Ex-Gilead R&D chief Bischof­berg­er starts over as CEO of Kro­nos Bio; Sue Ma­ho­ny steps down from Lil­ly On­col­o­gy

→ Af­ter spend­ing the past 30 years be­fore the R&D mast at Gilead, ex-re­search chief Nor­bert Bischof­berg­er is start­ing over from scratch. This morn­ing, just a few weeks af­ter his for­mal de­par­ture from the head job at one of the world’s top 15 drug re­search or­ga­ni­za­tions, Bischof­berg­er is jump­ing on board at an up­start biotech with just four full-time staffers. He’s chipped in to an $18 mil­lion seed round — rough­ly 1/200th the size of this year’s R&D bud­get at Gilead — to launch Kro­nos Bio. The biotech in-li­censed a plat­form tech­nol­o­gy out of the lab of MIT pro­fes­sor An­gela Koehler fo­cused on mod­u­lat­ing tran­scrip­tion fac­tors in can­cer, with two pre­clin­i­cal pro­grams fo­cused on MYC and the red-hot an­dro­gen re­cep­tor tar­get. 

Sue Ma­ho­ny

→ Just as Eli Lil­ly $LLY is be­gin­ning to catch up in can­cer R&D, Sue Ma­ho­ny, pres­i­dent of Lil­ly On­col­o­gy, an­nounced that she is re­tir­ing from her com­pa­ny of 18 years. Hav­ing led the unit through the in­te­gra­tion of Im­Clone af­ter the $6.5 bil­lion ac­qui­si­tion in 2008, as well as the launch of sev­er­al key drugs, Ma­ho­ny re­cent­ly led the “re­fo­cus­ing of the com­pa­ny’s on­col­o­gy R&D strat­e­gy.” It’s been a quick-fire process marked by the re­cruit­ment of top in­ves­ti­ga­tor Leena Gand­hi, $1.6 bil­lion buy­out of Ar­mo Bio and a $576 mil­lion deal to ac­quire Au­r­Ka Phar­ma. The In­di­anapo­lis-based phar­ma is con­sid­er­ing in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal can­di­dates to suc­ceed Ma­ho­ny, whom they praise for a “pas­sion for pa­tients and strong sense of pur­pose.”

J Craig Ven­ter is re­tir­ing from Hu­man Longevi­ty, the an­ti-ag­ing start­up he found­ed, sev­er­al months af­ter he grabbed the reins back from Cyn­thia Collins. He will be re­turn­ing to the J Craig Ven­ter In­sti­tute to con­tin­ue his work, he tweet­ed.

→ Af­ter ex­per­i­ment­ing with a num­ber of plat­form tech­nolo­gies, Dean Falb is lend­ing his ear­ly-stage de­vel­op­ment skills to Log­icBio Ther­a­peu­tics as its CSO. The Cam­bridge, MA-based biotech is de­vel­op­ing gene ther­a­pies with a fo­cus on rare pe­di­atric dis­eases, and the ex­ecs like Falb’s back­ground as both a sci­en­tist and an en­tre­pre­neur: Falb co-found­ed Syn­log­ic and, un­til re­cent­ly, led its ef­forts to syn­thet­i­cal­ly en­gi­neer mi­crobes for treat­ment of rare dis­ease and can­cer. Be­fore that, he spent a cou­ple of years at At­las Ven­ture guid­ing the launch of ear­ly-stage life sci­ence com­pa­nies — and that’s af­ter lead­ing dis­cov­ery of bone mor­phogenic pro­tein drugs at Stryk­er Re­gen­er­a­tive Med­i­cine. He will now be front and cen­ter as Log­icBio plans a re­search strat­e­gy for its GeneR­ide tech.

Richard Mar­shall

→ Copen­hagen-based Galec­to Biotech has tapped GSK vet Richard Mar­shall to lead its piv­ot in­to late-stage stud­ies. As CMO, Mar­shall’s is tasked with first ex­e­cut­ing a PhI­Ib study for the in­haled galectin-3 in­hibitor TD139 in id­io­path­ic pul­monary fi­bro­sis, then bring­ing oth­er can­di­dates in fi­bro­sis, in­flam­ma­tion and can­cer in­to the clin­ic. While his pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence leans on the dis­cov­ery side, Galec­to CEO be­lieves his ex­per­tise in the res­pi­ra­to­ry and fi­bro­sis field shapes him up for the job.

