ing, cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment in 2019 and earn­ing a pro­mo­tion to VP, head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment.

→ Skunked by an FDA ad­comm’s em­phat­ic rox­adu­s­tat down­vote yes­ter­day, Fi­bro­Gen picked an in­ter­est­ing week to break in an­oth­er CSO with John Hunter get­ting the nod. His pre­de­ces­sor, Per­cy Carter, didn’t last a year be­fore he scam­pered off to Blue­print Med­i­cines in May to take that CSO job. Now it’s up to Hunter — the ex-chief sci­en­tist at Com­pu­gen — to dive in to this sit­u­a­tion af­ter a year as chief ex­ec­u­tive & sci­en­tif­ic of­fi­cer of Key­hole Ther­a­peu­tics.

Un­ease about rox­adu­s­tat’s safe­ty prompt­ed the Car­dio­vas­cu­lar and Re­nal Drugs Ad­vi­so­ry Com­mit­tee to vote against the ane­mia drug by wide mar­gins: 12-2 for pa­tients on dial­y­sis with ane­mia from chron­ic kid­ney dis­ease, and 13-1 for non-dial­y­sis pa­tients.

Joseph Ro­manel­li

RTW In­vest­ments-backed Ji Xing Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has tapped Joseph Ro­manel­li to steer the helm of the ship as CEO. Ro­manel­li comes aboard with ex­pe­ri­ence from his time at Mer­ck, where he most re­cent­ly served as pres­i­dent of MSD Chi­na — over­see­ing the coun­try’s launch­es of Keytru­da and Gar­dasil. In ad­di­tion to his stint as pres­i­dent, Ro­manel­li pre­vi­ous­ly served as pres­i­dent of US hu­man health and VP of in­vestor re­la­tions.

Wei­dong Zhong

→ For­mer Terns Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals CEO Wei­dong Zhong has turned up at Sci­wind Bio­sciences USA — the US sub­sidiary of Hangzhou Sci­wind Bio­sciences — as chief strat­e­gy of­fi­cer and pres­i­dent. Pri­or to found­ing Terns, Zhong was CFO of Night­star Ther­a­peu­tics, which was lat­er ac­quired by Bio­gen in a buy­out that has turned in­to a ma­jor headache. Zhong was the glob­al head of an­tivi­ral re­search at No­var­tis and the se­nior di­rec­tor of bi­ol­o­gy at Gilead. In Au­gust, Senthil Sun­daram took over as CEO of Terns, while Zhong set­tled in­to the roles of CSO and chair­man, but on­ly fleet­ing­ly.

Howard Liang

Tessera’s last big batch of ex­ecs rolled in this spring with ex-blue­bird CMO David David­son lead­ing the pack. This batch is even big­ger: CEO Ge­off von Maltzahn has pulled to­geth­er six more team­mates while pro­mot­ing an­oth­er at the Flag­ship-backed gene writ­ing biotech, head­lined by pres­i­dent and CFO Howard Liang, who was CFO and chief strat­e­gy of­fi­cer dur­ing his six-year run at BeiGene. Our Nicole De­Feud­is spoke with him be­fore Wednes­day’s an­nounce­ment.

Ce­cil­ia Cot­ta-Ra­musi­no

Here are the oth­er folks don­ning the Tessera jer­sey: Mad­husu­dan Pesh­wa (CTO for cell ther­a­py) had been CTO of Mana Ther­a­peu­tics and was CTO and glob­al head of R&D for GE Health­care’s cell and gene ther­a­pies busi­ness; Bill Querbes (SVP, ther­a­peu­tic dis­cov­ery & trans­la­tion­al sci­ences) is an Al­ny­lam vet who comes to Tessera af­ter his time as Avro­bio’s VP and Fab­ry pro­gram lead; Ce­cil­ia Cot­ta-Ra­musi­no (SVP, plat­form de­vel­op­ment) was em­ploy­ee no. 1 at in­sitro as head of func­tion­al ge­nomics af­ter her four years with Ed­i­tas Med­i­cine; Vikram Ranade tacks on SVP to his ti­tle af­ter join­ing Tessera last year as head of cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment; David Pol­lard (head of bio­process) logged more than two decades at Mer­ck and is the for­mer ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of process sci­ences at Kite; and fi­nal­ly, Steve Gar­bacz (head of fi­nance) made stops at Bio­gen, Epizyme, and Spero be­fore his most re­cent gig as VP, fi­nance and cor­po­rate con­troller for Ani­ka Ther­a­peu­tics.

