Ex-Vi­vid­ion chief Diego Mi­ralles finds 'dream team' at stealthy Flag­ship port­fo­lio com­pa­ny; Astel­las looks in­ward to se­lect CBO and CSO

Al­most three months af­ter leav­ing Vi­vid­ion Ther­a­peu­tics, where he re­cent­ly signed a $135 mil­lion Roche deal, Diego Mi­ralles has land­ed the top spot on a “dream team.”

On Thurs­day, Flag­ship Pi­o­neer­ing of­fi­cial­ly tapped Mi­ralles as its newest CEO-part­ner, where he’ll head the stealthy port­fo­lio com­pa­ny Laronde. While Mi­ralles couldn’t say much about Laronde just yet, Flag­ship has said it’s an ear­ly-stage biotech work­ing on nu­cle­ic acid med­i­cines us­ing a “mul­ti-modal­i­ty eR­NA plat­form.”

Com­par­ing Flag­ship to the “Dream Team in the Olympics of ‘92” — which went down in his­to­ry as one of the best sports teams ever as­sem­bled — Mi­ralles de­scribed the new gig as a “once in a life­time op­por­tu­ni­ty.”

Diego Mi­ralles

“And so now we’re off to the races,” he said.

Mi­ralles spent about three years at Vi­vid­ion, which inked a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Roche back in May for their mol­e­cule de­graders. In 2019, Mi­ralles helped the biotech hook an $82 mil­lion Se­ries B round. He left the helm to Jef­frey Hat­field, who pre­vi­ous­ly held the CEO job at Zaf­gen and Vi­tae Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

“We built a great com­pa­ny, and it was in great shape, had a lot of cap­i­tal in the bal­ance sheet, and I felt that… it was time to do some­thing else,” Mi­ralles said.

Be­fore Vi­vid­ion, Mi­ralles was pres­i­dent of Adap­tive Ther­a­peu­tics, and served at John­son & John­son for more than 10 years. There he led Janssen’s re­search and ear­ly de­vel­op­ment unit in Cal­i­for­nia, and es­tab­lished the J&J In­no­va­tion Cen­ters and Janssen/JLABS. He was al­so VP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Ti­botec, a J&J com­pa­ny, where he led a team that put six drugs in the clin­ic and saw five come out the oth­er side, in­clud­ing Prezista and In­te­lence for HIV.

“I’m an HIV physi­cian. And I saw what the in­dus­try can do for the world,” he said, adding lat­er: “That al­ways re­mains for me… a source of in­spi­ra­tion why we’re do­ing this.”

CEO-Part­ner is a new role that Flag­ship has been test­ing for the last year or so, Mi­ralles said. The first hire to the new po­si­tion was Fab­rice Chouraqui, for­mer pres­i­dent of No­var­tis’ US phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals busi­ness. Oth­er re­cent hires in­clude  Tuyen Ong, Bio­gen’s for­mer se­nior VP and head of their oph­thal­mol­o­gy fran­chise; and Guil­laume Pfe­fer, who was pre­vi­ous­ly SVP and glob­al vac­cine leader for Shin­grix, Glax­o­SmithK­line’s block­buster vac­cine for the pre­ven­tion of shin­gles. — Nicole De­Feud­is

Per­ci­val Bar­ret­to-Ko

Astel­las is do­ing some re­ar­rang­ing as CBO Per­ci­val Bar­ret­to-Ko and CSO Yoshit­sugu Shi­ta­ka rep­re­sent new ad­di­tions to the C-suite. Bar­ret­to-Ko came to Astel­las in its EMEA head­quar­ters from Roche in 2005, work­ing his way up in a va­ri­ety of ca­pac­i­ties and even­tu­al­ly be­com­ing pres­i­dent of Astel­las US in 2018. Shi­ta­ka, who start­ed at Astel­las as a re­searcher 25 years ago, had been pres­i­dent of the Astel­las In­sti­tute for Re­gen­er­a­tive Med­i­cine (AIRM) since 2016.

