GSK vets Wit­ty and Slaoui find new roles in biotech as the great mi­gra­tion con­tin­ues

An­drew Wit­ty has signed on as a part­ner at Durham, NC-based Hat­teras. “An­drew Wit­ty we be­lieve brings the high­est lev­el of un­der­stand­ing about the phar­ma in­dus­try as a whole,” Hat­teras gen­er­al part­ner Bob In­gram tells End­points News, count­ing off Wit­ty’s lead­ing roles in the glob­al com­mer­cial as well as R&D side of the busi­ness. In­gram says Wit­ty — like­ly the on­ly knight­ed mem­ber of the biotech ven­ture com­mu­ni­ty — is ex­pect­ed to help ad­vise the firm and its biotech com­pa­nies, lend­ing some of his ster­ling Big Phar­ma rep to the or­ga­ni­za­tion as it grows up new com­pa­nies. And, you can add one more new biotech role for ex-GSK CEO. The for­mer phar­ma chief has joined the ad­vi­so­ry board at Syn­thego, a genome en­gi­neer­ing out­fit based in Red­wood City, CA.

⇨ Mon­cef Slaoui has joined the Eu­ro­pean biotech ven­ture cap­i­tal team at Medicxi. Slaoui was the long­time R&D chief at GSK be­fore he moved to chair the big vac­cines side of the busi­ness ahead of his re­tire­ment last June. Not long af­ter leav­ing GSK, the en­thu­si­as­tic and out­go­ing Slaoui start­ed join­ing biotech boards, with wel­comes at SutroVax, mR­NA play­er Mod­er­na as well as the pub­lic out­fit In­tel­lia $NT­LA, one of a hand­ful of CRISPR/Ca9 gene edit­ing star­tups dom­i­nat­ing the field. Then, a lit­tle over a month ago, he dropped off the In­tel­lia crew, cit­ing a con­flict but not ex­plain­ing it. In a state­ment, Slaoui said he was look­ing for­ward to start­ing, “with funds avail­able to in­vest not on­ly in ear­ly stage as­sets but al­so to build­ing in­no­v­a­tive com­pa­nies through clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and mar­ket en­try. I am look­ing for­ward to mak­ing an ac­tive con­tri­bu­tion to se­lect­ing and lead­ing in­vest­ments, and to sup­port­ing am­bi­tious en­tre­pre­neurs to de­vel­op med­i­cines that ul­ti­mate­ly make a dif­fer­ence to pa­tients.”

Roivant Sci­ences has added an­oth­er sea­soned biotech ex­ec to its sta­ble of CEOs. The um­brel­la group an­nounced this morn­ing that Kei­th Katkin, the long­time CEO at Avanir up to its sale to Ot­su­ka, is tak­ing the CEO’s job at Urovant. The start­up vant is fo­cused on uro­log­i­cal con­di­tions.

⇨ An­oth­er se­nior As­traZeneca R&D ex­ec has jumped ship. San­jay Jari­wala is mov­ing on to Bio­gen, where he will be the new se­nior vice pres­i­dent, world­wide med­ical, re­port­ing to Al San­drock. “San­jay’s depth of ex­pe­ri­ence and track record of strate­gic in­te­gra­tion of glob­al ther­a­peu­tic op­er­a­tions, clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, com­mer­cial, and state of the art med­ical lead­er­ship across large or­ga­ni­za­tions is im­pres­sive,” said San­drock.

Paul Hast­ings

⇨ The long­time biotech ex­ec and On­coMed $OMED CEO Paul Hast­ings is go­ing on med­ical leave. There’s no im­me­di­ate word about what ails him, but the biotech says that Hast­ings will keep his ti­tles as he re­mains on med­ical leave at the biotech, which is fo­cused on new can­cer ther­a­pies. In the mean­time, the com­pa­ny will be led by a se­nior man­age­ment team with an “Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent” con­sist­ing of R&D chief John Lewic­ki and CFO Sunil Pa­tel.  In ad­di­tion, On­coMed’s board has ap­point­ed a spe­cial com­mit­tee con­sist­ing of Jack Laser­sohn, the lead di­rec­tor, with Per­ry Karsen, Deepa Pakianathan and Rick Win­ning­ham to work close­ly with Lewic­ki and Pa­tel dur­ing Hast­ings’ leave.

⇨ Bob Goeltz is join­ing San Fran­cis­co-based UNI­TY Biotech­nol­o­gy as the new CFO. Join­ing as gen­er­al coun­sel is Tam­my Tomp­kins. Join­ing as se­nior vice pres­i­dent of op­er­a­tions is Doug Rich.

⇨ So­raya Bekkali is the new CEO at Gy­ro­scope Ther­a­peu­tics. Bekkali had a stint at Lyso­gene and served as glob­al head of the oph­thal­mol­o­gy busi­ness unit at Sanofi be­fore join­ing the reti­nal dis­ease com­pa­ny.

⇨ Matthew Ottmer has joined Voy­ager Ther­a­peu­tics as their CFO.  Voy­ager’s CEO Steven Paul not­ed that “in ad­di­tion to lead­ing strat­e­gy, pro­gram and al­liance man­age­ment, Matt will over­see the com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment plans of our lead and pipeline pro­grams, in­clud­ing new prod­uct plan­ning for our Parkin­son’s dis­ease pro­gram, which are crit­i­cal, val­ue-dri­ving ar­eas for the com­pa­ny.”

⇨ Achao­gen’s got a new chief busi­ness of­fi­cer. Liz Bhatt’s pri­or gigs in­clude VP of cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment at Gilead and cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment and strat­e­gy roles at Eli Lil­ly and Maxy­gen.

⇨ Ka­ma­da Deputy CEO and CFO Gil Efron plans to leave the com­pa­ny at the end of the year.

⇨ Aerie Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals named Tori Arens as VP of drug prod­uct man­u­fac­tur­ing and Er­ic Carl­son as vice pres­i­dent of re­search and de­vel­op­ment.


Af­ter 13 years, Ramy Mah­moud steps in­to CEO seat at Opti­nose; Ru­pert Vessey set to ex­it Bris­tol My­ers in Ju­ly

After 13 years as president and COO at Optinose, Ramy Mahmoud has stepped into a new role as its CEO. He is taking the place of Peter Miller, who stepped down earlier this week, though Miller is still staying with the company as a consultant.

In 2010, the two business partners joined Optinose to take it in a new direction, transforming it from a delivery platform to product company. They previously worked together at Johnson & Johnson, when Miller was president at Janssen and Mahmoud headed medical affairs. Miller said after he learned about Optinose, “I did what I always do, which is find people smarter than me to talk with about the idea. And the first person I called was Ramy … and I said, ‘Hey, Ramy, what do you think of this technology?’”

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Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Francis Chung/E&E News/Politico via AP Images)

In­fla­tion re­bates in­com­ing: Wyden calls on CMS to move quick­ly as No­var­tis CEO pledges re­ver­sal

Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) this week sent a letter to the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seeking an update on how and when new inflation-linked rebates will take effect for drugs that see major price spikes.

The newly signed Inflation Reduction Act requires manufacturers to pay a rebate to Medicare when they increase drug prices faster than the rate of inflation.

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Teresa Graham, incoming Roche Pharmaceuticals CEO

In­com­ing Roche CEO builds out his top team, tap­ping Genen­tech vet to lead phar­ma di­vi­sion

Roche announced another leadership shuffle Thursday morning – the head of global product strategy, Teresa Graham, will take over as CEO of Roche Pharmaceuticals in March while the company’s corporate executive committee will make a spot for Levi Garraway, CMO and executive VP of global product development.

Thomas Schinecker will take over the top spot as Roche group CEO in March, leaving his spot as head of diagnostics.

Trodelvy notch­es a win in most com­mon form of breast can­cer

Following a promise last year to go “big and fast in breast cancer,” Gilead has secured a win for Trodelvy in the most common form.

The drug was approved to treat HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer patients who’ve already received endocrine-based therapy and at least two other systemic therapies for metastatic cancer, Gilead announced on Friday.

Trodelvy won its first indication in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer back in 2020, and has since added urothelial cancer to the list. HR-positive HER2-negative breast cancer accounts for roughly 70% of new breast cancer cases worldwide per year, according to senior VP of oncology clinical development Bill Grossman, and many patients develop resistance to endocrine-based therapies or worsen on chemotherapy.

Raymond Stevens, Structure Therapeutics CEO

Be­hind Fri­day's $161M IPO: A star sci­en­tist, GPCR drug dis­cov­ery and a plan to chal­lenge phar­ma in di­a­betes

What does it take to pull off a $161 million biotech IPO these days?

In Structure Therapeutics’ case, it means having a star scientist co-founder paired with the computational drug discovery company Schrödinger, $198 million in private funding from blue-chip investors, almost six years of research work on G protein-coupled receptors and a slate of oral, small-molecule drugs, with an eye on the huge and growing diabetes and weight-loss market.

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Te­va drops out of in­dus­try trade group PhRMA

Following in AbbVie’s footsteps, Teva confirmed on Friday that it’s dropping out of the industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Teva didn’t give a reason for its decision to leave, saying only in a statement to Endpoints News that it annually reviews “effectiveness and value of engagements, consultants and memberships to ensure our investments are properly seated.”

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Sanofi CFO Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon (L) and CEO Paul Hudson (Romuald Meigneux/Sipa via AP Images)

Sanofi sees downtick in flu sales as it preps for launch of RSV an­ti­body

Sanofi expects its RSV antibody jointly developed with AstraZeneca will be available next season, executive VP of vaccines Thomas Triomphe announced on the company’s quarterly call.

Beyfortus, also known as nirsevimab, was approved in the EU back in November and is currently under FDA review with an expected decision coming in the third quarter of this year. The news comes as the FDA plans to hold advisory committee meetings over the next couple months to review RSV vaccines from Pfizer and GSK.

Christophe Weber, Takeda CEO (Photographer: Shoko Takayasu/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Take­da fo­cus­es on ‘di­verse’ pipeline prospects on heels of two ac­qui­si­tions

After a whopping $4 billion asset buy from Nimbus Therapeutics, along with a $400 million deal with Hutchmed for a colorectal cancer drug, Takeda executives touted pipeline optimism on its latest earnings call this week.

That’s because the TYK2 inhibitor for psoriasis Takeda is getting from Nimbus, along with the Hutchmed fruquintinib commercialization outside of China, are just two of what it reports are 10 late-stage development programs of promising candidates.

Regeneron CSO George Yancopoulos (L) and CEO Len Schleifer at a groundbreaking for its new Tarrytown, NY facility, June 2022 (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In show­down with Roche, Re­gen­eron gears up for po­ten­tial Eylea ex­pan­sion amid Covid de­cline

Regeneron faced a substantial slump in overall revenue last year, but the focus still remains on some of its biggest blockbusters.

The pharma with several high-profile partnerships — Sanofi and Bayer among them — said Friday that Q4 revenue was down 31% for the quarter, and down 24% for the entire year. However, that won’t stop blockbuster expansion plans.

One of those is Eylea, the Bayer-partnered eye disease drug that has been in major competition with Roche’s Vabysmo. While Eylea is currently only approved in a 2 mg dose, the company recently filed for approval to give a 8 mg dose, in hopes of making a longer-lasting treatment.