Eli Lil­ly vet jumps aboard Po­laris Part­ners; Mi­rati shakes up its lead­er­ship team with new hires and pro­mo­tions

Dar­ren Car­roll Po­laris

Po­laris Part­ners has snagged Eli Lil­ly vet Dar­ren Car­roll as a part­ner. Car­roll spent 22 years at Eli Lil­ly be­fore mak­ing the switch to the in­vest­ment firm’s Boston of­fice. Most re­cent­ly, Car­roll served as SVP of cor­po­rate busi­ness de­vel­op­ment at Lil­ly, where he over­saw the $8.1 bil­lion ac­qui­si­tion of Loxo On­col­o­gy and the di­vesti­ture of an­i­mal health com­pa­ny Elan­co. Car­roll is cred­it­ed with form­ing Lil­ly Asia Ven­tures and was the found­ing CEO of Lil­ly spin­out In­no­Cen­tive.

Vick­ie Reed Mi­rati

Mi­rati Ther­a­peu­tics — a keen­ly watched ri­val to Am­gen in the KRAS G12C field — has made some changes in its ex­ec­u­tive team. The biotech wel­comed for­mer Spark Ther­a­peu­tics ex­ec Daniel Fa­ga as COO and Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb vet Ben­jamin Hick­ey as CCO. In ad­di­tion, the com­pa­ny pro­mot­ed Vick­ie Reed to SVP, fi­nance and chief ac­count­ing of­fi­cer and Jes­si­ca Cor­son as VP, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment — both joined in 2013.

MBX Bio­sciences has tapped co-founder and board di­rec­tor Kent Hawry­luk to run the com­pa­ny as pres­i­dent and CEO. Hawry­luk hops over af­ter a stint as CBO of Avid­i­ty Bio­sciences, which he al­so co-found­ed. As a part­ner of Twi­light Ven­ture Part­ners, his pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence in­cludes help­ing launch Mar­ca­dia Biotech (ac­quired by Roche) and MB2 (ac­quired by No­vo Nordisk). In ad­di­tion to Hawry­luk, the com­pa­ny has brought on Greg Davis as VP, prod­uct de­vel­op­ment. Davis most re­cent­ly had a stint as VP of CMC, reg­u­la­to­ry qual­i­ty at Cal­ib­ri­um (ac­quired by No­vo Nordisk).

→ Months af­ter step­ping down as the North Amer­i­ca pres­i­dent of So­bi, Ra­mi Levin has been ap­point­ed to be CEO at San­iona — fo­cused on the treat­ment of eat­ing dis­or­ders and dis­eases of the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem. Levin will suc­ceed Jør­gen Drejer, who will tran­si­tion to the role of CSO. Pri­or to his 5-year tenure at So­bi, Levin head­ed mar­ket­ing at Mer­ck Serono.

James Has­sard

→ J&J-part­nered Ar­row­head Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has tapped James Has­sard as the com­pa­ny’s first CCO to be­gin map­ping a com­mer­cial path for its RNAi ther­a­pies. Most re­cent­ly, Has­sard served as SVP of mar­ket­ing and mar­ket ac­cess at Co­herus Bio­Sciences. Pri­or to that, he held stints at Medi­va­tion, Am­gen and Scher­ing Plough.

→ As its lead ther­a­py clears a piv­otal Phase II, bring­ing it clos­er to its first BLA, ADC Ther­a­peu­tics has tapped Joseph Ca­mar­do as head of med­ical af­fairs. In his new role, Ca­mar­do will be re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing “op­ti­mal med­ical im­pact” for lon­cas­tux­imab tesirine (AD­CT-402) among pa­tients with B-cell non-Hodgkin lym­phoma. Ca­mar­do joins the Swiss biotech af­ter a stint as SVP of Cel­gene’s glob­al health, which fol­lowed po­si­tions at For­est Re­search In­sti­tute and Wyeth Re­search (now Pfiz­er).

→ Af­ter scrap­ping their Phase I pro­gram and hav­ing their CSO hit the ex­it last May, Ger­man biotech Af­fimed has brought on An­dreas Harstrick as CMO. Most re­cent­ly, Harstrick served in the same role at Mol­e­c­u­lar Part­ners. Harstrick is an alum­nus of Im­Clone, Lil­ly On­col­o­gy and Mer­ck Serono.