Suc­ceed­ing Bar­ret­to-Ko and Shi­ta­ka in their pre­vi­ous posts are Mark Reise­nauer and Masahide Go­to. A 10-year Astel­las vet, Reise­nauer takes over as US pres­i­dent af­ter near­ly five years as SVP of the on­col­o­gy busi­ness unit. Mean­while, Go­to’s el­e­va­tion to AIRM pres­i­dent comes af­ter a se­ries of lead­er­ship roles, no­tably se­nior di­rec­tor, bi­o­log­ics, modal­i­ty re­search lab­o­ra­to­ry. His Astel­las ca­reer start­ed as a re­searcher in 1997.

Robert Ross

→ There’s a new man at the top of the lead­er­ship line­up at Sur­face On­col­o­gy as Robert Ross steps up to the plate as pres­i­dent and CEO. Ross re­places Jeff Goater, who ar­rived as CBO and be­came the top ex­ec at Sur­face in Feb­ru­ary 2018, lead­ing the biotech to its up­sized IPO just weeks in­to the job. Sur­face be­gan a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Mer­ck last May to test whether its CD39-tar­get­ed SRF617 could be ef­fec­tive in com­bi­na­tion with Keytru­da. Ross will helm Sur­face af­ter more than four years as CMO and an­oth­er four years be­fore that as VP, clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at blue­bird bio.

Goater tran­si­tions to chair­man of the board, while Daniel Lynch steps down as chair­man and as­sumes a se­nior ad­vi­so­ry role. In ad­di­tion, Gen­er­a­tion Bio CEO Ge­off Mc­Do­nough will serve as lead in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tor. All these moves take ef­fect April 1.

Jim Mullen

→ The wheels on the CEO bus con­tin­ue to go round and round with Jim Mullen re-emerg­ing as the top ex­ec at a biotech by tak­ing the helm at Ed­i­tas Med­i­cine. Mullen, who re­places Cindy Collins ef­fec­tive this com­ing Mon­day, was CEO of Bio­gen from 2000 un­til his 2010 “re­tire­ment,” os­ten­si­bly has­tened when Carl Ic­ahn hand­picked two new board mem­bers and “crit­i­cized Mullen as in­su­lar and aloof re­gard­ing share­hold­er con­cerns,” ac­cord­ing to a 2010 Boston Globe sto­ry. Mullen’s de­par­ture, hailed by in­vestors at the time, paved the way for George Scan­gos to take over as Bio­gen’s chief ex­ec­u­tive.

Mullen takes com­mand at Ed­i­tas af­ter CSO Charles Al­bright left and the genome edit­ing biotech got the go-ahead from the FDA to hit the clin­ic with its sick­le cell ther­a­py ED­IT-301 with­in mo­ments of each oth­er a few weeks ago. This is the third CEO in two years for Ed­i­tas af­ter found­ing CEO Ka­trine Bosley’s sud­den ex­it in Jan­u­ary 2019.

Tom Mc­Court

→ Ef­fec­tive March 12, Mark Mal­lon will step down as CEO of Iron­wood Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, paving the way for com­pa­ny pres­i­dent Tom Mc­Court to take charge on an in­ter­im ba­sis. The die was cast when IW-3718 bombed out in one of its Phase III tri­als back in Sep­tem­ber, forc­ing the pro­gram to be halt­ed al­to­geth­er. Fol­low­ing that fail­ure, Mal­lon an­nounced that he would have to drop the ham­mer on 100 jobs at Iron­wood, and now it’s Mal­lon that’s look­ing for green­er pas­tures af­ter a shade un­der two years at the helm. Mc­Court, a No­var­tis and Am­gen vet, joined Iron­wood in 2009 as chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer and has been pres­i­dent since April 2019.