Megan Baier­lein

→ There’s no off but­ton for the Au­dentes purge as Megan Baier­lein sets up shop at T cell re­cep­tor (TCR) biotech T-knife Ther­a­peu­tics as COO. Baier­lein was like­wise the COO at Au­dentes, now Astel­las Gene Ther­a­pies and rat­tled by the deaths of two pa­tients that could set back ap­proval of its gene ther­a­py at least un­til the mid­dle of 2022. She’s made oth­er stops along the way at Genen­tech, Bio­Marin, and Ul­tragenyx be­fore this new gig at Ver­sant-backed T-knife, which raked in a $78 mil­lion Se­ries A round al­most a year ago and named Thomas Soloway CEO in Jan­u­ary.

Mul­ti­ple Au­dentes staffers have since moved on to green­er pas­tures in the last sev­er­al months. With their new com­pa­nies in paren­the­ses, that list in­cludes CMO Ed­ward Con­ner (Lo­can­abio), CCO Er­ic Mos­brook­er (Cog­noa), SVP of tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions Don­ald Wuchterl (now Baier­lein’s col­league at T-knife), and SVP of hu­man re­sources Mary New­man (Taysha).

→ When last we saw Thomas Lars An­dresen, he co-found­ed and was CSO of Torque Ther­a­peu­tics, which Flag­ship then fused to­geth­er with Co­gen to form Reper­toire Im­mune Med­i­cines last year. Start­ing Aug. 1, An­der­sen be­comes CEO and a board mem­ber at  T-Cypher Bio, Ox­ford’s TCR biotech that broke free from Or­bit Dis­cov­ery in Feb­ru­ary. An­dresen al­so found­ed med­ical de­vice out­fit Nanovi and Mon­Ta Bio­sciences, both lo­cat­ed in Den­mark.

Bryan Dechairo

→ El­e­men­tary, my dear Peer Re­view­ers: Bryan Dechairo is suc­ceed­ing co-founder Rahul Dhan­da as pres­i­dent and CEO of Feng Zhang’s di­ag­nos­tic up­start Sher­lock Bio­sciences, which launched in 2019. A Pfiz­er vet in mol­e­c­u­lar med­i­cine, Dechairo was pre­vi­ous­ly Myr­i­ad Ge­net­ics’ SVP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, a po­si­tion he had held since 2017. Dhan­da re­mains a board mem­ber un­til the end of the year and then he will be­come a strate­gic ad­vi­sor in 2022 for Sher­lock, so named for its CRISPR-based tech­nol­o­gy plat­form (Spe­cif­ic High-sen­si­tiv­i­ty En­zy­mat­ic Re­porter un­LOCK­ing).

→ Af­ter launch­ing ear­ly last month with a $12.8 mil­lion seed round led by Take­da Ven­tures and the De­men­tia Dis­cov­ery Fund, Tran­sine Ther­a­peu­tics has plucked up Jan Thir­ket­tle as CEO. Thir­ket­tle is no stranger to the ex­ec­u­tive seat, hav­ing pre­vi­ous­ly served as CEO and chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer at Free­line Ther­a­peu­tics. Pri­or to his ca­reer at Free­line, Thir­ket­tle spent 18 years at GSK, in­clud­ing roles span­ning from dis­cov­ery to man­u­fac­tur­ing.

→  Start­ing Ju­ly 1, Philip Kantoff took on the CEO role at Cam­bridge, MA-based ra­dio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny Con­ver­gent Ther­a­peu­tics — with its lead can­di­date CONV 01-α be­ing de­vel­oped to treat prostate can­cer. Kantoff had been chair­man of the De­part­ment of Med­i­cine at Memo­r­i­al Sloan Ket­ter­ing since 2015, and was the long­time di­rec­tor of the Lank Cen­ter for Gen­i­touri­nary On­col­o­gy at Dana-Far­ber.