→ Dyve Bio­sciences has named Pfiz­er vet Chuck Har­bert as CSO — fol­low­ing the re­cent clear­ance the com­pa­ny re­ceived to be­gin a Phase II tri­al for their drug, DYV-700. Har­bert spent three decades at Pfiz­er be­fore tran­si­tion­ing to his new role. Dur­ing his time at the phar­ma gi­ant, Har­bert served as VP, US ex­plorato­ry de­vel­op­ment and strate­gic plan­ning and had roles at Pfiz­er Cen­tral Re­search. In ad­di­tion, Har­bert was the co-in­ven­tor of Zoloft.

MB Chi­nap­pa

Bio­con Bi­o­log­ics, a sub­sidiary of Bio­con, has ap­point­ed MB Chi­nap­pa as CFO. Chi­nap­pa’s ap­point­ment comes at the same time as pri­vate eq­ui­ty fund True North’s ac­qui­si­tion of 2.44% of the com­pa­ny in a deal worth $74 mil­lion. Chi­nap­pa makes the jump from one of Bio­con’s oth­er sub­sidiaries, Syn­gene, where he was pres­i­dent (fi­nance) and CFO. Chi­nap­pa led the Syn­gene’s IPO in 2015.

Mo­men­ta Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has added the ti­tle of CFO to the com­pa­ny’s CBO Young Kwon. Kwon joined the com­pa­ny in 2011 and pri­or to that, he worked at Bio­gen and Ad­vanced Tech­nol­o­gy Ven­tures.

AVEO — which had their drug tivozanib spurned once again by the FDA two months ago — has ap­point­ed Er­ick Lucera to the po­si­tion of CFO. Pri­or to join­ing the com­pa­ny, Lucera served in the same role at Va­ler­i­tas. Be­fore that, he was the CFO, trea­sur­er and sec­re­tary of Viven­tia Bio (ac­quired by Eleven Bio­ther­a­peu­tics and now Sesen Bio).

→ Can­del Ther­a­peu­tics — fo­cused on the de­vel­op­ment of vi­ral im­munother­a­pies for mul­ti­ple tu­mor in­di­ca­tions — has brought on Gen­zyme vet San­dra Poole as COO. Poole was most re­cent­ly COO of Log­icBio Ther­a­peu­tics, af­ter serv­ing as EVP of tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions and com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment at Im­muno­Gen. Dur­ing her time at Gen­zyme, Poole over­saw bi­o­log­ics man­u­fac­tur­ing.

John Chin An­ten­gene

An­ten­gene, a US-Chi­na biotech backed by Cel­gene, has snagged one of its top ex­ecs in Chi­na. John Chin, Cel­gene’s gen­er­al man­ag­er in the coun­try, has joined as chief busi­ness of­fi­cer just a few days be­fore for­mer Cel­gene CEO Mark Alles was ap­point­ed to the board of di­rec­tors. Chin’s re­sume spans Aven­tis, Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb and Mer­ck.

Ru­bius Ther­a­peu­tics has ap­point­ed au­toim­mu­ni­ty and trans­la­tion­al im­munol­o­gy ex­pert Lau­rence Tur­ka as the biotech’s first CSO, join­ing its mis­sion to pi­o­neer a new class of med­i­cines called red cell ther­a­peu­tics. Tur­ka hops over to the com­pa­ny from Rheos Med­i­cines, where he was a co-founder and CSO. Tur­ka was an en­tre­pre­neur-in-res­i­dence at Third Rock Ven­tures, turn­ing to the VC life af­ter an aca­d­e­m­ic ca­reer that put him at the head of the Amer­i­can So­ci­ety of Trans­plan­ta­tion and a pro­fes­sor at Har­vard Med­ical School and Mass­a­chu­setts Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal.

Abeona Ther­a­peu­tics — which had some good news last month when the FDA lift­ed its hold on the com­pa­ny’s but­ter­fly dis­ease ther­a­py — is part­ing ways with its ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Steven Rouhan­deh, re­vealed in an SEC fil­ing.