Rick Klaus­ner’s im­muno-on­col­o­gy start­up Lyell, one of the End­points 11 in 2020, has brought on Char­lie New­ton as CFO. New­ton, a Mor­gan Stan­ley and Cred­it Su­isse vet, co-led the health­care in­vest­ment bank­ing prac­tice in the Amer­i­c­as and was man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Bank of Amer­i­ca Se­cu­ri­ties, which was in­volved as a fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor in such re­cent ac­qui­si­tions as As­traZeneca/Alex­ion, Gilead/Kite and Nestlé/Aim­mune.

Es­ter Fal­con­er

→ With Pe­ter Thiel now sit­ting on the board of di­rec­tors and rid­ing high with a mam­moth IPO as Eli Lil­ly’s Covid-19 an­ti­body part­ner, Ab­Cellera has pro­mot­ed Es­ter Fal­con­er to chief tech­nol­o­gy of­fi­cer. As Ab­Cellera’s head of R&D, Fal­con­er led the Van­cou­ver-based com­pa­ny’s Pan­dem­ic Pre­pared­ness Plat­form (P3) pro­gram, as bam­lanivimab be­came the first mon­o­clon­al an­ti­body to score an EUA for Covid-19. Fal­con­er ar­rived as se­nior re­search sci­en­tist for Carl Hansen’s troops in 2015 and was pro­mot­ed to R&D chief two years ago.

→ Af­ter re­cent­ly seal­ing a deal with Pfiz­er, Dew­point Ther­a­peu­tics has reeled in Joel Sendek as CFO and trea­sur­er. Be­fore hop­ping aboard Dew­point, Sendek was CFO at Se­ma4, the AI play­er that just went pub­lic by merg­ing with Cas­din‘s $450 mil­lion SPAC. Pri­or to that, he served in the same po­si­tion at Spero Ther­a­peu­tics and For­ward Phar­ma. Sendek’s ad­di­tion­al ex­pe­ri­ence comes from roles at Stifel, Lazard, Prog­en­ics Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Gold­man Sachs.

Rute Fer­nan­des

Rute Fer­nan­des has got­ten the call to be gen­er­al man­ag­er of Take­da’s op­er­a­tions in Cana­da af­ter de­vot­ing two years as the phar­ma’s group VP and head of rare dis­ease fran­chise for Eu­rope and Cana­da. Take­da forged a rare dis­ease part­ner­ship with Ox­ford spin­out Evox Ther­a­peu­tics in March 2020 that to­taled $44 mil­lion. Fer­nan­des was Shire’s gen­er­al man­ag­er in Switzer­land un­til Take­da ac­quired the com­pa­ny for $62 bil­lion in Jan­u­ary 2019.

Frank Neu­mann

→ The re­cent­ly peri­patet­ic Frank Neu­mann has fi­nal­ly set­tled on a self-de­scribed dream gig as head of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Kite af­ter a whirl­wind of ap­pear­ances in Peer Re­view this year alone. Neu­mann was blue­bird bio’s head of on­col­o­gy re­search for a year and a half, then moved to Ve­rastem to take the CMO job a month ago. That last­ed all of two weeks. When the Kite po­si­tion opened up, Neu­mann told our Nicole De­Feud­is that he couldn’t say no and that if “some­one of­fers you to fly to the moon, you’re go­ing to be­come an as­tro­naut.”

Tim Trost’s time at AskBio was fleet­ing. Af­ter ac­cept­ing the CFO gig last spring at the gene ther­a­py play­er — which just made a par­tic­u­lar­ly splashy hire by nam­ing Kathy High pres­i­dent of ther­a­peu­tics — Trost has now jumped on board as CFO of can­cer-fo­cused Were­wolf Ther­a­peu­tics. Trost ar­rives at Were­wolf not long af­ter they gath­ered up $72 mil­lion in Se­ries B fi­nanc­ing in their quest to tar­get sol­id tu­mors. Be­fore AskBio, he had al­so been CFO at Chimerix and Ar­gos Ther­a­peu­tics.

