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.

Nick Galakatos, Blackstone global head of life sciences

Nick Galakatos and the Black­stone team now have a record $4.6B to in­vest in bio­phar­ma, with a big fo­cus on push­ing com­pa­nies over the top

Nick Galakatos and his team at Blackstone Life Sciences have seen their biggest opportunities swell up in mostly established players who don’t have all the money they need to accomplish everything on the to-do list. And right now, with the industry booming, that’s a long list with some hefty needs.

The Blackstone team has neatly tied up the largest private fund ever raised in life sciences for making big dreams come true in biopharma. Late Thursday, Blackstone put out word that they had closed their highly anticipated fund with the projected $4.6 billion all in.

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UP­DAT­ED: Bio­gen shares spike as ex­ecs com­plete a de­layed pitch for their con­tro­ver­sial Alzheimer's drug — the next move be­longs to the FDA

Biogen is stepping out onto the high wire today, reporting that the team working on the controversial Alzheimer’s drug aducanumab has now completed their submission to the FDA. And they want the agency to bless it with a priority review that would cut the agency’s decision-making time to a mere 6 months.

The news drove a 10% spike in Biogen’s stock $BIIB ahead of the bell.

Part of that spike can be attributed to a relief rally. Biogen execs rattled backers and a host of analysts earlier in the year when they unexpectedly delayed their filing to the third quarter. That delay provoked all manner of speculation after CEO Michel Vounatsos and R&D chief Al Sandrock failed to persuade influential observers that the pandemic and other factors had slowed the timeline for filing. Actually making the pitch at least satisfies skeptics that the FDA was not likely pushing back as Biogen was pushing in. From the start, Biogen execs claimed that they were doing everything in cooperation with the FDA, saying that regulators had signaled their interest in reviewing the submission.

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Gilead boasts of pos­i­tive remde­sivir da­ta on mor­tal­i­ty — but their analy­sis pro­vokes the skep­tics

Gilead is surging again off data that suggest its antiviral remdesivir might improve survival.

The new data come from an analysis Gilead conducted comparing the death rate and recovery time of patients in one of its remdesivir trials to a group of 800 patients “with similar baseline characteristics and disease severity” who received only standard-of-care around the same time. The result, they said, suggested that patients who received remdesivir had a 62% better chance at surviving than those who did not.

Hal Barron, GSK

Win or lose on the mar­ket­ing OK, the FDA just gunned down GSK’s bright hopes for their BC­MA ther­a­py

The FDA’s ODAC — the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee — has a well-known bias in favor of adding new cancer drugs to the market, even if efficacy is at best marginal and serious safety issues demand careful management.

Doctors want as many arrows in their quiver as they can get. And when patients are dying after failing multiple drugs, why not give it a go one more time?

GlaxoSmithKline, though, is about to test out how their new BCMA antibody drug conjugate belantamab mafodotin can do after being mauled in an in-house FDA review, ahead of the Tuesday expert panel discussion. Even if the agency goes ahead with an expected green light, this drug will likely be constrained to a small niche — icing any plans they may have for making waves in oncology anytime soon.

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Bob Goeltz bolts Uni­ty Biotech­nol­o­gy to be­come CFO at Ar­cus Bio­sciences; John John­son tapped for his lat­est CEO gig

→ A press release earlier in the week noted that Bob Goeltz left his CFO post at Unity Biotechnology “to pursue a new opportunity.” We now know what that opportunity is, joining Terry Rosen’s crew at Arcus Biosciences as the new CFO. A former executive director of corporate development at Amgen, Goeltz was the CFO for CytomX Therapeutics before making the move to anti-aging startup Unity in 2017.

Covid-19 roundup: BioN­Tech go­ing head-to-head with Mod­er­na as PhI­II mR­NA launch looms; Tri­al on Shin­zo Abe’s once-fa­vorite an­tivi­ral is in­con­clu­sive

It’s a race to the Phase III finish line now for the 2 leading mRNA vaccines in the pipeline for Covid-19.

BioNTech chief Ugur Sahin told the Wall Street Journal that his company will start Phase III testing of their vaccine later this month, setting them up to lateral the data to regulators before the end of this year.

That puts them essentially on the exact same schedule as Moderna is dedicated to. The Massachusetts rival to BioNTech also expects to launch Phase III this month. Lots of rumors have circulated about delays and conflict among the scientists advancing the Moderna jab, but the biotech has consistently stuck to its plan to start a late-stage pivotal this month.

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Regeneron CEO Leonard Schleifer speaks at a meeting with President Donald Trump, members of the Coronavirus Task Force, and pharmaceutical executives in the Cabinet Room of the White House (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

OWS shifts spot­light to drugs to fight Covid-19, hand­ing Re­gen­eron $450M to be­gin large scale man­u­fac­tur­ing in the US

The US government is on a spending spree. And after committing billions to vaccines defense operations are now doling out more of the big bucks through Operation Warp Speed to back a rapid flip of a drug into the market to stop Covid-19 from ravaging patients — possibly inside of 2 months.

The beneficiary this morning is Regeneron, the big biotech engaged in a frenzied race to develop an antibody cocktail called REGN-COV2 that just started a late-stage program to prove its worth in fighting the virus. BARDA and the Department of Defense are awarding Regeneron a $450 million contract to cover bulk delivery of the cocktail starting as early as late summer, with money added for fill/finish and storage activities.

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An­oth­er four biotechs scratch out the first num­ber and ask for more as IPO boom con­tin­ues

Four more biotechs are raising their offers in an already record year for biotech IPOs.

Softbank-backed Relay Therapeutics scratched out its original $200 million filing and proposed a $250 million raise that would make them a $1.5 billion company. CAR-T developer Poseida Therapeutics bumped itself up $74 million to $224 million. Off-the-shelf cell therapy startup Nkarta upped from $150 million to $215 million — and then priced even higher, at $252 million. France’s Inventiva did its own modest reset, raising its bar from $102 million to $108 million.

Top biotech an­a­lyst projects a gloomy out­look for Pfiz­er's JAK port­fo­lio

Many in the pharma world are hoping — better yet, expecting — JAK inhibitors to provide one of the next big boons for the industry. Few have invested as heavily in this area as Pfizer, which boasts a portfolio including Xeljanz and at least five mid-to-late stage candidates in the pipeline.

But a top Wall Street analyst is pumping the brakes on just how much good fortune is in store for the Big Pharma.