Eiger Bio­Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has ap­point­ed El­don May­er as EVP and CCO. May­er joins just as the com­pa­ny has ini­ti­at­ed an NDA for its drug ion­a­farnib to treat Hutchin­son-Gil­ford prog­e­ria syn­drome (HG­PS or prog­e­ria) and progeroid laminopathies. May­er had the same job at Rigel Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. Pre­vi­ous­ly, May­er was the SVP of com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions at Quest­cor Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals (ac­quired by Mallinck­rodt).

→ Can­cer-fo­cused Cel­lec­tar Bio­sciences has named Ig­or Grachev as CMO. Grachev pre­vi­ous­ly served as glob­al de­vel­op­ment leader and head of in­no­v­a­tive clin­i­cal tri­als ini­tia­tive, R&D for TE­VA Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. His pri­or em­ploy­ers in­clude GE Health­care, No­var­tis, GSK, Mer­ck, Scher­ing PLough, Sanofi-Aven­tis and Bio­Clin­i­ca.

Michael Cooke IFM

→ The im­munol­o­gy ex­perts at IFM Ther­a­peu­tics — who brought in $55.5 mil­lion in new ven­ture back­ing last month — has wooed Michael Cooke from Ma­gen­ta Ther­a­peu­tics as CSO. Be­fore Ma­gen­ta, Cooke was a found­ing sci­en­tist at the Ge­nomics In­sti­tute of the No­var­tis Re­search Foun­da­tion.

→ An­ti-ede­ma ther­a­pies-fo­cused Aeromics has brought on Joseph Schindler as its first CMO. Schindler is an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of neu­rol­o­gy and of neu­ro­surgery at Yale Uni­ver­si­ty School of Med­i­cine, where he is the clin­i­cal chief of the di­vi­sion of vas­cu­lar neu­rol­o­gy. He is al­so the di­rec­tor of the com­pre­hen­sive stroke pro­gram and tele­stroke ser­vices at Yale New Haven Hos­pi­tal.

→ New Jer­sey-based Vy­ome Ther­a­peu­tics — which back in 2016 raised $14 mil­lion for its R&D work on skin dis­eases — has named Craig Tooman COO and CFO. Pri­or to join­ing Vy­ome, Tooman served as the CEO of Aratana Ther­a­peu­tics. In ad­di­tion, Tooman has served as founder and CEO of Avan­zar Med­ical and CFO at Ikaria and En­zon Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

→ Bal­ti­more-based start­up Wind­MIL Ther­a­peu­tics — spun out of John Hop­kins — has named Bris­tol-My­ers vet Karen LaRochelle as SVP, cor­po­rate & busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and pro­mot­ed Patrick Dougher­ty to SVP, strat­e­gy, plan­ning & op­er­a­tions. LaRochelle pre­vi­ous­ly served as CBO of PsiOxus Ther­a­peu­tics and dur­ing her time at BMS served as glob­al head of ne­go­ti­a­tions and head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment in Chi­na. Pri­or to his time at Wind­MIL, Dougher­ty served as chief of staff to the SVP R&D pipeline for phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals R&D at GSK.

Vor Bio­phar­ma — the biotech co-found­ed by Sid­dhartha Mukher­jee to pi­o­neer a new type of can­cer cell ther­a­py — has made two new ad­di­tions to its team. Amy Mendel joins as chief le­gal of­fi­cer and Tania Philipps joins as VP of peo­ple. Mendel was the VP & as­so­ciate gen­er­al coun­sel for Zio­pharm On­col­o­gy while Philipps was the VP and head of hu­man re­sources at Tan­go Ther­a­peu­tics.

Ye­mi On­akun­le Se­lex­is

→ JSR life sci­ences com­pa­ny Se­lex­is has pro­mot­ed Ye­mi On­akun­le to the po­si­tion of CBO. On­akun­le joined the com­pa­ny in 2012 from Diosynth RTP, where he was the di­rec­tor of com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment. His oth­er stints in­clude roles at Lon­za Cus­tom Man­u­fac­tur­ing and Bachem Amer­i­c­as.

