Evan Loh climbs the lad­der to be­come CEO at Paratek Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals; Co­di­ak's Doug Williams takes chair­man's role at AC Im­mune

Evan Loh Paratek

De­ter­mined to be the good sto­ry that the an­tibi­otics field so des­per­ate­ly needs, Paratek Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals $PRTK is reshuf­fling its top-lev­el man­age­ment to han­dle a grow­ing com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion. Evan Loh has be­come CEO af­ter climb­ing the lad­der over the past sev­en years (from CMO to pres­i­dent and COO) while Michael Bigham claims the new­ly cre­at­ed po­si­tion of ex­ec­u­tive chair­man. They will over­see life cy­cle ex­pan­sion ini­tia­tives for Nuzyra with chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer Adam Woodrow, who’s been pro­mot­ed to pres­i­dent. Mean­while, Randy Bren­ner will take up ad­di­tion­al re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in med­ical af­fairs af­ter lead­ing the reg­u­la­to­ry ef­forts for Paratek.

Doug Williams, the CEO at Co­di­ak, is tak­ing the chair­man’s po­si­tion at Swiss biotech AC Im­mune, which has spent years pur­su­ing new ther­a­pies for Alzheimer’s dis­ease. Williams was a top ex­ec at Bio­gen with George Scan­gos’ crew be­fore he left well ahead of the big biotech’s cur­rent tra­vails with Alzheimer’s.

Yaky Yanay Linkedin

→ Is­raeli biotech Pluris­tem has of­fi­cial­ly phased out its co-CEO struc­ture, in­stalling Yaky Yanay as the sole chief and pres­i­dent. Za­mi Aber­man will be­come ex­ec­u­tive chair­man, with a man­date to shape cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment and busi­ness strat­e­gy. The tran­si­tion comes as the com­pa­ny wraps up its Phase III and be­gins pon­der­ing com­mer­cial­iza­tion of its pla­cen­ta-based cell ther­a­pies, which treat crit­i­cal limb is­chemia and hip frac­ture among oth­er dis­eases. 

Mar­garet Olinger Linkedin

Amy­lyx Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has laid rel­a­tive­ly low since break­ing out six years ago with sup­port from the late Hen­ri Ter­meer. But the young founders are now con­fi­dent enough in their Phase II work in amy­otroph­ic lat­er­al scle­ro­sis and Alzheimer’s dis­ease to re­cruit some sea­soned ex­ecs to their team. Patrick Yerami­an, who’s been con­sult­ing with the Cam­bridge, MA-based com­pa­ny, joins as the full-time CMO; Alex­ion vet Mar­garet Olinger is the new chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer; and Tom Holmes jumps from Bio­gen to head the sup­ply chain.

→ Mov­ing fast and plan­ning way ahead have been cen­tral tenets at Ar­cus Bio­sciences, and it is once again show­ing in their ap­point­ment of a chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer long be­fore en­ter­ing late-stage stud­ies. Er­ic Hoe­fer, an I/O vet who’s cred­it­ed for help­ing launch Imfinzi at As­traZeneca, is tasked with ad­vis­ing the team on iden­ti­fy­ing key pa­tient pop­u­la­tions, mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties and po­ten­tial ap­proach­es to ac­cel­er­ate de­vel­op­ment. Ar­cus’ most ad­vanced pro­gram com­bines AB928, a dual adeno­sine re­cep­tor an­tag­o­nist, and AB122, a cheap PD-1 drug li­censed from WuXi.

Mor­phoSys has re­cruit­ed ex-Syn­tim­mune chief Jean-Paul Kress to take the helm as Si­mon Mo­roney makes his planned ex­it from the C-suite. Mo­roney steps down at the be­gin­ning of Sep­tem­ber. Kress helped arrange the sale of Syn­tim­mune to Alex­ion.