Re­bec­ca Cham­bers

→ Ge­nom­ic di­ag­nos­tics play­er Ve­r­a­cyte is be­com­ing an­oth­er Peer Re­view main­stay, with Re­bec­ca Cham­bers step­ping up to the plate as EVP and CFO just days af­ter CBO Rob Brain­in and chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer Bill Zondler were added to new CEO Marc Sta­p­ley’s team. Cham­bers just com­plet­ed a run as CFO at Out­set Med­ical and was VP, fi­nan­cial plan­ning & analy­sis to close out near­ly sev­en years at Il­lu­mi­na from 2012-19.

→ Jazzed about the obe-cel da­ta it pre­sent­ed to the Eu­ro­pean Hema­tol­ogy As­so­ci­a­tion for in­do­lent B cell non-Hodgkin lym­phoma, Lon­don-based Au­to­lus has ush­ered in Edgar Braen­dle as chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer. The No­var­tis on­col­o­gy vet just had a year-long stay as CMO and glob­al head of de­vel­op­ment with Sum­it­o­mo Dainip­pon Phar­ma On­col­o­gy. Au­to­lus named ex-Syn­cona chief Mar­tin Mur­phy chair­man in April af­ter trim­ming 20% of its work­force to kick off 2021.

Kel­ly Gold

Kel­ly Gold has the Mi­das touch at Camp4 Ther­a­peu­tics with her pro­mo­tion to CBO and SVP of fi­nance, while Michelle Gates steps in as SVP and chief peo­ple of­fi­cer. Gold has served as Camp4’s di­rec­tor, cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment & fi­nance and VP, cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment since punch­ing her tick­et out of Bio­gen in 2017. Gates had de­vot­ed her last 16 years to a se­ries of hu­man re­sources ca­pac­i­ties at Aka­mai Tech­nolo­gies be­fore this new po­si­tion at CEO Josh Man­del-Brehm’s re­gR­NA biotech.

One more Camp4 nugget: Mass Gen­er­al Brigham‘s chief aca­d­e­m­ic of­fi­cer Ravi Thad­hani takes a seat on the board of di­rec­tors.

→ Mak­ing its de­but in May with Alex­ion co-founder Stephen Squin­to as CEO and $40 mil­lion worth of fresh Se­ries A fund­ing at its dis­pos­al, Gen­nao Bio has locked in Chris Duke as COO. Duke used to be in charge of op­er­a­tions for Am­i­cus’ Japan­ese af­fil­i­ate and led the com­mer­cial­iza­tion in Tokyo for its Fab­ry dis­ease drug Galafold. He al­so has COO ex­pe­ri­ence from Ad­vax­is and was NPS Phar­ma’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of in­ter­na­tion­al com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, ex-Arch On­col­o­gy in­ter­im CEO and ubiq­ui­tous Peer Re­view pres­ence Julie Ham­ble­ton is now part of Gen­nao Bio’s board of di­rec­tors.

Kather­ine Ruffn­er

→ Once known as Trovagene, San Diego-based Cardiff On­col­o­gy has bulked up its C-suite with CMO Kather­ine Ruffn­er and CFO James Levine. Ruffn­er has worked in on­col­o­gy de­vel­op­ment with Pfiz­er, Bio­gen and Am­gen, and she comes to the on­va­nsert­ib biotech from ALX On­col­o­gy, where she was VP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. Since late 2018, Levine had been CFO with Cidara Ther­a­peu­tics, help­ing strike a deal this spring with J&J in which the phar­ma gi­ant staked up to $780 mil­lion on Cidara’s in­fluen­za drugs.

Gbo­la Amusa

→ Be­fore all the kids were do­ing it, Chardan chose the SPAC route with Chardan Health­care Ac­qui­si­tion and re­verse-merged with Bio­mX in 2019. Gbo­la Amusa was at the fore­front of that ef­fort, and this week Chardan pro­mot­ed him to CSO. Amusa, who will still be list­ed as a part­ner, spent the last sev­en years as Chardan’s head of health­care re­search.