→ In a bizarre saga that’s still play­ing out, Rock­well Med­ical’s board has vot­ed to fire its CEO Robert Chioi­ni. But the CEO swift­ly un­fired him­self, al­leg­ing that board mem­bers may have vi­o­lat­ed fed­er­al se­cu­ri­ties laws by vot­ing him out. That’s be­cause the pur­pose of this par­tic­u­lar meet­ing was to dis­cuss al­le­ga­tions of breach­es of fidu­cia­ry du­ties, not to vote on fir­ing the CEO. “As that ac­tion was not the pur­pose of the spe­cial meet­ing, the ter­mi­na­tion of the CEO, in the opin­ion of the non-con­flict­ed in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tors, was not ef­fec­tive,” writes Chioi­ni in a let­ter to share­hold­ers. If that wasn’t enough, Rock­well Med­ical al­so fired its CFO Thomas Kle­ma, who they said was col­lud­ing with the CEO. But that’s OK, be­cause Chioi­ni al­so re­ject­ed that de­ci­sion, un­fir­ing Kle­ma short­ly af­ter via a let­ter to share­hold­ers.

→ In con­junc­tion with a $18.9 mil­lion round co-led by Ver­sant, La­va Ther­a­peu­tics has an­nounced the ap­point­ment of Paul Par­ren as ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and head of R&D. He’s prob­a­bly best known for his time at Gen­mab, where he’s spent 16 years as head of pre­clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and re­search. When asked what was be­hind his move to a small start­up, Par­ren said he was up for the chal­lenge of ear­ly-stage re­search. At Nether­lands-based La­va, he will lead the de­vel­op­ment of a type of bi-spe­cif­ic an­ti­bod­ies built on a gam­ma delta T cell plat­form.

Swift Bio­sciences — a provider of li­brary prep so­lu­tions for genome se­quenc­ing — is fol­low­ing a flur­ry of ex­pan­sion ac­tiv­i­ties up with the ap­point­ment of a new CEO. Nathan Wood ar­rives just as the com­pa­ny set­tles in­to its first West Coast of­fice in San Fran­cis­co and pre­pares to move in­to brand new head­quar­ters in Ann Ar­bor. A for­mer pres­i­dent of syn­thet­ic ge­nomics com­pa­ny SGI-DNA, Wood is ex­pect­ed to ex­tend Swift’s reach to what they see as a grow­ing group of cus­tomers in need of next-gen se­quenc­ing for dis­cov­ery, re­search and analy­sis.

→ Drawn to Trans­late Bio’s mR­NA plat­form, long­time health­care in­vestor and for­mer Al­lianz an­a­lyst John Schroer is mak­ing the jump to biotech and tak­ing up a CFO role. The young biotech be­lieves its plat­form, which tar­gets pro­tein pro­duc­tion, can be ap­plied to a broad range of dis­eases; it’s start­ing out with a clin­ic-ready pro­gram in cys­tic fi­bro­sis and an­oth­er pre­clin­i­cal drug for or­nithine tran­scar­bamy­lase de­fi­cien­cy.

→ Still reel­ing from a cru­cial Phase IIb fail­ure that dragged its stock down two months ago, Pro­tag­o­nist Ther­a­peu­tics $PT­GX has brought in Jazz Phar­ma found­ing CEO Samuel Saks to of­fer strate­gic over­sight of its pipeline. In the new­ly cre­at­ed role of chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer — a po­si­tion he’s pre­vi­ous­ly tak­en up at Aus­pex Phar­ma — Saks is tasked with help­ing “re­al­ize the full po­ten­tial” of Pro­tag­o­nist’s pep­tide-based drugs by ad­vis­ing on re­search and clin­i­cal pro­grams.

→ Af­ter a clin­i­cal strat­e­gy stint at Roivant Sci­ences (pre­ced­ed by an­oth­er at Ax­o­vant), Mark Demi­track is join­ing Treve­na $TRVN as CMO. It’s a role that he’s well fa­mil­iar with, giv­en his 13-year tenure at med­ical de­vice com­pa­ny Neu­ro­net­ics. While the Chester­brook, PA-based biotech is fo­cused on pain treat­ment at the mo­ment — with an NDA for oliceri­dine in­jec­tion un­der re­view — Demi­track will be re­spon­si­ble for more than just ap­proval and post-ap­proval ac­tiv­i­ties. Chan­nel­ing his ex­pe­ri­ence at Lil­ly Re­search Labs, he will be ex­pect­ed to shep­herd Treve­na’s oth­er as­sets, in­clud­ing a treat­ment for se­vere mi­graine, from ear­ly de­vel­op­ment through com­mer­cial­iza­tion.

→ In prepa­ra­tion for the de­par­ture of CMO David Tuck, can­cer biotech Curis $CRIS has ap­point­ed Robert Martell as its first head of R&D. Martell, who’s fa­mil­iar­ized him­self with the com­pa­ny and its lead drug for dif­fuse large B-cell lym­phoma as a board mem­ber for the past few years, is now charged with putting the drug — dubbed fimepino­s­tat — on a path to reg­is­tra­tion. Martell pre­vi­ous­ly worked as CMO of Tesaro and is an ex-staffer of Bris­tol My­ers Squibb’s on­col­o­gy unit. Tuck is re­turn­ing to aca­d­e­m­ic re­search af­ter bring­ing sev­er­al of Curis’ can­di­dates in­to the clin­ic.

→ Look­ing to es­tab­lish it­self in the mar­ket for trans­la­tion­al re­search ser­vices, An­aBios has hired sea­soned ex­ec Chris Math­es as chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer. Math­es jumps the same role at Ica­gen, which, like An­aBios, op­er­ates an ear­ly drug dis­cov­ery plat­form. Man­ag­ing the ex­ter­nal-fac­ing side of the com­pa­ny, Math­es will ex­plore busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties and head up strat­e­gy for its “de-risk­ing tech­nol­o­gy.”

→ On the cusp of com­mer­cial­iza­tion of its first re­gen­er­a­tive med­i­cine prod­uct, Po­lar­i­tyTE $COOL has re­cruit­ed Howard Hech­ler from med­ical equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing Smith & Nephew to be its chief busi­ness of­fi­cer. Hech­ler’s broad man­date spans M&A, part­ner­ing ef­forts, and align­ment of pipeline de­vel­op­ment with com­mer­cial pri­or­i­ties.

→ Re­peat en­tre­pre­neur and car­di­ol­o­gist Mar­tin Roth­man is the newest ven­ture part­ner at Sofinno­va Part­ners, the Eu­ro­pean VC firm that in­vest­ed in a com­pa­ny he found­ed called Lim­Flow. For his first for­ay in­to in­vest­ing, Roth­man will iden­ti­fy and eval­u­ate the type of com­pa­nies that he knows best: med­ical de­vice. Be­fore join­ing Sofinno­va, which closed a $340 crossover fund just weeks ago, Roth­man served as the VP of med­ical af­fairs for coro­nary, struc­tur­al heart and re­nal den­er­va­tion at med­ical de­vice gi­ant Medtron­ic.

Ar­Qule $AR­QL has en­list­ed two more ex­ecs on its quest to de­vel­op on­col­o­gy and rare dis­ease meds for bio­mark­er-de­fined pa­tient pop­u­la­tions. Marc Schegerin comes in as SVP, cor­po­rate strat­e­gy, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and fi­nance, while Shirish Hi­rani will be SVP, pro­gram man­age­ment and prod­uct plan­ning. Schegerin has split his time in bio­phar­ma be­tween in­vest­ment bank­ing and strat­e­gy roles in biotech, start­ing off at Gold­man Sachs, tak­ing stints at Bio­gen and Sage Ther­a­peu­tics be­fore land­ing at Cit­i­group most re­cent­ly. Hi­rani, on the oth­er hand, has a re­sume lined with biotechs like Dyax and Gen­zyme, topped with a drug de­vel­op­ment role at Take­da-ac­quired Ari­ad Phar­ma.

→ For­mer Deutsche Bank and UBS an­a­lyst An­drew Pe­ters is the new (and first) VP of strat­e­gy at Ex­elix­is $EX­EL. Pe­ters’ ar­rival comes on the heels of a dam­ag­ing tri­al read­out that sug­gest­ed Ex­elix­is’ MEK in­hibitor Cotel­lic wasn’t any good at boost­ing Roche’s Tecen­triq in im­prov­ing over­all sur­vival for colon can­cer pa­tients, as many an­a­lysts ex­pect­ed it would. As the South San Fran­cis­co biotech maps a path for­ward, Pe­ters will as­sist the lead­er­ship team in re­fin­ing the mid- to long-term strat­e­gy.

→ Look­ing to beef up its pipeline of both in-house and li­cens­able as­sets, San Car­los, CA-based Apex­i­gen has tapped Frances Re­na Bah­jat to steer fur­ther dis­cov­ery and pre­clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment of im­muno-on­col­o­gy as­sets based on its plat­form tech. Bah­jat jumps to this VP of dis­cov­ery re­search role from Bris­tol My­ers Squibb, which hap­pens to be part­nered with Apex­i­gen on a com­bo fea­tur­ing Op­di­vo and APX005M. She will al­so sup­port the de­vel­op­ment of the PhII drug.

