Ex-Celgene exec Terrie Curran puts her Phathom team in place; Caraway taps Martin Williams as CEO
→ Gastrointestinal disease-focused Phathom Pharmaceuticals has shaken up its leadership team. The company has tapped former Celgene exec Terrie Curran as CEO, succeeding David Socks, who is transitioning to interim CFO. Curran was president of Celgene’s global inflammation and immunology franchise — helping with the sale of Otezla for $13.4 billion to Amgen — and has held a previous stint at Merck. In addition to Curran, the company also welcomed former Omeros CMO Eckhard Leifke as CMO, ex-Celgene exec Joseph Hand as chief administrative officer, and former general counsel for Cyclerion Therapeutics Larry Miller as general counsel. They also replaced Chris Slavinsky on the board with Takeda exec Asit Parikh.
→ Martin Williams has taken the reins at Caraway Therapeutics as the company’s new CEO. Most recently, Williams served as the executive chairman at Yuma Therapeutics, which he co-founded. His previous stints include roles as CEO of Tokai Pharmaceuticals and CBO of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals and Synta Pharmaceuticals. Williams’ appointment comes after the neurodegenerative disease-focused company named Cristina Csimma chair of the company’s board of directors earlier this year.
→ After a clean sweep of its C-suite a few months ago, Akcea has grabbed Alex Howarth to be the company’s new COO. Howarth, a former GSK exec (leading GSK Venture Partnerships) will take charge of corporate strategy, business development, management of stakeholder alliances, legal and compliance.
→ San Francisco-based developer Nuvelution — which back in 2017 struck a pact and gambled big on a Phase III study to apply Teva’s Austedo to Tourette syndrome — has snagged Ronald Martell as the company’s president and CEO. Martell most recently was founder and executive chairman of Indapta and CEO at Achieve Life Sciences. His résumé also includes roles at HAVAH Therapeutics, ImClone Systems, Roche and Genentech — where he was responsible for building the company’s oncology franchise, including the launch of Herceptin for metastatic HER-2 positive breast cancer and Rituxan for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
→ Inceptua — which recently inked an exclusive clinical trial supply agreement with German oncology generics manufacturer Bendalis — has named Paul Wituschek as president of the company’s North American business. He will be based in the US. In this new role, Wituschek will take on legal responsibility of the company’s US affiliate and lead the North American business development of Inceptua’s three business units: Clinical Trial Services, Medicines Access and Inceptua Pharma. Previously, Wituschek served as executive vice president of global business development for ICON and served as VP, global business development for Catalent Pharma Solutions.
→ After abruptly calling off their IPO in August and reviving it once more in October, RAPT Therapeutics has named Rodney Young as CFO. Most recently Young served in the same role at Cellerant Therapeutics and previously was CFO and VP of finance and administration for StemCells, where he was responsible for raising over $200 million in financing. Young’s appointment came a day before the company inked a collaboration with South Korea’s Hanmi Pharmaceuticals worth $10 million upfront and up to $108 million in potential development and sales milestones.
→ Glenmark spinoff Ichnos Sciences, led by Gilead vet Alessandro Riva, has made two new additions to the team with the appointments of Patrick Flanigan as CFO and Martin Wilson as general counsel. Prior to his new role, Flanigan served as SVP of investor relations & treasury for Celgene. Wilson comes from Teligent where he served as general counsel and has previous experience from stints at Endo Pharmaceuticals, Par Pharmaceutical and Schering-Plough.
→ Pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics has secured Christine Bent as the company’s COO. Bent joins the company after a stint as SVP of operations at Allina Hospital and Clinics and former roles at Minneapolis Heart Institute and Atrius Health.
→ After backing infectious disease startup AN2 Therapeutics and inking a deal for their lead TB drug, Brii Biosciences has brought on GSK vet John Kraus as SVP, neurosciences therapy area and Zhijian “James” Chen as a strategic scientific advisor. Most recently, Kraus served as VP, drug development services for ICON and previously held a 12-year stint at GSK, focusing on the neurosciences therapy area unit and developing treatments for a variety of CNS diseases. Chen, a professor, is an investigator at Howard Medical Institute. Previously, Chen was a senior scientist at ProScript, where he helped discover the proteasome inhibitor Velcade — used to treat multiple myeloma.
→ Neural exosome developer for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases Aruna Bio has appointed James Paskavitz as VP of research and development. Paskavitz most recently served as senior medical director at Sage Therapeutics. Prior to Sage, Paskavitz was medical director at Biogen, leading the company’s Parkinson’s disease imaging and technology program along with facilitating early development in Alzheimer’s, ALS and multiple sclerosis. In addition, he has served as medical director at both Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Parexel.
→ Axovant spinout Arvelle Therapeutics — partner to SK Biopharma, which recently bagged an $850 million IPO in Korea — has appointed former exec and COO of Actelion Otto Schwarz as chair to its board of directors and as an independent director.
→ Bioasis Technologies — a company developing the xB³ platform, technology for the delivery of therapeutics across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) disorders — has announced the creation of the medical oncology advisory board with three appointments: John DeGroot, chairman ad interim in the department of neuro-oncology at MD Anderson; professor of medicine at UCSF Hope Rugo; and coordinator at the Hospital Vall d’Hebron in Barcelona Javier Cortés. The board’s chair will be José Iglesias, who has been appointed consultant CMO for the company and has held previous stints at Eli Lilly and Amgen. The goals of this board will be to guide the clinical strategy and design of the xB3-001 clinical program for the treatment of HER2+ breast cancer and brain metastases.
→ Evelo Biosciences, which develops biologics, has welcomed Juan Andres to its board of directors. Andres is currently the chief technical operations and quality officer at Moderna.