→ Co-found­ed by Lui­gi Nal­di­ni last year, Mi­lan gene ther­a­py play­er Gene­spire has tapped Philippe Mauber­na as CFO. Mauber­na spent the last eight years as CFO of Nanobi­otix, which just pre­sent­ed da­ta at AS­CO for its hafni­um ox­ide nanopar­ti­cle drug NBTXR3, and he took on the same ti­tle pre­vi­ous­ly at Astel­las Phar­ma France. Mauber­na’s as­so­ci­a­tion with Astel­las goes back to his days as the com­pa­ny’s se­nior di­rec­tor, EMEA, mar­ket plan­ning and com­mer­cial ef­fec­tive­ness in the UK.

Sean Grant

→ Over­haul­ing its fo­cus from gene ther­a­py to kid­ney dis­ease and re­ceiv­ing a tepid re­sponse on Nas­daq, Ve­ra Ther­a­peu­tics (for­mer­ly Tru­code Gene Re­pair) has turned to Sean Grant to be CFO. Grant, a one-time Cit­i­group ex­ec in health­care in­vest­ment bank­ing, swings over to Ve­ra af­ter a year as VP of cor­po­rate strat­e­gy and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment for CareDx.

Cor­cept Ther­a­peu­tics has en­list­ed Gilead alum Amy Flood as chief hu­man re­sources and com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer. Flood gave 21 years to Gilead and had been serv­ing as SVP, pub­lic af­fairs for Dan O’Day’s bunch. Her ap­point­ment comes sev­er­al months af­ter Cor­cept — the first biotech to se­cure an FDA ap­proval for a Cush­ing’s syn­drome drug with Ko­r­lym in 2012 — made a cou­ple of lead­er­ship read­just­ments by slot­ting ex-CFO Charles Robb in­to the CBO role, paving the way for cur­rent CFO Atabak Mokari.

An­na Quat­tropani

→ With ex-Der­mi­ra CEO An­drew Hotchkiss now at the helm, Dan­ish PC­SK9 biotech Draup­nir Bio’s lat­est hire is chief dis­cov­ery of­fi­cer An­na Quat­tropani. She had a long as­so­ci­a­tion with Serono (lat­er Mer­ck Serono) in med­i­c­i­nal chem­istry and then shift­ed to its spin­off As­ceneu­ron, spend­ing the last eight years there and ris­ing to EVP and head of non-clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and med­i­c­i­nal chem­istry.

Brook­lyn Im­munoTher­a­peu­tics, the IL-2 biotech in a Phase IIa tri­al with IRX-2 for head and neck can­cer, nets an­oth­er ex­ec with chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer Jay Sial af­ter CSO Kevin D’Amour’s ap­point­ment in June. Sial just com­plet­ed a brief stint as CFO of As­pen Neu­ro­science, now un­der the lead­er­ship of CEO Damien McDe­vitt.

→ Biosim­u­la­tion-fo­cused Cer­tara has hand­ed the top hu­man re­sources job to Nico­lette Sher­man, who was al­so the chief hu­man re­sources of­fi­cer at Oys­ter Point Phar­ma and held HR and lead­er­ship de­vel­op­ment posts dur­ing her 11 years with Sanofi. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, Cer­tara has re­cruit­ed for­mer McK­in­sey di­rec­tor Nan­cy Kille­fer and ex-Ed­i­tas Med­i­cine CEO Cyn­thia Collins to its board of di­rec­tors.

Tim­o­thy Zheng

Cyg­nal put out word on Twit­ter that Tim­o­thy Zheng has climbed aboard as SVP of bi­ol­o­gy. Pre­vi­ous­ly, Zheng was a re­search fel­low and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of im­mune mod­u­la­tion at Boehringer In­gel­heim and al­so spent 17 years at Bio­gen. The Pearl Huang-led Flag­ship biotech ex­plor­ing the ex­oneur­al bi­ol­o­gy field lat­er tweet­ed that Ar­rakis co-founder and CSO Jen­nifer Pet­ter has joined the sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board.