Shan­non Blalock

En­er­gized by pos­i­tive Phase IIb da­ta in a sub­stan­tial re­tini­tis pig­men­tosa study back in the sum­mer­time last year, Hen­ry Klassen-found­ed jCyte has changed CEOs with Shan­non Blalock notch­ing a pro­mo­tion and tak­ing the helm, suc­ceed­ing Paul Bres­ge. Blalock joined jCyte as COO in Ju­ly hav­ing left his po­si­tion at San­ten Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals as glob­al leader for port­fo­lio de­vel­op­ment & glob­al R&D strat­e­gy. He al­so spent 11 years at GSK in such mar­ket­ing roles as glob­al head, mar­ket­ing & com­mer­cial strat­e­gy (di­ag­nos­tics, im­munol­o­gy & rare dis­eases).

Christo­pher Mox­ham scored a pro­mo­tion a few weeks ago as CSO at Ful­crum, and now his pre­de­ces­sor Owen Wal­lace has tak­en over as CSO at Ver­sant-backed Monte Rosa Ther­a­peu­tics. Wal­lace, who was pre­vi­ous­ly chief sci­en­tist at Ful­crum since 2017, al­so led glob­al dis­cov­ery chem­istry at No­var­tis In­sti­tutes of Bio­Med­ical Re­search and spent more than a decade at Eli Lil­ly. Monte Rosa has al­so named Sil­via Buon­am­i­ci SVP, drug dis­cov­ery bi­ol­o­gy af­ter she did con­sul­tan­cy work both at Ver­sant and at At­las Ven­ture.

James Priour

→ Van­cou­ver-based Zymeworks, which just had a break­through des­ig­na­tion be­stowed up­on them by the FDA in No­vem­ber for zanidatam­ab, is bustling with shifts in lead­er­ship as James Priour steps in­to the role of chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer. Priour, who had been SVP of com­mer­cial pri­or to his pro­mo­tion, jumped to Zymeworks last April af­ter 11 years at Am­gen, with sev­er­al of those years fo­cused on mar­ket­ing the can­cer drug Kypro­lis. In oth­er Zymeworks news, Man­ny Due­nas has been re­cruit­ed as VP, glob­al val­ue & ac­cess, while ex-head of dis­cov­ery re­search John Bab­cook is slid­ing in­to a new dis­tin­guished fel­low post. Bab­cook’s re­place­ment to lead dis­cov­ery re­search, Guowei Fang, has pre­vi­ous stints at Ab­b­Vie, Phar­ma­cyclics and Genen­tech, and just got to Zymeworks in De­cem­ber as SVP of re­search.

Pfiz­er and Roche alum Ashish Dugar has been se­lect­ed as SVP, glob­al head of med­ical af­fairs at Dyne Ther­a­peu­tics, which went pub­lic on an IPO that tipped the scales at $268 mil­lion last fall. Dugar piv­ots to Dyne from his post at Sarep­ta as VP, glob­al med­ical af­fairs. His tenure at Sarep­ta was pre­ced­ed by a short stay at Roche as glob­al head of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment sci­ence and in­no­va­tion, and 13 years at Pfiz­er in a ver­i­ta­ble grab-bag of ca­pac­i­ties, in­clud­ing VP, glob­al head of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and med­ical af­fairs of the biosim­i­lars busi­ness unit.

Bhard­waj De­sai

→ Can­cer start­up Pen­rose Ther­a­peuTx, which just hand­ed the CEO reins to Mark de Souza last fall, has tapped Bhard­waj De­sai as chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer on their lead pro­gram RP-0320. De­sai has most re­cent­ly been On­col­o­gy In­no­va­tion’s chief strate­gic med­ical and clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment con­sul­tant, but he al­so brings Big Phar­ma ex­pe­ri­ence from Pfiz­er and was for­mer­ly glob­al med­ical lead, on­col­o­gy at Astel­las.

