Gilead's ex-investor relations chief takes CFO job at Sangamo; Former GE Healthcare exec takes the helm at Vectura Group
→ And so the exodus continues. Sung Lee, who had been Gilead‘s head of investor relations, was named CFO of Sangamo Therapeutics, a cell and gene therapy company. Lee had also helmed Gilead’s financial planning and analysis division. Lee is just the latest in a slew of exits that have followed John Milligan‘s sudden resignation from the CEO role in July 2018. He had worked there for 14 years.
→ UK-based respiratory drug developer Vectura Group has tapped former GE Healthcare exec Will Downie as CEO. Downie will take over the reins from interim CEO Paul Fry — who took over the role in June at the departure of James Ward-Lilley. Fry will resume his duties as CFO. Prior to joining the company, Downie spent a decade as SVP at Catalent leading the commercial effort for global sales and marketing activities. Before that, he served as vice president and general manager at GE Healthcare and vice president of sales at Amersham Health.
→ Robin Bhattacherjee has taken over the reins from retiring Glyn Parkin as CEO at Actimed Therapeutics — a company focused on the treatment of cachexia. Bhattacherjee joins the company after a stint as Actelion’s general manager for the UK and Ireland. Prior to that, he was the general manager of CV Therapeutics Europe — which he joined after serving as head of marketing at Sanofi-Synthélabo UK. Bhattacherjee began his career at Bayer, serving the company for 16 years in various roles, such as UK marketing manager and director in global strategic marketing.
→ After announcing plans for an $86 million IPO in June and pricing $75 million in July, liver disease-focused Mirum Pharmaceuticals has named Ed Tucker as the company’s CMO. Tucker comes from Acerta Pharma, where he served as chief operating officer — responsible for the business and operational activities within the company’s heme-oncology pipeline and helping with the US approval and launch of Calquence in 2017. Prior to that, Tucker held various stints at Bayer, Janssen Pharmaceutica and Genentech.
→ After bagging $46 million cash and leaping out of stealth mode in September, Arch-backed Boundless Bio is on the hunt to build out a pipeline of ecDNA-targeting therapeutics. The company has snagged Christian Hassig as CSO to help with that job. Hassig served in the same role at Sierra Oncology before joining Boundless. Hassig was the VP of drug discovery at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute and held a stint at Kalypsys. Hassig began his career at the Scripps Research Institute.
→ James Wilson’s gene therapy startup, Passage Bio — which recently brought in billionaire Len Blavatnik to help fund a $110 million Series B round — has appointed Richard Morris as CFO. Morris joins from Context Therapeutics where he served as EVP and CFO. Prior to that, Morris was CFO at Vitae Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Allergan in 2016). Before that, Morris was the VP, global financial planning and strategy at ViroPharma — helping lead to team to its acquisition by Shire.
→ Marinus Pharmaceuticals saw its shares eclipsed in July when it failed to compare on PPD in its Phase II trial for a rival IV formulation of Sage’s depression drug Zulresso. Now the company has wooed Joe Hulihan, the former global medical affairs leader of neuroscience of J&J, to the position of CMO. Hulihan will succeed Lorianne Masuoka, who is retiring from the position. Most recently, Hulihan was principal at Paradigm Neuroscience. Prior to that, he served in various neurology and psychiatry-focused roles at J&J, including VP, CNS medical affairs at Janssen. In addition, he served as director, CNS research, clinical affairs at Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical.
→ Antibiotics-focused Entasis Therapeutics — which is partnered with GSK for a Phase III trial on the antibiotic zoliflodacin to target Neisseria gonorrhoeae — has named Merck vet David Altarac as CMO, succeeding retiring CMO Robin Isaacs. In his new role, Altarac will be responsible for leading clinical development for the company’s lead programs, sulbactam-durlobactam and zoliflodacin — both in Phase III trials. Most recently, he served as SVP and head of global regulatory affairs, global drug safety and R&D quality and compliance at Shire. Prior to that, he served as VP, regulatory affairs at NeoStem.