An­na Di­az Tri­o­la has signed on as chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer of As­traZeneca’s an­tibac­te­r­i­al spin­out En­ta­sis Ther­a­peu­tics. The ex-Bio­gen prod­uct man­ag­er and as­so­ciate di­rec­tor grabs this op­por­tu­ni­ty af­ter con­sec­u­tive VP of mar­ket­ing stints at Flex­ion Ther­a­peu­tics and Sum­mit Ther­a­peu­tics. Ear­li­er, Tri­o­la closed out her six years at Cu­bist Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals as head of pa­tient en­gage­ment & ad­vo­ca­cy.

Michael Brooks

Sy­neos Health, the CRO lo­cat­ed in the Re­search Tri­an­gle of North Car­oli­na, has ap­point­ed Michael Brooks as its first chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer. Brooks, who took on a bas­ket full of roles dur­ing his days at PPD from 1999-2014, is the ex-pres­i­dent & glob­al head of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment & com­mer­cial­iza­tion ser­vices for Lab­Corp (Co­v­ance).

Nar­can mak­er Opi­ant Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has named Matthew Ruth as its CCO. Pri­or to his new role, Ruth was COO for medtech com­pa­ny Right­Care So­lu­tions. Be­fore that, Ruth was VP of Azur Phar­ma and Avanir Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and held a va­ri­ety of roles at Al­ler­gan.

Sharon Mor­riss

Sharon Mor­riss has been named SVP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Austin-based or­phan drug biotech Lung Ther­a­peu­tics, which had its most re­cent round of fund­ing two years ago. The Shire vet jumps on board from Cedric Fran­cois’ crew at Apel­lis, leav­ing her mark on the rare dis­ease and oph­thal­mol­o­gy clin­i­cal port­fo­lio as SVP, clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment op­er­a­tions. In May, Apel­lis’ parox­ys­mal noc­tur­nal he­mo­glo­bin­uria drug pegc­eta­coplan was ap­proved by the FDA, now known as Em­paveli.

Ta­van­ta Ther­a­peu­tics has made some changes to its lead­er­ship team with the ap­point­ment of An­dreas Maet­zel as CMO and the pro­mo­tion of Eliz­a­beth Man­ning Du­us to VP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. Maet­zel joins the com­pa­ny af­ter a stint as CMO of KalVista Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and se­nior glob­al med­ical af­fairs po­si­tions with BioCryst Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Cor­ner­stone Bio­phar­ma. Mean­while, Du­us came to Ta­van­ta in Jan­u­ary 2019 as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment af­ter serv­ing at Helsinn Ther­a­peu­tics and Akros Phar­ma.

→ Gaithers­burg, MD-based Nex­Im­mune threw its hat in­to this year’s IPO ring with a $110 mil­lion haul, and the biotech has sewn up two new hires with SVP of trans­la­tion­al sci­ence Jack Ragheb and head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment Matt Schiller. Ragheb hails from Eli Lil­ly, where he was se­nior med­ical fel­low for im­munol­o­gy and co-chaired the im­muno­genic­i­ty/im­munosafe­ty work­ing group. Schiller’s run with EMD Serono be­gan in 2015, serv­ing as di­rec­tor, glob­al li­cens­ing & busi­ness de­vel­op­ment, im­munol­o­gy.

→ De­vel­op­ing an AAV-based gene ther­a­py for BAG3-as­so­ci­at­ed di­lat­ed car­diomy­opa­thy (DCM), Ren­o­va­cor ma­te­ri­al­izes with an­oth­er new ex­ec af­ter adding CMO Marc Sem­i­gran, with Ji­wen Zhang head­ing to the biotech as SVP, reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs and qual­i­ty as­sur­ance. Zhang, who worked in reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs at such com­pa­nies as Mer­ck, Wyeth, Sanofi, GE Health­care and Tmu­ni­ty, had been VP, head of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs at Pas­sage Bio since 2019.

Steven Neben

Mo­ham­mad El-Kalay’s June ap­point­ment as head of CMC was mere­ly a warmup for the trio of in­com­ing staffers at BeiGene part­ner Shore­line Bio­sciences. Boy­an Litchev (SVP and head of glob­al clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment) has been around the block with lead­er­ship roles at Shire, Akcea and Halozyme, and in Feb­ru­ary 2020 he be­came head of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, on­col­o­gy for Po­sei­da. Steven Neben (VP, al­liance and project man­age­ment) is an Anap­tys­Bio vet who just com­plet­ed a nine-year run at Reg­u­lus Ther­a­peu­tics. And Bjorn Dahle (VP, smart man­u­fac­tur­ing) is the ex-CEO of In­spire So­lu­tions and Ver­saCall Tech­nolo­gies.