Er­ic Hoe­fer Twit­ter

In the fi­nal lead-up to its all-im­por­tant BLA sub­mis­sion slat­ed for Q3, DBV Tech­nolo­gies has raid­ed Mil­len­do Ther­a­peu­tics for a new CMO. Phar­is Mo­hideen will work close­ly with CSO Hugh Samp­son, who’s been dou­bling in the med­ical role ad in­ter­im. Aside from their peanut al­ler­gy prod­uct, the French biotech is al­so de­vel­op­ing a non-in­va­sive way to de­liv­er bi­o­log­i­cal­ly ac­tive com­pounds to the im­mune sys­tem through the skin.

→ Long­time in­vest­ment banker Pe­ter Col­lum is mak­ing the leap to the in­dus­try as CFO and CBO at Pharnext, a French com­pa­ny he’s got­ten to know in the past five years. Its pleother­a­py plat­form iden­ti­fies the ide­al com­bi­na­tion of avail­able med­i­cines to fight tar­gets un­der­ly­ing, of­ten rare, dis­ease. 

Qrons has tapped John Bon­figlio to spear­head IND ac­tiv­i­ties sur­round­ing its hy­dro­gel for trau­mat­ic brain in­juries. As COO, Bon­figlio will op­er­ate from the biotech’s New York head­quar­ters and co­or­di­nate with the sci­en­tif­ic team in Is­rael. Be­fore start­ing his own con­sult­ing group, he helmed sev­er­al drug de­vel­op­ment com­pa­nies in­clud­ing TapIm­mune, Or­a­gen­ics and Pere­grine.

Paul Fos­ter Xen­cor

→ CMO and se­nior vice pres­i­dent of Xen­cor — a com­pa­ny fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing en­gi­neered mon­o­clon­al an­ti­bod­ies for the treat­ment of var­i­ous dis­eases and ill­ness­es — Paul Fos­ter will be step­ping out the door and in­to re­tire­ment ef­fec­tive Oc­to­ber 31, 2019, af­ter a decade of ser­vice. While at the com­pa­ny, Fos­ter ad­vanced a di­verse pipeline of XmAb bis­pe­cif­ic an­ti­bod­ies in­to ear­ly-stage clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. The com­pa­ny has ini­ti­at­ed a search for a suc­ces­sor. 

→ Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia-based Propanc Bio­phar­ma wel­comed Car­lo Campi­ciano to the ranks as CFO of the com­pa­ny. For over a decade, Campi­ciano has served as an ex­ter­nal ad­vi­sor for the com­pa­ny while al­so serv­ing as CFO of a start­up — which grew from an an­nu­al turnover of $2 mil­lion to $40 mil­lion, run­ning a pri­vate ac­count­ing prac­tice for over 30 years and serv­ing as a lec­tur­er for 12 years at Swin­burne Uni­ver­si­ty.

→ Ahead of its Phase III de­vel­op­ment of en­sifen­trine, Verona Phar­ma — a com­pa­ny fo­cused on res­pi­ra­to­ry dis­eases — added Ni­na Church and Nan­cy Her­je to the fold. GSK vet Church will serve as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of glob­al clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and Her­je will join as se­nior di­rec­tor of clin­i­cal op­er­a­tions. Dur­ing her 25 years at GSK, Church was in­volved in the de­vel­op­ment of Ad­vair, Anoro, Flovent, Serevent and Ven­tolin. She joins Verona from Par­i­on Sci­ences where she served as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, clin­i­cal op­er­a­tions. Pri­or to join­ing Verona, Her­je was a se­nior clin­i­cal sci­en­tist at Ex­e­cuPharm. She has had pre­vi­ous stints at Chimerix, Ae­ro­crine, In­spire and GSK

Nan­cy Her­je Linkedin

Abeona Ther­a­peu­tics — a com­pa­ny de­vel­op­ing cell and gene ther­a­pies — has strength­ened its lead­er­ship board with the ad­di­tion of Vic­tor Paulus as se­nior vice pres­i­dent of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs and Jodie Gillon as vice pres­i­dent of pa­tient ad­vo­ca­cy and clin­i­cal af­fairs. 