Gem­i­ni Ther­a­peu­tics — which of­fi­cial­ly start­ed trad­ing on Nas­daq this week with the tick­er $GMTX af­ter the ini­tial SPAC deal spon­sored by Jim Tanan­baum’s Fore­site Cap­i­tal was made in Oc­to­ber — has pulled in Bri­an Piekos as CFO. Piekos is for­mer­ly the CFO and trea­sur­er at AM­AG Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, and be­fore his five years over­all at AM­AG, he held fi­nan­cial ti­tles at Cu­bist Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. Fore­site launched the SPAC FS De­vel­op­ment Corp specif­i­cal­ly for it to merge with Gem­i­ni in keep­ing with the in­flux of SPAC ac­tiv­i­ty in re­cent months.

Ja­son O’Byrne

Genen­tech alum Ja­son O’Byrne has been tapped as CFO of CRISPR genome edit­ing biotech Cari­bou Bio­sciences out of Berke­ley, CA, co-found­ed by Jen­nifer Doud­na and strik­ing a deal this week with Ab­b­Vie in­volv­ing two of its al­lo­gene­ic CAR-T ther­a­pies. O’Byrne had pre­vi­ous­ly been SVP of fi­nance at Au­dentes as an ex­o­dus of staffers con­tin­ues apace at the Astel­las sub­sidiary de­spite the FDA lift­ing its clin­i­cal hold. O’Byrne logged 13 years at Roche/Genen­tech, more re­cent­ly as the Asia Pa­cif­ic re­gion­al CFO op­er­at­ing out of Sin­ga­pore.

Andy Hur­ley has been giv­en the nod as chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer at im­muno-on­col­o­gy biotech Agenus. An ex-CCO at Oc­u­lar Ther­a­peu­tix and a for­mer ex­ec at Sunovion, Hur­ley heads over to Agenus af­ter a three-year stay as SVP, com­mer­cial at Sy­neos Health. Agenus be­gan part­ner­ing with Gilead in De­cem­ber 2018 to de­vel­op im­munother­a­pies af­ter its glioblas­toma vac­cine turned out to be a dud in Phase II.

Mark Mul­likin

→ Mi­cro­bio­me play­er Vedan­ta Bio­sciences, the ben­e­fi­cia­ry of a $25 mil­lion in­vest­ment by the Pfiz­er Break­through Growth Ini­tia­tive, has en­trust­ed Mark Mul­likin to the role of CFO. A No­var­tis vet in fi­nan­cial and strate­gic plan­ning, Mul­likin heads over to Vedan­ta af­ter more than four years at Ed­i­tas Med­i­cine, where he had been VP, fi­nance and in­vestor re­la­tions.

→ Us­ing AI to treat NASH and liv­er dis­ease, Edi­son, NJ-based He­p­i­on Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has in­stalled Todd Hobbs as its first CMO, ef­fec­tive Feb. 16. Hobbs just wrapped a 16-year tenure at No­vo Nordisk where he served in a num­ber of roles, cul­mi­nat­ing in his sev­en-year run as the Dan­ish multi­na­tion­al’s North Amer­i­can VP and CMO.

Patrick Mc­Call

In­cy­sus Ther­a­peu­tics changed its name to IN8bio last sum­mer and shelved their IPO in No­vem­ber. Now they have a new CFO to try and straight­en things out with Patrick Mc­Call at the fi­nan­cial con­trols. Mc­Call moves on from Turn­stone Bi­o­log­ics af­ter he had been their VP of fi­nance since late 2018. He al­so brings ex­pe­ri­ence from Cat­a­lyst Bio­sciences, fill­ing the po­si­tions of se­nior di­rec­tor of fi­nance and cor­po­rate con­troller.

Quan­ta Dial­y­sis Tech­nolo­gies has en­list­ed Sel­wayan Sai­ni as COO. Sai­ni hails from Ox­ford Nanopore Tech­nolo­gies, where he served as se­nior di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions. Pri­or to that, Sai­ni had stints at Medtech In­side Bio­met­rics and John­son & John­son Med­ical De­vices & Di­ag­nos­tics.