→ Short­ly af­ter The Col­umn Group helped co-lead Cir­cle Phar­ma’s $66 mil­lion Se­ries C round, the South San Fran­cis­co macro­cy­cle drug de­vel­op­er has now brought in Eve­lyn Wang as its VP of trans­la­tion­al med­i­cine. Wang, who was once the di­rec­tor of trans­la­tion­al re­search at Bio­Marin, joined Ex­elix­is in 2016 and held the role of ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, trans­la­tion­al med­i­cine.

Gayle Giron­da

→ Boston-based In­ozyme has reeled in Gayle Giron­da as SVP of hu­man re­sources. Giron­da comes aboard af­ter most re­cent­ly serv­ing as VP, hu­man re­sources, glob­al hema­tol­ogy and glob­al mar­ket ac­cess at Bris­tol My­ers Squibb. Be­fore her role at BMS, Giron­da was with Cel­gene and Alex­ion.

Per­son­al Genome Di­ag­nos­tics (PGDx) has wel­comed back Mark Sausen to the team as VP, tech­nol­o­gy in­no­va­tion. Sausen for­mer­ly served as the Bal­ti­more-based com­pa­ny’s VP, re­search and de­vel­op­ment for six years be­fore hop­ping over to a stint at Bris­tol My­ers, where he was sci­en­tif­ic di­rec­tor, clin­i­cal ge­net­ics and ge­nomics.

Snap­drag­on Chem­istry has en­list­ed Hui Fang as the com­pa­ny’s di­rec­tor of at­tribute sci­ences and qual­i­ty con­trol. Fang hops aboard af­ter serv­ing as as­so­ciate di­rec­tor, CMC an­a­lyt­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Ake­bia Ther­a­peu­tics. Pri­or to that role, Fang was with Ei­sai.

Di­eter Weinand

→ For­mer Bay­er CEO Di­eter Weinand is adding yet an­oth­er ex­ec­u­tive chair­man role to his ré­sumé with his ap­point­ment to the board of di­rec­tors at Es­sen­lix. Cur­rent­ly, Weinand is the chair­man of the board of Replim­mune and ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of Ziel­Bio­Phar­ma. Weinand’s ca­reer has spanned stints at Pfiz­er, Bris­tol My­ers and Sanofi.

→ T cell-based im­munother­a­py biotech Viri­on Ther­a­peu­tics out of Philadel­phia has elect­ed Michelle Berrey and Bill Brad­ford to the board of di­rec­tors. Berrey’s tenure as In­ter­cept’s CMO and pres­i­dent of R&D is in its ear­ly stages, while Brad­ford co-found­ed and was CMO for In­da­lo Ther­a­peu­tics.

Jen­nifer Well­man

At­se­na Ther­a­peu­tics, the Re­search Tri­an­gle gene ther­a­py out­fit found­ed by Shan­non and San­ford Boye that bagged a $55 mil­lion Se­ries A in De­cem­ber, has made room for Spark co-founder Jen­nifer Well­man on the board of di­rec­tors. Well­man is now the COO at Man­ny Si­mons-led Ak­ou­os.

Im­muneer­ing, the on­col­o­gy biotech where you can now find Biren Amin as CFO af­ter of­fer­ing his on­col­o­gy takes at Jef­feries, has opened up a seat for Ann Berman on the board of di­rec­tors. Berman, the re­tired CFO and VP of fi­nance at Har­vard, has al­so been on the board of Loews since 2006.

→ New York-based Xalud Ther­a­peu­tics has added some new faces to its strate­gic ad­vi­so­ry board. The fresh re­cruits in­clude: Michael Ehlers (CSO and ven­ture part­ner at Ap­ple Tree Part­ners); Mace Rothen­berg (for­mer CMO at Pfiz­er); Tarek Samad (SVP and glob­al head of re­search at Lund­beck); and Matt Walk­er (SVP, head of in­dus­tri­al op­er­a­tions for GSK Vac­cines).