Howard Kauf­man Im­muneer­ing

Im­muneer­ing — whose cur­rent pipeline fo­cus­es on dis­eases such as can­cer cachex­ia and metas­ta­sis — has brought on Howard Kauf­man as head of re­search and de­vel­op­ment. Kauf­man, the for­mer pres­i­dent of the So­ci­ety for Im­munother­a­py of Can­cer (SITC), was most re­cent­ly CMO at Replimune Group. Kauf­man’s hir­ing comes a few weeks af­ter the ap­point­ment of Scott Bar­rett to CMO at Im­muneer­ing.

→ CAR-T-fo­cused In­no­v­a­tive Cel­lu­lar Ther­a­peu­tics (ICT) has wel­comed Christo­pher Bal­las on­board as SVP of man­u­fac­tur­ing. Bal­las’ ca­reer has brought him to Rock­et Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Cook Med­ical and WuXi AppTec.

Al­lu­ri­on Tech­nolo­gies has re­cruit­ed Whit­ney Cypes, for­mer se­nior di­rec­tor of mar­ket­ing for In­sulet Cor­po­ra­tion, as VP of glob­al mar­ket­ing and Chris Aron­son, for­mer­ly of Restora­tion Ro­bot­ics, as VP of North Amer­i­can sales. In ad­di­tion, Benoit Chardon was pro­mot­ed to EVP of com­mer­cial.

Eliot Forster-led can­cer biotech F-star Ther­a­peu­tics has ap­point­ed Ed­ward Benz, the pres­i­dent and CEO emer­i­tus of the Dana-Far­ber Can­cer In­sti­tute, and Min­er­va ex­ec Ge­off Race to the board of di­rec­tors.

Elias Zer­houni

Elias Zer­houni, the for­mer R&D head at Sanofi and ex-NIH di­rec­tor, has tak­en up a seat at Way­point Cap­i­tal’s board. The Gene­va firm is led by Swiss bil­lion­aire and for­mer Serono chief Ernesto Bertarel­li and de­vised an $832 mil­lion buy­out deal to take al­ler­gy drug­mak­er Stal­ler­genes Greer pri­vate.

UP­DAT­ED: A small, ob­scure biotech just won big with their IPO. In this mar­ket. Are you kid­ding me?

How could a small, largely unknown biotech that emerged from stealth mode just months ago with early-stage cancer programs jump onto Wall Street in the middle of a Category 6 financial hurricane and sail through with a $165 million IPO?

And what does that mean for the rest of the industry waiting to see just how much damage global lockdowns will wreak on clinical development?

The biotech is a company called Zentalis. The crew there nabbed an $85 million crossover round late last year — notably waiting 5 years before waving the numbers around to attract attention, according to my read of a FierceBiotech story. Perceptive joined in, but the syndicate was not in general the kind of marquee affair that gets tongues wagging.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

Gilead CEO Daniel O'Day attends a meeting with the President and other biopharma leaders at the White House on March 2, 2020 (AP Photo)

Ramp­ing up glob­al pro­duc­tion of remde­sivir, Gilead CEO Dan O’Day de­tails plans to dis­trib­ute 1.5M dos­es to fight Covid-19 — for free

Gilead is still some days away from turning the card on its first round of data on remdesivir’s ability to fight severe cases of Covid-19, but the big biotech is ramping up an emergency supply of a million courses of therapy as it starts free distribution of the drug to tens of thousands of patients under their compassionate use and expanded access program as well as clinical trials.

In his latest open letter posted over the weekend, Gilead CEO Dan O’Day outlined how the company has been successful in cutting production time on remdesivir while repurposing some of their own facilities and turning to contract manufacturers to build a near-term supply of 1.5 million doses. They are still working on efficacy and dosing, but that supply could cover 140,000 courses of treatment. That supply, he added, would be more widely available following a potential approval.

Bob Nelsen at the Milken Institute Global Conference on April 29, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)

ARCH chief Bob Nelsen has $1.5B to prove 2 sim­ple points: ‘We’re in the most in­no­v­a­tive time ever’ and in­vestors are stay­ing

ARCH co-founder and managing director Bob Nelsen has a well known yen for the home run swing, betting big on potentially transformative meds and tech and the biotech teams he helps bring together. He thrives and bleeds on the cutting edge. And now Nelsen and the ARCH group have debuted 2 big funds to prove that this is the time for the best of biotech to shine — deadly pandemic be damned.