Pri­or to join­ing Abeona, Paulus served as vice pres­i­dent and glob­al head of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs at Hookipa Phar­ma. He’s al­so served at No­var­tis com­pa­ny, Ad­vanced Ac­cel­er­a­tor Ap­pli­ca­tions, where he se­cured or­phan des­ig­na­tions and prod­uct ap­provals for Gal­li­um Ga68 dotatate and Lutetium Lu177 dotatate and has held stints at GSK and Dr. Red­dy’s

Jodie Gillon Linkedin

Gillon has had over a decade of ex­pe­ri­ence at Pfiz­er — where she was the glob­al med­ical lead for pa­tient en­gage­ment. She’s al­so pre­vi­ous­ly served at Achillion Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, As­traZeneca, No­var­tis and Orid­ion

Im­pel Neu­roPhar­ma — fo­cused on ther­a­pies to treat pa­tients with cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem dis­or­ders, such as INP104 (POD-DHE) for acute mi­graine headaches — has tapped John Lea­man as CFO. Most re­cent­ly, Lea­man served at Se­lec­ta Bio­sciences in the same role and has served in oth­er lead­er­ship po­si­tions at Med­gen­ics, Shire and De­von Park Bioven­tures.

Vi­a­Cyte — a stem cell play­er who fu­eled up with $105 mil­lion for its next big at­tack on di­a­betes last No­vem­ber — has en­list­ed San­dra E. Poole to its board of di­rec­tors. Most re­cent­ly, Poole served as the COO of genome edit­ing com­pa­ny, Log­icBio Ther­a­peu­tics. Poole’s has held stints at Im­muno­Gen and Gen­zyme (now Sanofi Gen­zyme). Poole cur­rent­ly serves on the board of di­rec­tors of Retrophin and the su­per­vi­so­ry board of Val­ne­va, SE — a France-based vac­cine com­pa­ny. 

Vlad Coric (Biohaven)

In an­oth­er dis­ap­point­ment for in­vestors, FDA slaps down Bio­haven’s re­vised ver­sion of an old ALS drug

Biohaven is at risk of making a habit of disappointing its investors. 

Late Friday the biotech $BHVN reported that the FDA had rejected its application for riluzole, an old drug that they had made over into a sublingual formulation that dissolves under the tongue. According to Biohaven, the FDA had a problem with the active ingredient used in a bioequivalence study back in 2017, which they got from the Canadian drugmaker Apotex.

Francesco De Rubertis

Medicxi is rolling out its biggest fund ever to back Eu­rope's top 'sci­en­tists with strange ideas'

Francesco De Rubertis built Medicxi to be the kind of biotech venture player he would have liked to have known back when he was a full time scientist.

“When I was a scientist 20 years ago I would have loved Medicxi,’ the co-founder tells me. It’s the kind of place run by and for investigators, what the Medicxi partner calls “scientists with strange ideas — a platform for the drug hunter and scientific entrepreneur. That’s what I wanted when I was a scientist.”

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Af­ter a decade, Vi­iV CSO John Pot­tage says it's time to step down — and he's hand­ing the job to long­time col­league Kim Smith

ViiV Healthcare has always been something unique in the global drug industry.

Owned by GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer — with GSK in the lead as majority owner — it was created 10 years ago in a time of deep turmoil for the field as something independent of the pharma giants, but with access to lots of infrastructural support on demand. While R&D at the mother ship inside GSK was souring, a razor-focused ViiV provided a rare bright spot, challenging Gilead on a lucrative front in delivering new combinations that require fewer therapies with a more easily tolerated regimen.

They kept a massive number of people alive who would otherwise have been facing a death sentence. And they made money.

And throughout, John Pottage has been the chief scientific and chief medical officer.

Until now.

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Chas­ing Roche's ag­ing block­buster fran­chise, Am­gen/Al­ler­gan roll out Avastin, Her­ceptin knock­offs at dis­count

Let the long battle for biosimilars in the cancer space begin.