Dy­navax has fol­lowed up their Jan­u­ary ap­point­ment of CFO Kel­ly Mac­Don­ald by mak­ing Dong Yu SVP of vac­cine re­search. Yu moves on to Dy­navax af­ter sev­er­al posts at GSK Vac­cines, more re­cent­ly as their head of pre­clin­i­cal R&D in the US port­fo­lio. His ex­pe­ri­ence there pre­dates GSK’s 2015 deal with No­var­tis Vac­cines, where he was their di­rec­tor and func­tion head of mi­cro­bial mol­e­c­u­lar bi­ol­o­gy.

Kevin Franck

→ Af­ter choos­ing Quentin Mc­Cub­bin as chief man­u­fac­tur­ing of­fi­cer last month, hear­ing loss biotech Fre­quen­cy Ther­a­peu­tics has wel­comed Kevin Franck as SVP, strate­gic mar­ket­ing and new prod­uct plan­ning. Franck has been di­rec­tor of au­di­ol­o­gy at Mass­a­chu­setts Eye and Ear, and he was al­so on the Har­vard Med­ical School fac­ul­ty in the De­part­ment of Oto­laryn­gol­o­gy–Head and Neck Surgery. Pri­or to these du­ties, Franck led mar­ket­ing for the Bose di­vi­sion Bose Hear.

→ On the heels of Car­rie Ann Cook’s ap­point­ment as CBO, brain dis­ease drug de­vel­op­er Cere­vance has wel­comed Naidong Ye as VP and head of CMC. Ye is for­mer­ly the VP of CMC at Mil­len­do Ther­a­peu­tics, which is on life sup­port af­ter the biotech waved the white flag on its study of MLE-301 as the drug flopped in Phase I.

Su­san Mori­coni

Su­san Mori­coni has joined Bay Area genome se­quenc­ing out­fit Per­son­alis as VP of peo­ple and chief hu­man re­sources of­fi­cer. Mori­coni makes the tran­si­tion to Per­son­alis af­ter serv­ing in HR roles at Om­ni­Cell since 2012. From 1997-2008, she was al­so VP of hu­man re­sources at Boston Sci­en­tif­ic.

Tom Wig­gans

→ Ex-Der­mi­ra chair­man and CEO Tom Wig­gans has been named chair­man of Dou­glas Love’s neu­rode­gen­er­a­tion phar­ma An­nex­on, an­oth­er rail­car that at­tached it­self to 2020’s long IPO train. For­mer Ot­su­ka pres­i­dent and CEO William Car­son has found his way to An­nex­on’s board of di­rec­tors af­ter the re­tire­ments of William Young and Car­ol Gal­lagher ef­fec­tive this week.

Patrick Hig­gins

→ At­lanta hep B play­er An­tios Ther­a­peu­tics has wel­comed Patrick Hig­gins to the board of di­rec­tors. It’s a re­union of sorts with An­tios co-founder and chair­man Abel De La Rosa af­ter work­ing to­geth­er at Phar­mas­set — Hig­gins as EVP, com­mer­cial, and De La Rosa as SVP of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and sci­en­tif­ic af­fairs.

Julie Krop

→ De­ter­mined to re­file an NDA af­ter the sting of an FDA re­jec­tion for Liber­vant — an oral film to con­trol seizures — Aque­s­tive has elect­ed a pair of new board mem­bers while Dou­glas Brat­ton has re­signed from the board. By wel­com­ing Free­line CMO Julie Krop and Scynex­is CEO Mar­co Tagli­et­ti, Aque­s­tive’s board of di­rec­tors now has eight mem­bers.

