En­tra­da picks Syn­tim­mune vet Mario Saltarel­lo as CMO; Gene ther­a­py mak­er Or­chard hires Ran Zheng as CTO

Mario Saltarel­li

En­tra­da Ther­a­peu­tics, the start­up launched by 5AM and MPM Cap­i­tal to de­vel­op ther­a­pies based on a fam­i­ly of cell-pen­e­trat­ing small cyclic pep­tides that Ohio State pro­fes­sor De­hua Pei dis­cov­ered, has found a chief med­ical of­fi­cer in Mario Saltarel­li. “His ex­pe­ri­ences at both ven­ture-backed biotech­nol­o­gy and glob­al phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies have in­volved him in every as­pect of bring­ing a med­i­cine from bench to bed­side,” said CEO Di­pal Doshi, re­fer­ring to Saltarel­li’s stints at Syn­tim­mune, Ver­tex, An­nex­on and Mallinck­rodt, among oth­ers.

→ Hav­ing sharp­ened his CFO acu­men at Aldeyra and Javelin, Stephen Tuli­pano has land­ed a new job at Stoke Ther­a­peu­tics. The Bio­gen alum joins Stoke months af­ter it closed a $90 mil­lion Se­ries B bank­ing on its an­ti­sense ap­proach — up­reg­u­lat­ing pro­tein ex­pres­sion — to ge­net­ic epilep­sies and oth­er dis­eases, with a lead (pre­clin­i­cal) pro­gram in Dravet syn­drome.

→ Wrap­ping up a Phase III pro­gram for its pe­di­atric liv­er drug, Al­bireo has be­gun plan­ning for the po­ten­tial launch by cre­at­ing a chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer role. Pamela Stephen­son, a vet­er­an of Ver­tex and Pfiz­er, will take on the po­si­tion. A4250 is de­signed to treat pro­gres­sive fa­mil­ial in­tra­hep­at­ic cholesta­sis, square­ly sit­u­at­ed in the or­phan realm in which Stephen­son has spent plen­ty of time.

→ Two months af­ter we broke the sto­ry that For­ma Ther­a­peu­tics had axed R&D staff in a ma­jor re­or­ga­ni­za­tion of the com­pa­ny, found­ing CEO Steve Tre­gay is now join­ing the ex­o­dus. He’s be­ing re­placed at the helm by Genen­tech vet and chief strat­e­gy of­fi­cer Frank Lee. Lee, whose last ti­tle at Genen­tech was se­nior vice pres­i­dent, glob­al prod­uct strat­e­gy, had a di­rect hand in launch­ing some of the big biotech’s top fran­chise drugs

Ran Zheng

→ Fol­low­ing a 16-year ca­reer han­dling op­er­a­tions at Am­gen, Ran Zheng is join­ing Or­chard Ther­a­peu­tics $OR­TX as its first chief tech­ni­cal of­fi­cer. Her re­spon­si­bil­i­ties span process de­vel­op­ment, man­u­fac­tur­ing, qual­i­ty, fa­cil­i­ties and en­gi­neer­ing, sup­ply chain, as well as CMC — all cru­cial el­e­ments in Or­chard’s quest to be­come a full-fledged de­vel­op­er of rare dis­ease gene ther­a­pies.

→ Weeks af­ter Mark Sir­go took the helm at ArunA Bio, he’s tapped Al Med­war, a for­mer col­league at BioDe­liv­ery Sci­ences, to ex­e­cute on cor­po­rate and com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment of its ex­o­some plat­form. The Athens, GA-based com­pa­ny is wag­ing a fresh ef­fort to de­vel­op ther­a­peu­tics for neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases us­ing neur­al ex­o­somes and could use some in­dus­try col­lab­o­ra­tions.