John Davis

→ When John Davis ul­ti­mate­ly leaves Ma­gen­ta Ther­a­peu­tics, he has his next role lined up as a mem­ber of the board of di­rec­tors at Third Rock’s im­munome­tab­o­lism biotech Rheos Med­i­cines. In late May, Davis re­signed as Ma­gen­ta’s CMO and head of R&D, step­ping aside “no lat­er than Ju­ly 30,” ac­cord­ing to an SEC fil­ing.

Michael Hay­den is now a non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at Ox­ford Bio­med­ica. Hay­den, the CEO of For­bion-backed neu­ro start­up Prile­nia Ther­a­peu­tics, was the pres­i­dent of glob­al R&D and CSO at Te­va from 2012-17.

Bren­dan De­laney

Bren­dan De­laney has been added to the board of di­rec­tors at New York-based Be­yond­Spring. De­laney, the chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer of Im­munomedics when Gilead made a $21 bil­lion deal for the com­pa­ny, is in his first year as CCO at Con­stel­la­tion Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

Akero Ther­a­peu­tics — who’s work­ing on an old Am­gen drug to treat NASHhas pulled in Judy Chou to its board of di­rec­tors. Chou cur­rent­ly serves as pres­i­dent and CEO of Al­tru­Bio and for­mer­ly served as SVP and glob­al head of biotech at Bay­er. Ear­li­er in her ca­reer, Chou held phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal op­er­a­tions and man­u­fac­tur­ing roles at Pfiz­er and Tan­vex Bio­phar­ma.

→ Out in the Rock­ies, Clo­vis On­col­o­gy is let­ting in Ronit Siman­tov as a mem­ber of the board of di­rec­tors. The ex-VP of on­col­o­gy glob­al med­ical af­fairs at Pfiz­er, Siman­tov has been Gami­da Cell’s CMO since Ju­ly 2017.


Adap­tive De­sign Meth­ods Of­fer Rapid, Seam­less Tran­si­tion Be­tween Study Phas­es in Rare Can­cer Tri­als

Rare cancers account for 22 percent of cancer diagnoses worldwide, yet there is no universally accepted definition for a “rare” cancer. Moreover, with the evolution of genomics and associated changes in categorizing tumors, some common cancers are now characterized into groups of rare cancers, each with a unique implication for patient management and therapy.

Adaptive designs, which allow for prospectively planned modifications to study design based on accumulating data from subjects in the trial, can be used to optimize rare oncology trials (see Figure 1). Adaptive design studies may include multiple cohorts and multiple tumor types. In addition, numerous adaptation methods may be used in a single trial and may facilitate a more rapid, seamless transition between study phases.

Marianne De Backer (L) and Jeff Hatfield

Bay­er nabs star biotech Vi­vid­ion with a $2B buy­out and an ‘arms-length’ pact, pulling a part­ner out of the IPO con­ga line

Vividion is canceling that IPO it filed. Instead of following the industry-wide migration to Nasdaq, the biotech that has captured considerable attention for its still-preclinical work finding cryptic pockets to bind to on proteins is going to work for Bayer now.

The pharma giant is putting out word today that it has bought out Vividion for $1.5 billion in cash and another half-billion dollars in milestones.

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Tadataka Yamada (Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sci­ence pi­o­neer, phar­ma re­search chief, glob­al health ad­vo­cate and biotech en­tre­pre­neur Tadata­ka ‘Tachi’ Ya­ma­da has died

Tadataka Yamada, a towering physician-scientist who made his name in academia before transforming drug development at GlaxoSmithKline and developing vaccines for malaria and meningitis at the Gates Foundation, died unexpectedly of natural causes at his home in Seattle Wednesday morning.

He was 76. Frazier Healthcare Partners’ David Socks confirmed his death.

Known widely by the mononym “Tachi,” Yamada had a globetrotting career and arrived in industry relatively late in life. A 2004 Independent article noted GSK had asked Yamada to stay on beyond his approaching 60th birthday, the company’s usual retirement age. Yamada would continue working for the next 17 years, steering the Gates Foundation’s global health division for 6 years, funding Jim Wilson’s gene therapy work when few would touch it, launching Takeda Vaccines and co-founding a series of high-profile biotechs.