Amgen has launched its Avastin and Herceptin copycats — licensed from the predecessors of Allergan — almost two years after the FDA had stamped its approval on Mvasi (bevacizumab-awwb) and three months after the Kanjinti OK (trastuzumab-anns). While the biotech had been fielding biosimilars in Europe, this marks their first foray in the US — and the first oncology biosimilars in the country.

Seer adds ex-FDA chief Mark Mc­Clel­lan to the board; Her­cules Cap­i­tal makes it of­fi­cial for new CEO Scott Bluestein

→ On the same day it announced a $17.5 million Series C, life sciences and health data company Seer unveiled that it had lured former FDA commissioner and ex-CMS administrator Mark McClellan on to its board. “Mark’s deep understanding of the health care ecosystem and visionary insights on policy reform will be crucial in informing our thinking as we work to bring our liquid biopsy and life sciences products to market,” said Seer chief and founder Omid Farokhzad in a statement.

Daniel O'Day

No­var­tis hands off 3 pre­clin­i­cal pro­grams to the an­tivi­ral R&D mas­ters at Gilead

Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day’s new task hunting up a CSO for the company isn’t stopping the industry’s dominant antiviral player from doing pipeline deals.

The big biotech today snapped up 3 preclinical antiviral programs from pharma giant Novartis, with drugs promising to treat human rhinovirus, influenza and herpes viruses. We don’t know what the upfront is, but the back end has $291 million in milestones baked in.

Vas Narasimhan, AP Images

On a hot streak, No­var­tis ex­ecs run the odds on their two most im­por­tant PhI­II read­outs. Which is 0.01% more like­ly to suc­ceed?

Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan is living in the sweet spot right now.

The numbers are running a bit better than expected, the pipeline — which he assembled as development chief — is performing and the stock popped more than 4% on Thursday as the executive team ran through their assessment of Q2 performance.

Year-to-date the stock is up 28%, so the investors will be beaming. Anyone looking for chinks in their armor — and there are plenty giving it a shot — right now focus on payer acceptance of their $2.1 million gene therapy Zolgensma, where it’s early days. And CAR-T continues to underperform, but Novartis doesn’t appear to be suffering from it.

So what could go wrong?

Actually, not much. But Tim Anderson at Wolfe pressed Narasimhan and his development chief John Tsai to pick which of two looming Phase III readouts with blockbuster implication had the better odds of success.

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H1 analy­sis: The high-stakes ta­ble in the biotech deals casi­no is pay­ing out some record-set­ting win­nings

For years the big trend among dealmakers at the major players has been centered on ratcheting down upfront payments in favor of bigger milestones. Better known as biobucks for some. But with the top 15 companies competing for the kind of “transformative” pacts that can whip up some excitement on Wall Street, with some big biotechs like Regeneron now weighing in as well, cash is king at the high stakes table.

We asked Chris Dokomajilar, the head of DealForma, to crunch the numbers for us, looking over the top 20 deals for the past decade and breaking it all down into the top alliances already created in 2019. Gilead has clearly tipped the scales in terms of the coin of the bio-realm, with its record-setting $5 billion upfront to tie up to Galapagos’ entire pipeline.

Dokomajilar notes:

We’re going to need a ‘three comma club’ for the deals with over $1 billion in total upfront cash and equity. The $100 million-plus club is getting crowded at 164 deals in the last decade with new deals being added towards the top of the chart. 2019 already has 14 deals with at least $100 million in upfront cash and equity for a total year-to-date of over $9 billion. That beats last year’s $8 billion and sets a record.

Add upfronts and equity payments and you get $11.5 billion for the year, just shy of last year’s record-setting $11.8 billion.

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Part club, part guide, part land­lord: Arie Bellde­grun is blue­print­ing a string of be­spoke biotech com­plex­es in glob­al boom­towns — start­ing with Boston

The biotech industry is getting a landlord, unlike anything it’s ever known before.

Inspired by his recent experiences scrounging for space in Boston and the Bay Area, master biotech builder, investor, and global dealmaker Arie Belldegrun has organized a new venture to build a new, 250,000 square foot biopharma building in Boston’s Seaport district — home to Vertex and a number of up-and-coming biotech players.

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