→ With a new CSO in place, Nim­bus Ther­a­peu­tics is beef­ing up its sci­en­tif­ic team to ac­cel­er­ate its mo­men­tum in drug dis­cov­ery. Alan Col­lis has been named VP of pre­clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, hav­ing worked with the com­pa­ny part-time since leav­ing the DPMK di­rec­tor role at For­ma Ther­a­peu­tics last Oc­to­ber. Jen­nifer Roc­nik, cur­rent di­rec­tor of on­col­o­gy bi­ol­o­gy, got a pro­mo­tion to VP bi­ol­o­gy.

→ As Fractyl Lab­o­ra­to­ries kicks off a clin­i­cal tri­al in type 2 di­a­betes, the Lex­ing­ton, MA-based  com­pa­ny has hired for­mer Sanofi ex­ec Mar­garet Bo­rys as chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer and In­ter­cept alum Juan Car­los Lopez-Ta­lav­era as chief med­ical of­fi­cer. Its lead prod­uct can­di­date, Re­vi­ta DMR, is an out­pa­tient pro­ce­dure de­signed to re­ju­ve­nate the in­testi­nal lin­ing through a catheter in or­der to re­verse in­sulin-re­sis­tant meta­bol­ic dis­eases like di­a­betes and NASH.

→ Ox­ford pro­fes­sor Mark Mc­Carthy has of­fi­cial­ly hung up his “metaphor­i­cal stetho­scope” to and trav­el­ing halfway across the world to lead hu­man ge­net­ics at Genen­tech in the Bay Area. His new job will in­volve en­abling drug dis­cov­ery, as well as di­rect­ing a re­search team fo­cused on trans­la­tion­al ef­forts.

Sanofi brings in 4 new ex­ec­u­tives in con­tin­ued shake-up, as vac­cines and con­sumer health chief head out the door

In the middle of Sanofi’s multi-pronged race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, David Loew, the head of their sprawling vaccines unit, is leaving – part of the final flurry of moves in the French giant’ months-long corporate shuffle that will give them new-look leadership under new CEO Paul Hudson.

The company also said today that Alan Main, the head of their consumer healthcare unit, is out, and they named 4 executives to fill new or newly vacated positions, 3 of whom come from both outside both Sanofi and from Pharma.

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As­traZeneca trum­pets the 'mo­men­tous' da­ta they found for Tagris­so in an ad­ju­vant set­ting for NSCLC — but many of the ex­perts aren’t cheer­ing along

AstraZeneca is rolling out the big guns this evening to provide a salute to their ADAURA data on Tagrisso at ASCO.

Cancer R&D chief José Baselga calls the disease-free survival data for their drug in an adjuvant setting of early stage, epidermal growth factor receptor-mutated NSCLC patients following surgery “momentous.” Roy Herbst, the principal investigator out of Yale, calls it “transformative.”

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Pablo Legorreta, founder and CEO of Royalty Pharma AG, speaks at the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Cap­i­tal­iz­ing Pablo: The world’s biggest drug roy­al­ty buy­er is go­ing pub­lic. And the low-key CEO di­vulges a few se­crets along the way

Pablo Legorreta is one of the most influential players in biopharma you likely never heard of.

Over the last 24 years, Legorreta’s Royalty Pharma group has become, by its own reckoning, the biggest buyer of drug royalties in the world. The CEO and founder has bought up a stake in a lengthy list of the world’s biggest drug franchises, spending $18 billion in the process — $2.2 billion last year alone. And he’s become one of the best-paid execs in the industry, reaping $28 million from the cash flow last year while reserving 20% of the cash flow, less expenses, for himself.

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Ab­b­Vie wins an ap­proval in uter­ine fi­broid-as­so­ci­at­ed heavy bleed­ing. Are ri­vals My­ovant and Ob­sE­va far be­hind?

Women expel on average about 2 to 3 tablespoons of blood during their time of the month. But with uterine fibroids, heavy bleeding is typical — a third of a cup or more. Drugmakers have been working on oral therapies to try and stem the flow, and as expected, AbbVie and their partners at Neurocrine Biosciences are the first to make it across the finish line.