→ Joanne Schindler is succeeding Gabriela Rosu as CMO at IMV. Schindler has served as VP, clinical development and executive medical director at H3 Biomedicine and as VP, clinical development at Constellation Pharmaceuticals. Her previous stints include roles at SynDevRx, ImmunoGen and Novartis.
→ Cambridge, UK-based Bicycle Therapeutics — which raised $61 million in a downsized IPO in May — has brought on Nigel Crockett as CBO. Most recently, Crockett served as a founding partner at Tukan Partners. He did a previous stint as VP, business development at Astex Therapeutics. In addition, the company has appointed former CEO and president of Medelle, Veronica Jordan, to its board of directors, where she will serve as chair of the compensation committee.
→After recently welcoming a new CMO and VP of regulatory affairs, Checkmate Pharmaceuticals has appointed Kleem Chaudhary as CBO. Chaudhary joins the company after serving as head of business development & licensing at Biogen and as a transaction leader in business development at Takeda. He has also held stints at Novartis and Gilead Sciences.
→ After bagging $20 million in a financing round in April, Penn-partnered and James Wilson co-founded Scout Bio — focused on developing gene therapies for pets — has brought on Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) vet Anne Traas as chief development officer. Most recently Traas served as head of Saint Joseph pharma clinical R&D — where she was responsible for target animal safety and efficacy studies — at BI subsidiary Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health. She has also served as associate director of US biological clinical development and associate director of pharmaceutical clinical development at BI. Earlier in her career, Traas was a resident in medical genetics and a clinical trials veterinarian at the University of Pennsylvania.
→ After recently unveiling 24-week data from their OPTIC trial of their experimental therapy, ADVM-022, Adverum Biotechnologies announced the appointment of Peter Soparkar as chief legal officer. Soparkar joins the company from Counsyl (acquired by Myriad Genetics), where he served in the same position. Soparkar served as the VP and associate general counsel at Jazz Pharmaceuticals — where he led the transactions of the tender-offer of Celator and the acquisitions of Gentium, EUSA Pharma and Azur Pharma. Earlier in his career, Soparkar worked at Latham & Watkins.
→ NGM Biopharmaceuticals — which recently touted positive Phase II NASH results — has hired Valerie Pierce as SVP, general counsel and chief compliance officer. Pierce joins the company from Jazz Pharmaceuticals, where she served as associate general counsel. Before Jazz, Pierce was the VP and senior transactional counsel at Amyris. Her previous stints include roles at Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, OneWorld Health, Tularik and ALZA.
→ Continuing to expand into the US viral vector market – recently inking a deal with Denali in January to develop AAV vectors for therapeutics in areas such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease – Sirion Biotech has announced that Sirion’s VP, US operations, Carl Christel, has relocated to the company’s Cambridge, MA office. In addition, the company has brought on virologist Rajesh Panigrahi and Boston Children’s Hospital hematology and oncology postdoc Roman Braun to further US operations. Both will serve as the company’s key account managers.
→ Camp4 Therapeutics — which inked a collaboration with RNAi trendsetter Alnylam in January — has named president and CEO of Decibel Therapeutics, Steven Holtzman, as the chair of their board of directors and Paula Ragan, founder, president and CEO of X4 Pharmaceuticals, as the director of its board. In addition University of British Columbia professor Michael Hayden has joined the company’s scientific advisory board.
→ Rockwell Medical — focused on improvements for patients with anemia, with an initial focus on end-stage renal disease — has welcomed John McLaughlin as chairman of its board of directors. McLaughlin is the former CEO of PDL BioPharma and will be succeeding Benjamin Wolin, who will remain on the board.
→ Neurodegenerative disease-focused Neuropore Therapies has appointed former Roche exec Joseph McCracken to its board of directors. McCracken currently serves as an advisor of corporate strategy and business development initiatives for several biopharmaceutical companies, including Modalis Therapeutics and Savara Pharmaceuticals.
→ Biotech Oxford BioDynamics — focused on the development of epigenetic biomarkers based on regulatory genome architecture — has appointed University of Glasgow rheumatology professor Iain McInnes to the company’s scientific advisory board.