→ With ex-In­ter­cept CFO Bar­bara Dun­can now chair­ing the board of di­rec­tors, Hamil­ton, On­tario-based Fu­sion Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has ex­pand­ed the board by in­clud­ing Phili­na Lee. A Sanofi alum, Lee is SVP, head of port­fo­lio strat­e­gy at Blue­print Med­i­cines and has been with the com­pa­ny since 2014.

Niko­la Tr­bovic

Pfiz­er Ven­tures ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor and part­ner Niko­la Tr­bovic is the lat­est mem­ber of Palleon’s board of di­rec­tors af­ter Del­phi Ven­tures Deepa Pakianathan joined in De­cem­ber. Tr­bovic is on the boards of Ar­rakis, Nim­bus and Jnana Ther­a­peu­tics.

Dale Chap­pell has been added to the board of di­rec­tors at Cameron Dur­rant-led lenzilum­ab mak­er Hu­mani­gen. Chap­pell took the CSO job in Ju­ly as part of a sum­mer hir­ing bo­nan­za that took place at Hu­mani­gen last year which in­clud­ed COO/CFO Tim­o­thy Mor­ris, CCO Ed­ward Jor­dan and chief ac­count­ing of­fi­cer David Tou­s­ley.

Enoch Kar­iu­ki

Enoch Kar­iu­ki has joined the board of di­rec­tors at Zen­tal­is Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, which raised eye­brows with its up­sized IPO last April. This is the sec­ond board ap­point­ment in as many weeks for the ex-Velos­Bio CFO af­ter jump­ing on the board at Ima­go Bio­Sciences.

Metri­on Bio­sciences has brought on John Mon­tana as non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. Cur­rent­ly, Mon­tana is op­er­at­ing part­ner at For­bion. Mon­tana brings to the ta­ble ex­pe­ri­ence from his time at Charles Riv­er Labs, Ar­gen­ta, Amedis and GSK.

→ At the same time as clos­ing a $103 mil­lion Se­ries C fi­nanc­ing, Per­son­al Genome Di­ag­nos­tics (PGDx) has made the ad­di­tions of Kevin Raidy and Lily Li to its board of di­rec­tors. Raidy is a man­ag­ing part­ner at Cowen Health­care In­vest­ments and al­so sits on the boards of Aro Bio­ther­a­peu­tics, Neu­ron23, and NodThera among oth­ers. Mean­while, Li is prin­ci­pal with North­pond Ven­tures and pre­vi­ous­ly served as as­so­ciate di­rec­tor of cor­po­rate busi­ness de­vel­op­ment at Il­lu­mi­na.

How Pa­tients with Epilep­sy Ben­e­fit from Re­al-World Da­ta

Amanda Shields, Principal Data Scientist, Scientific Data Steward

Keith Wenzel, Senior Business Operations Director

Andy Wilson, Scientific Lead

Real-world data (RWD) has the potential to transform the drug development industry’s efforts to predict and treat seizures for patients with epilepsy. Anticipating or controlling an impending seizure can significantly increase quality of life for patients with epilepsy. However, because RWD is secondary data originally collected for other purposes, the challenge is selecting, harmonizing, and analyzing the data from multiple sources in a way that helps support patients.

$DNA is once again on NYSE; FDA clears Soliris chal­lenger for the mar­ket; Flag­ship’s think­ing big again with eR­NA; and more

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Gene ther­a­py from Bio­gen's $800M buy­out flops in mid-stage study, deal­ing blow to new am­bi­tions

The #2 candidate from Biogen’s $800 million ocular gene therapy buyout has failed in a mid-stage trial, dealing an early blow to the big biotech’s plans to revitalize its pipeline with new technologies.

Biogen announced that the candidate, an experimental treatment for a rare and progressive form of blindness called X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP), failed to sufficiently improve vision in patients’ treated eye — patients only received an injection in one eye — after a year, on a standard scale, compared to their untreated eye. The company said they saw “positive trends” on several secondary endpoints, including visual acuity, but declined to say whether the trial actually hit any of those endpoints.