Known chemically as elagolix, the drug is already approved as a treatment for endometriosis under the brand name Orilissa. It targets the GnRH receptor to decrease the production of estrogen and progesterone.

Dan O'Day, Gilead CEO (Andrew Harnik, AP Images)

Gilead leas­es part­ner rights to TIG­IT, PD-1 in a $2B deal with Ar­cus. Now comes the hard part

Gilead CEO Dan O’Day has brokered his way to a PD-1 and lined up a front row seat in the TIGIT arena, inking a deal worth close to $2 billion to align the big biotech closely with Terry Rosen’s Arcus. And $375 million of that comes upfront, with cash for the buy-in plus equity, along with $400 million for R&D and $1.22 billion in reserve to cover opt-in payments and milestones..

Hotly rumored for weeks, the 2 players have formalized a 10-year alliance that starts with rights to the PD-1, zimberelimab. O’Day also has first dibs on TIGIT and 2 other leading programs, agreeing to an opt-in fee ranging from $200 million to $275 million on each. There’s $500 million in potential TIGIT milestones on US regulatory events — likely capped by an approval — if Gilead partners on it and the stars align on the data. And there’s another $150 million opt-in payments for the rest of the Arcus pipeline.

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Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Getty Images)

Sanofi CEO Paul Hud­son has $23B burn­ing a hole in his pock­et. And here are some hints on how he plans to spend that

Sanofi has reaped $11.1 billion after selling off a big chunk of its Regeneron stock at $515 a share. And now everyone on the M&A side of the business is focused on how CEO Paul Hudson plans to spend it.

After getting stung in France for some awkward politicking — suggesting the US was in the front of the line for Sanofi’s vaccines given American financial support for their work, versus little help from European powers — Hudson now has the much more popular task of managing a major cash cache to pull off something in the order of a big bolt-on. Or two.

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Roger Perlmutter, Merck R&D chief (YouTube)

Backed by BAR­DA, Mer­ck jumps in­to Covid-19: buy­ing out a vac­cine, part­ner­ing on an­oth­er and adding an­tivi­ral to the mix

Merck execs are making a triple play in a sudden leap into the R&D campaign against Covid-19. And they have more BARDA cash backing them up on the move.

Tuesday morning the pharma giant simultaneously announced plans to buy an Austrian biotech that has been working on a preclinical vaccine candidate, added a collaboration on another vaccine with the nonprofit IAVI and inked a deal with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics on an early-stage antiviral.

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Sier­ra On­col­o­gy brings on for­mer Aim­mune CEO to the helm; Flag­ship woos ex-No­var­tis ex­ec Fab­rice Chouraqui

Momelotinib-focused Sierra Oncology, which launched a Phase III trial in November for myelofibrosis patients, has made Stephen Dilly its president and CEO, effective June 1. Dilly was previously the CEO at Aimmune from 2014 until what was billed as his retirement in 2018, but now he’s back at the helm of another company and is also a member of Sierra’s board of directors. Additionally, the seasoned vet has held posts at Genentech, Chiron and GSK.

David Chang, Allogene CEO (Jeff Rumans)

Head­ed to PhII: Al­lo­gene CEO David Chang com­pletes a pos­i­tive ear­ly snap­shot of their off-the-shelf CAR-T pi­o­neer

Allogene CEO David Chang has completed the upbeat first portrait of the biotech’s off-the-shelf CAR-T contender ALLO-501 at virtual ASCO today, keeping all eyes on a drug that will now try to go on to replace the first-wave personalized pioneers he helped create.

The overall response rate outlined in Allogene’s abstract for treatment-resistant patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma slipped a little from the leadup, but if you narrow the patient profile to treatment-naïve patients — removing the 3 who had previous CAR-T therapy who didn’t respond, leaving 16 — the ORR lands at 75% with a 44% complete response rate. And 9 of the 12 responders remained in response at the data cutoff, offering a glimpse on durability that still has a long way to go before it can be completely nailed down.

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