Peer Review

From Agios to Deciphera, Steve Hoerter plots another oncology launch; Roche exec Christiane Hamachar moves to India as CEO of Biocon Biologics

Deciphera $DCPH has scooped Agios’ chief commercial officer Steve Hoerter to fill retiring CEO Michael Taylor’s shoes. The Waltham, MA-based biotech is placing its trust in Hoerter’s sales acumen, especially for cancer drugs, acquired throughout his career at companies like Clovis, Roche, Genentech, Chiron, and Eli Lilly. The first Phase III trial of ripretinib, in gastrointestinal tumors, is due to read out soon.

→ Japan’s Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma has tapped clinical development chief Antony Loebel to helm its Marlborough, MA-based subsidiary Sunovion. Loebel takes over the CEO job from Nobuhiko Tamura, who presided over the company for five years, with the last two marked by a couple of FDA rejections. Following a stint at Pfizer, Loebel joined the company in 2007 and has played a central role in its R&D work on psychiatry, neurology and respiratory conditions.

→ As Anthony Zook retires from Innocoll Holdings, the specialty pharma has promoted its chief commercial officer and BD head to the CEO post. AstraZeneca vet Richard Fante assumes the top role amid the company’s ongoing effort to make a comeback on its pain therapies after getting acquired by Gurnet Point Capital.

→ Having managed pharma operations around the world first for Schering and then Roche, Christiane Hamachar is making India her next stop. As CEO of Biocon Biologics, Hamachar will oversee the company’s growing business in biosimilars, with eyes to grooming a major global player, said Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.

→ Prepping for a Phase IIb study set to begin later this year, Novaremed has appointed Nicholas Draeger as CEO. After founding and leading the company for more than 10 years — through a move from Israel to SwitzerlandEli Kaplan is transitioning to a supportive role regarding the development of its lead drug for diabetic neuropathic pain. The appointment marks a return to biotech for Draeger, who spent the early days of his career at Roche and later got into healthcare investing but has been running a processed food company.

Alessandro Riva, who joined Gilead just a little more than 2 years ago, left his post as executive vice president of oncology “to pursue another opportunity.” Minutes after that news hit, it was revealed that Riva is shifting over to lead the new biotech spinoff from India’s Glenmark, which will be based in the US. Riva will be CEO of the subsidiary company, which will have its own board and be heavily focused on oncology and T cells, with “five clinical and three preclinical assets in development, three clinical assets currently in Phase 2b, and one asset likely to enter Phase 2b in FY20.”

→ South San Francisco-based Amphivena Therapeutics has wooed Armo founder Peter Van Vlasselaer to be its executive chairman while tapping Victoria Smith to lead its T cell engager research as CSO. Jumping from a senior role in Gilead’s biologics and target biology group, Smith brings a translational background in targeted cancer therapeutics that fits Amphivena’s bill of immuno-oncology drugs treating myeloid malignancies and solid tumors.

→ A year after raising a modest Series A to develop its predictive analytics tech for drug discovery, Owkin has brought in more high profile investors and a new chief business officer. Most recently, Parker Moss was entrepreneur-in-residence at F-Prime Capital and Eight Roads, the two leaders in the unspecified venture round. Moss’ main responsibility is to “strengthen Owkin’s partnerships with hospitals, academic centers, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies” by channeling his experience as a senior exec at the NHS, according to Owkin. Bruno Strigini, Novartis’ former head of oncology, has joined as chairman of the board.

→ Radiotherapeutics developer Fusion Pharmaceuticals has named John J. Crowley (not to be confused with Amicus’ John F. Crowley) its CFO, tasked with supporting “aggressive growth” as the biotech marches into the clinic. Engineered to deliver alpha particles to cancer cells, its lead drug, FPI-1434, consists of an antibody directed toward the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor 1 (IGF-1R) and an actinium-225.

Troy Ignelzi is the new CFO at Karuna, working with Steve Paul to manage the startup biotech’s big bet on central nervous system disorders with KarXT. The seasoned exec is joined by Jason Parker Brown, previously of PureTech Health, who’s been hired as VP of finance.

Abzena has recruited contract manufacturing expert Elaine Sapinoso as SVP of global quality to support an expansion of its sites in San Diego and Bristol, PA, as well as the partnerships with its biopharma clients.

→ After spending 12 years in strategy consulting and investment banking, Anne Moore is making the leap to industry with the CAR-T engineers at Celyad. Officially the VP of corporate strategy, Moore will be based in the biotech’s $CYAD headquarters in Belgium.

→ Denmark’s LEO Pharma is beefing up its innovation unit in Boston by hiring Vladimir Morozov, Shire’s bioinformatics solution architect, as senior director of bioinformatics. At LEO Science & Tech Hub, he will identify and run collaborators while driving biomarker development for LEO’s dermatological meds.

Kiadis Pharma is gearing up to launch its blood cancer drug, and it’s getting its exec team ready for it. Current head of supply chain Dirk de Naeyer, who jumped to the Amsterdam biotech from Janssen late last year, is getting a swift promotion to COO. He succeeds Jan Feijen. Martine Nolan has also joined as head of quality assurance.

Verana Health has enlisted several biopharma execs for its quest to accelerate medical research by assembling “the largest clinical databases in medicine.” Hylton Kalvaria, Flatiron’s West Coast chief, comes on as VP of strategic partnerships; Ron Cantrell is principal data scientist, the same role he held in Genentech; head of product Karim Damji joins from clinical data analytics company Saama. Marie-Eve Piche, a veteran of General Electrics, is the new CFO.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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