Two new funds, ARCH Venture Fund X and ARCH Venture Fund X Overage, gathered a combined $1.46 billion. And that’s a record. ARCH Venture Fund IX and ARCH Venture Fund IX Overage closed in 2016 with a combined $1.1 billion. ARCH Venture Fund VIII and ARCH Venture Fund VIII Overage closed in 2014 with a combined $560 million.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 77,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Have a new drug that promis­es to fight Covid-19? The FDA promis­es fast ac­tion but some de­vel­op­ers aren't hap­py

After providing an emergency approval to use malaria drugs against coronavirus with little actual evidence of their efficacy or safety in that setting, the FDA has already proven that it has set aside the gold standard when it comes to the pandemic. And now regulators have spelled out a new approach to speeding development that promises immediate responses in no uncertain terms — promising a program offering the ultimate high-speed pathway to Covid-19 drug approvals.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 77,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Once fu­ri­ous over No­var­tis’ da­ta ma­nip­u­la­tion scan­dal, the FDA now says it’s noth­ing they need to take ac­tion on

Back in the BP era — Before Pandemic — the FDA ripped Novartis for its decision to keep the agency in the dark about manipulated data used in its application for Zolgensma while its marketing application for the gene therapy was under review.

Civil and criminal sanctions were being discussed, the agency noted in a rare broadside at one of the world’s largest pharma companies. Notable lawmakers cheered the angry regulators on, urging the FDA to make an example of Novartis, which fielded Zolgensma at $2.1 million — the current record for a one-off therapy.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 77,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Covid-19 roundup: GSK, Am­gen tai­lor R&D work to fit the coro­n­avirus age; Doud­na's ge­nomics crew launch­es di­ag­nos­tic lab

You can add Amgen and GSK to the list of deep-pocket drug R&D players who are tailoring their pipeline work to fit a new age of coronavirus.

Following in the footsteps of a lineup of big players like Eli Lilly — which has suspended patient recruitment for drug studies — Amgen and GSK have opted to take a more tailored approach. Amgen is intent on circling the wagons around key studies that are already fully enrolled, and GSK has the red light on new studies while the pandemic plays out.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 77,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

In a stun­ning set­back, Amarin los­es big patent fight over Vas­cepa IP. And its high-fly­ing stock crash­es to earth

Amarin’s shares $AMRN were blitzed Monday evening, losing billions in value as reports spread that the company had lost its high-profile effort to keep its Vascepa patents protected from generic drugmakers.

Amarin had been fighting to keep key patents under lock and key — and away from generic rivals — for another 10 years, but District Court Judge Miranda Du in Las Vegas ruled against the biotech. She ruled that:
(A)ll the Asserted Claims are invalid as obvious under 35 U.S.C.§ 103. Thus, the Court finds in favor of Defendants on Plaintiff’s remaining infringementclaim, and in their favor on their counterclaims asserting the invalidity of the AssertedClaims under 35 U.S.C. § 103.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 77,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Aaron Royston, venBio

In­vest­ing in the time of coro­n­avirus: the good, the bad and the hope­ful, as biotech VC firms close funds worth $3B

Apart from disrupting biopharma R&D and regulatory timelines, the coronavirus pandemic has inevitably ravaged financial markets and eroded investor risk appetite. Investing in the time of coronavirus feels reckless, but if biotech venture funds are any indication, the time is ripe.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 77,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Drug dis­cov­ery in the age of coro­n­avirus

Developing new drugs is incredibly hard. That’s why, despite superhuman efforts from the industry, we’re still looking at 12-18 months minimum before we can realistically hope for a vaccine for Covid-19, and probably months before there’s a proven viable drug treatment.

But our increasing ability to begin to industrialize the drug discovery and development process through an engineering approach means that we have more hope for speeding up this process than ever before — and not just to defeat coronavirus, but to benefit the development of all new medicines in the future.