→ With a string of CRO ex­ec roles un­der his belt, Pe­te Ni­eto has been named VP of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment at Pro­Scien­to, scout­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for the San Diego-based com­pa­ny as it ex­pands its pres­ence over­seas but re­mains fo­cused on NASH, di­a­betes, obe­si­ty and re­lat­ed meta­bol­ic dis­eases. He joins from PPD.

→ An­ti­body dis­cov­ery com­pa­ny Im­muno­Pre­cise has hired Mi­crosoft vet Charles Whee­lock as chief tech­nol­o­gy of­fi­cer and Kari Graber as di­rec­tor of glob­al client ser­vices and project man­age­ment. Co­or­di­nat­ing their work will be CEO Jen­nifer Bath, who was con­cur­rent­ly in­duct­ed to the board of di­rec­tors.

Fran­cois Nad­er has tak­en a board seat at New York City-based Pre­vail Ther­a­peu­tics as the biotech ush­ers its gene ther­a­py pro­grams for Parkin­son’s and oth­er neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases in­to the clin­ic. Nad­er is prob­a­bly best known for his tenure at NPS Phar­ma, which cul­mi­nat­ed in a $5.2 bil­lion ac­qui­si­tion by Shire.

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.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 82,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

The Avance Clinical leadership team: CEO Yvonne Lungershausen, Sandrien Louwaars - Director Business Development Operations, Gabriel Kremmidiotis - Chief Scientific Officer, Ben Edwards - Chief Strategy Officer

How Aus­tralia De­liv­ers Rapid Start-up and 43.5% Re­bate for Ear­ly Phase On­col­o­gy Tri­als

About Avance Clinical

Avance Clinical is an Australian owned Contract Research Organisation that has been providing high-quality clinical research services to the local and international drug development industry for 20 years. They specialise in working with biotech companies to execute Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials to deliver high-quality outcomes fit for global regulatory standards.

As oncology sponsors look internationally to speed-up trials after unprecedented COVID-19 suspensions and delays, Australia, which has led the world in minimizing the pandemic’s impact, stands out as an attractive destination for early phase trials. This in combination with the streamlined regulatory system and the financial benefits including a very favourable exchange rate and the R & D cash rebate makes Australia the perfect location for accelerating biotech clinical programs.

As­traZeneca trum­pets the good 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.”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 82,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

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.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 82,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

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.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 82,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

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.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 82,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Look­ing to move past an R&D fi­as­co, Ipsen poach­es their new CEO from Sanofi

Ipsen has turned to another Paris-based biopharma company for its next CEO.

Sanofi Pasteur chief David Loew — who’s been leading one of the most advanced efforts to develop vaccines for Covid-19 — is making the journey to Ipsen, 5 months after David Meek jumped ship to run a startup in late-stage development.

Loew arrives as Ipsen works to get back on track with their rare bone disease drug palovarotene, picked up in the $1.3 billion Clementia buyout, which was slammed with a partial hold after researchers observed cases of “early growth plate closure” in patients under the age of 14. But they are pushing ahead with the over-14 crowd after writing down slightly more than half of its initial development.

Af­ter star­ring at ASH last fall, Gilead’s new Forty Sev­en crew col­ors in more promis­ing da­ta for ma­grolimab at AS­CO

We now know the full, early-stage story behind the drug that inspired Gilead CEO Dan O’Day’s recent $5 billion acquisition of Forty Seven.

Following up on their ASCO abstract from a couple of weeks ago, the team at Forty Seven is making their return appearance this week holding clearly promising early-stage data on their lead drug magrolimab as they ponder whether they should roll on a quest to obtain an accelerated approval.

Pfiz­er, Mer­ck KGaA ce­ment Baven­cio blad­der can­cer win with OS da­ta — while carv­ing an­oth­er niche in rare can­cer

Pfizer and Merck KGaA have detailed the Phase III data that inspired FDA regulators to designate Bavencio a “breakthrough” for first-line advanced bladder cancer and offered an early glance at how the PD-L1 can help patients with a rare gynecological cancer — carving out niches in the checkpoint space for itself after being shut out of numerous others.

In JAVELIN Bladder 100, Bavencio led to a 31% reduction in risk of death compared to standard care alone. It also extended median survival by more than seven months — a historic feat in this setting, according to investigators at Queen Mary University of London.