Covid-19 roundup: Pfiz­er im­pos­es vac­cine man­date for US work­ers; WHO calls for mora­to­ri­um on boost­ers, while some coun­tries make plans any­way — re­port

As the US struggles to keep pace with the fast-spreading Delta variant, big companies like Walmart and Disney are imposing vaccine mandates for some workers. It may come as no surprise that Pfizer — the Big Pharma behind the US’ first authorized Covid-19 vaccine — is joining them.

Pfizer will start requiring all US employees and contractors to get vaccinated, or participate in weekly Covid-19 testing, spokesperson Pamela Eisele told Reuters. Workers outside the US are strongly urged to get a vaccine if they can, according to the report. And those with medical conditions or religious objections can seek accommodations.

Tien Lee, Aardvark Therapeutics CEO

Emerg­ing from stealth mode, Aard­vark rounds up enough cash to put its lead drug through Prad­er-Willi PhII

When Aardvark Therapeutics CEO Tien Lee started his work on the biotech’s lead candidate, appetite suppression was the goal for the small molecule.  Soon after, his team started to see added benefits with lower blood glucose levels and anti-inflammatory activity. On the tail end of that, the company has emerged from stealth mode and announced today that they’ve raised enough cash in the B round to cover mid-stage development work.

Josh Hoffman, outgoing Zymergen CEO (Zymergen)

UP­DAT­ED: Syn­bio uni­corn Zymer­gen jet­ti­sons found­ing CEO, cuts guid­ance as cus­tomers re­port lead prod­uct does­n't work

Zymergen, just months off a $500 million IPO that put the synthetic bio firm in rarified air, has now ejected its founding CEO and downgraded its revenue forecasts after customers reported its lead film product doesn’t work as advertised, the company said Tuesday afternoon.

CEO Josh Hoffman will leave his role and sacrifice his board seat immediately in favor of Jay Flatley, the former CEO of Illumina who will take the lead role on an interim basis as the company conducts a search for its next leader.

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UK re-in­ves­ti­gates Pfiz­er's eye-pop­ping price goug­ing on an epilep­sy drug

When a drugmaker raises the price of a drug in the US by more than 2,000% overnight, and without any particular reason for that increase, nothing typically happens to the company. No fines, no court orders, just business as usual.

Martin Shkreli’s decades-old anti-parasitic drug Daraprim was the perfect example — massive price spike on an old drug, lots of media attention, public outcry, congressional committees dragging his former company through multiple hearings, and at the end of it? Nothing happened to the price or the company (until generic competition came).

Thomas Lingelbach, Valneva CEO

A small vac­cine de­vel­op­er fa­vored by the UK gov­ern­ment in Covid-19 touts a PhI­II first in chikun­gun­ya

Before Valneva garnered the favor of the UK government as a potential supplier of Covid-19 vaccines, the French biotech prided itself on being the first company to bring a chikungunya vaccine into Phase III.

It now has positive pivotal results to back up the breakthrough therapy designation the FDA granted just weeks ago.

There are currently no approved jabs to prevent chikungunya virus infection despite decades of R&D efforts, a fact that underscores just how arduous traditional vaccine development can be, particularly for neglected tropical disease. In a absence of a major commercial market, the US government and NGOs such as CEPI have deployed various grants and incentives to spur on a small crew of academics and industry players, with Merck, via its acquisition of Themis, claiming a spot in that race.

Zymergen co-founders Zach Serber, Josh Hoffman, and Jed Dean (Zymergen via website)

Zymer­gen's sud­den im­plo­sion shocked biotech. A lin­ger­ing loan could make things even worse

As former synbio unicorn Zymergen picks up the pieces from its spectacular implosion Tuesday, an outstanding loan from Perceptive Advisors — the only blue-chip biotech crossover investor to touch Zymergen’s fundraising efforts — could make the situation worse, according to public documents.

In December 2019, more than a year before Zymergen filed for what would eventually become a $500 million IPO, the “biofacturing” firm signed a $100 million credit facility with Perceptive to help supplement the nearly $700 million the company had raised across four VC rounds.