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Vas Narasimhan (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

No­var­tis whiffs on En­tresto study af­ter heart at­tacks — but that does­n't mean it's go­ing down qui­et­ly

If Novartis learned one thing from its interaction with the FDA over its latest heart failure approval for Entresto, it was that missing a primary endpoint may not be the nail in the coffin. Now, Entresto has missed again on a late-stage study in high-risk heart patients, and it’s already sowing the seeds for a path forward regardless.

Novartis’ Entresto couldn’t best standard-of-care ramipril in staving off a composite of deaths and heart failure events in patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction and/or pulmonary congestion who have had a prior heart attack, according to topline data from the Phase III PARADISE-MI study revealed Saturday at the virtual American College of Cardiology meeting.

Michael Dell (Richard Drew, AP Images)

'Dude, you're get­ting a Del­l' — as a new deep-pock­et biotech in­vestor

What happens when you marry longtime insiders in the global biotech VC game with the family fund of tech billionaire Michael Dell, a synthetic biology legend out of MIT and Harvard and the former director of the NCI?

Today, the answer is a newly financed, $200 million biotech SPAC now cruising the industry for a top player interested in finding a short cut to Nasdaq.

Orion Biotech Opportunities priced their blank check company today, raising $200 million with Dell’s multibillion-dollar MSD group’s commitment on investing another $20 million in a forward-purchase agreement.

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BAR­DA slows its $9B en­gine for new Covid-19 ther­a­peu­tics

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority is cooling its jets in looking for new, potential Covid-19 treatments, at least in the near term.

An HHS spokesperson told Endpoints News via email, “to date, BARDA has obligated more than $9 billion for the development and/or purchase of 13 therapeutics, beginning in February 2020 with support to develop Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody therapeutic. Therapeutics are an important element of the COVID-19 response, and we are focused on the programs currently underway and/or in negotiation using the funds available to us.”

As Co­di­ak en­ters 'next phase of growth,' Jen­nifer Whel­er steps in­to CMO role; Mark Tim­ney lines up his sec­ond CEO op­por­tu­ni­ty af­ter Pur­due Phar­ma reign

Most CMOs don’t start out as art students. But after getting her bachelor’s in art history from Princeton University, Jennifer Wheler decided to go after an MD from Cornell, kicking off a decades-long career in biopharma. Her next move? Leading the team at Codiak BioSciences to deliver therapeutics using a form of cellular postal service called exosomes.

“I was captivated by the science and the potential for exosomes to have transformational impact in cancer and other disease areas,” the incoming CMO told Endpoints News via email. “Codiak has a potent combination of great science and wonderfully experienced and kind people — it doesn’t get much better.”

Bris­tol My­ers backs up its case for heart drug mava­camten as FDA weighs app in car­diomy­opa­thy

When Bristol Myers Squibb signed off on its $13 billion acquisition of MyoKardia back in October, it was making a big bet that lead drug mavacamten could prove a game changer in cardiac myopathy. Now, with the drug up for FDA review, Bristol Myers is backing up its case with new quality of life data.

Patients dosed with myosin inhibitor mavacamten posted a clinically significant increase in scores on the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire, a catch-all summary of symptoms and quality of life markers, over placebo at 30 weeks, according to data from the Phase III EXPLORER-HCM study presented Saturday at the virtual American College of Cardiology meeting.

UP­DAT­ED: Apel­lis bags FDA nod for Soliris chal­lenger with a dif­fer­ent path­way to PNH — but can it slay the gi­ant?

With a blockbuster rare disease giant in its sights in Alexion’s Soliris, small biotech Apellis has reason to think its competitor is worthy of the spotlight. Now, with the FDA on its side, Apellis will get its chance to be the David to Alexion’s Goliath.

The FDA on Friday approved Empaveli (pegcetacoplan), a C3 complement inhibitor the biotech thinks can prove a worthy challenger to Alexion’s C5 inhibitors Soliris and follow-up drug Ultomiris in rare disease paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH).