Hen­ry Skin­ner buys time in the fight against an­timi­cro­bial re­sis­tance; Ver­tex's Michael Pari­ni be­comes pres­i­dent and COO at Free­line while CFO Bri­an Sil­ver plans his ex­it

When Hen­ry Skin­ner was in charge of an­tibi­otics-fo­cused Se­lec­tX Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals about 15 years ago, the com­pa­ny had “very good sci­ence,” but couldn’t keep it cap­i­tal­ized. So when the Big Phar­ma-backed AMR Ac­tion Fund was launched in Ju­ly to spur the de­vel­op­ment of new an­tibi­otics, he said it was a “clar­i­on call.”

Hen­ry Skin­ner

The lack of progress across an­ti-in­fec­tives isn’t due to a short­age of in­no­va­tion, Skin­ner said, “but be­cause of the dif­fi­cul­ty in cap­i­tal­iz­ing those in­no­va­tions due to mar­ket con­straints.” The fund is meant to “bridge that gap, and give our pol­i­cy­mak­ers and gov­ern­ments time to make ad­just­ments on a macro sense to reestab­lish the mar­ket.”

Skin­ner threw his hat in the ring and land­ed the top spot at the fund. Now, as em­ploy­ee num­ber 1, he’s lead­ing the charge to pump over a bil­lion dol­lars in­to an­ti-in­fec­tive R&D and bring two to four new an­tibi­otics to pa­tients by 2030. On Thurs­day, he closed a $140 mil­lion round from the Boehringer In­gel­heim Foun­da­tion, the Eu­ro­pean In­vest­ment Bank and the Well­come Trust.

“I can’t imag­ine some­thing more rel­e­vant for me to do,” Skin­ner said of the job.

Re­sis­tance has been form­ing against an­tibi­otics since Day 1, he ex­plained. But de­spite the ris­ing threat, Big Phar­ma has re­treat­ed from the risky field, where cheap gener­ics and poor fi­nan­cial re­turns loom large. In­vestors aren’t in­vest­ing, and a slew of bank­rupt­cies have been heed­ed as a warn­ing.

“We need to stay a step ahead,” Skin­ner said, re­fer­ring to an­timi­cro­bial re­sis­tance. “I think we haven’t been in the last cou­ple of decades. The sci­ence is tough but we can ad­dress that. But the cap­i­tal to do that just hasn’t been there based on mar­ket lim­i­ta­tions.”

Funds like CARB-X and No­vo Hold­ings’ RE­PAIR Im­pact Fund have been cre­at­ed to sup­port re­search and ear­ly de­vel­op­ment, and Skin­ner sees the AMR Ac­tion Fund as a com­ple­ment to that. He ex­pects to fo­cus on mid-to-late-stage de­vel­op­ment.

“Hope­ful­ly with these ear­li­er en­deav­ors such as CARB-X and the Im­pact Fund ma­tur­ing some of the ear­ly stuff, we will have a good pipeline” in the com­ing years, he said.

While the $140 mil­lion raise pales in com­par­i­son to the amount of VC dol­lars raised in oth­er ar­eas, like on­col­o­gy, over the last sev­er­al years, Skin­ner says it buys time.

“We need some changes at the gov­ern­ment lev­el with pol­i­cy to make this a sus­tain­able mar­ket dri­ven ap­proach to in­no­va­tion,” he said. — Nicole De­Feud­is


Michael Pari­ni

→ While Free­line Ther­a­peu­tics re­assess­es their sit­u­a­tion af­ter CMC is­sues halt­ed their he­mo­phil­ia B gene ther­a­py tri­al on Feb. 8, they’ve been busy bol­ster­ing their lead­er­ship struc­ture, with Michael Pari­ni kick­ing things off as pres­i­dent and COO. Free­line al­so an­nounced that CFO and head of cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment Bri­an Sil­ver will step aside at the end of April. No specifics were giv­en about next steps for Sil­ver, who’s been Free­line’s fi­nance chief since No­vem­ber 2018.

Ef­fec­tive March 15, Pari­ni slides in­to the dual role af­ter five years at Ver­tex, leav­ing Resh­ma Ke­wal­ra­mani’s team as EVP and chief ad­min­is­tra­tive, le­gal and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer. Pari­ni al­so held a se­ries of le­gal po­si­tions at Pfiz­er from 2004-15.

Else­where at Free­line, Stephen Di­a­mond has been se­lect­ed as SVP and gen­er­al coun­sel, while David Ar­ring­ton has joined the Lon­don biotech as VP of in­vestor re­la­tions and cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Di­a­mond has more than a decade of le­gal ex­pe­ri­ence at Pfiz­er, where he was as­sis­tant gen­er­al coun­sel, busi­ness trans­ac­tions be­fore his ar­rival at Free­line. Ar­ring­ton hails from Co­herus Bio­Sciences, where he was VP of in­vestor re­la­tions and cor­po­rate af­fairs.

Na­tal­ie Holles

→ A week af­ter rais­ing $130 mil­lion in Se­ries B fund­ing with the aim of treat­ing pe­di­atric brain can­cers, San Fran­cis­co-based Day One Bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has wel­comed Au­dentes CEO Na­tal­ie Holles to the board of di­rec­tors. While Holles joins the board of a com­pa­ny tack­ling a dif­fi­cult field, these are al­so try­ing times for Au­dentes as three deaths were re­port­ed last sum­mer on the high dosage of the gene ther­a­py AT132, but the biotech looks to re­group as the FDA lift­ed its hold on the pro­gram at the end of 2020.

In ad­di­tion to Holles’ ap­point­ment, Day One has al­so cor­ralled Charles York as chief op­er­at­ing and fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer. Since 2014, York had been CFO and head of cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment at Ae­glea Bio­Ther­a­peu­tics.

Charles Al­bright

→ Just as the Jim Mullen era be­gins at Ed­i­tas Med­i­cine, Charles Al­bright’s post-Ed­i­tas land­ing spot is at Affinia Ther­a­peu­tics. Affinia’s new chief sci­en­tist, who had been CSO at Ed­i­tas since the sum­mer of 2016, al­so de­vot­ed a dozen years as an ex­ec at Bris­tol My­ers Squibb. “I came to Affinia be­cause I thought we had the po­ten­tial to ad­dress some of the fun­da­men­tal is­sues in AAV gene ther­a­py,” Al­bright told End­points News. “And af­ter my first 4 weeks here I be­lieve that even more than when I took the job.”

Pe­tra Kauf­mann

CEO Rick Mo­di wasn’t through with big ap­point­ments this week. NIH alum Pe­tra Kauf­mann al­so joins Affinia as CMO af­ter a short run as SVP and head of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, an­a­lyt­ics and trans­la­tion­al med­i­cine at No­var­tis Gene Ther­a­pies (the crew for­mer­ly known as AveX­is, where Affinia chair­man Sean Nolan was CEO). From 2015-18, Kauf­mann was di­rec­tor of the Of­fice of Rare Dis­eases Re­search at the NIH.

→ Belfast-based CRO Fu­sion An­ti­bod­ies has reeled in Richard Jones as its next CEO — suc­ceed­ing Paul Kerr who is leav­ing to pur­sue oth­er op­por­tu­ni­ties. Jones takes on the reins with a pletho­ra of ex­pe­ri­ence, most re­cent­ly serv­ing as CEO of BrYET. That’s not the on­ly CEO post that Jones has held. Jones al­so pre­vi­ous­ly helmed the com­pa­nies of Holostem Ad­vanced Ther­a­pies and Akin­ion Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. In ad­di­tion, Jones has had stints at Akcea Ther­a­peu­tics, No­var­tis and GSK.

Kevin Guo

→ Shang­hai-based Ever­est Med­i­cines  — which nabbed $310 mil­lion in Se­ries C fi­nanc­ing back in June be­fore go­ing on for a Hong Kong IPO — has tapped Kevin Guo as CCO. Guo hops aboard af­ter a stint at Ei­sai, where he most re­cent­ly served as VP and deputy glob­al brand lead for Lenvi­ma. Be­fore his var­i­ous roles in Ei­sai, Guo was VP of the on­col­o­gy busi­ness unit 1 at Shang­hai Roche Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal. In ad­di­tion, Guo has served in roles at GSK, Wyeth Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Shang­hai Squibb Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and Eli Lil­ly Asia.

Chris Lowe

→ Pri­or to the FDA’s an­nounce­ment of a clin­i­cal hold on their Alzheimer’s pro­gram be­cause of liv­er prob­lems as­so­ci­at­ed with tak­ing the drug, Cor­texyme nonethe­less is full steam ahead with two pro­mo­tions and one new mem­ber of the squad. Chris Lowe has been pro­mot­ed to COO and CFO, and Ted Mono­hon has been bumped up to chief ac­count­ing of­fi­cer. Lowe, the CFO at Cor­texyme the last two years, was CFO and CBO at An­thera Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and the in­ter­im CEO of Hansen Med­ical. Mono­hon orig­i­nal­ly came to Cor­texyme as VP, fi­nance.

Al­so, Cor­texyme has ap­point­ed Drew Sukovich VP, reg­u­la­to­ry and qual­i­ty. Sukovich, who most re­cent­ly had the same ti­tle at Trex­i­mo, has reg­u­la­to­ry ex­pe­ri­ence from Genen­tech, Zo­genix and Bio­Marin.

Richard Kol­len­der

→ Dublin-based Strong­bridge Bio­phar­ma, seek­ing ap­proval for its Cush­ing’s syn­drome treat­ment Recor­lev, has tapped Richard Kol­len­der as pres­i­dent and CFO ef­fec­tive March 3. Kol­len­der gets pro­mot­ed at Strong­bridge af­ter 17 months as COO, and he al­so served on the Strong­bridge board for four years be­fore tak­ing the COO post. Kol­len­der has Big Phar­ma ex­pe­ri­ence at GSK in sales, mar­ket­ing and world­wide busi­ness de­vel­op­ment, and while there, he was SR One’s in­vest­ment man­ag­er.

→ What about Kol­len­der’s pre­de­ces­sor at Strong­bridge? We’re glad you asked. Robert Lutz has moved on to iBio as the Bryan, TX con­tract man­u­fac­tur­er’s chief fi­nan­cial & busi­ness of­fi­cer. Lutz had been CFO at Strong­bridge since Au­gust 2019 and CBO since 2014, and his time at Shire spanned near­ly a decade in a mul­ti­tude of posts, in­clud­ing VP, strat­e­gy and new prod­ucts with­in the neu­ro­science busi­ness unit. Lutz’s ap­point­ment fur­ther shores up the team as iBio wel­comed COO Randy Mad­dux and CSO Mar­tin Bren­ner at the tail end of 2020.

Lin­da Richard­son

→ As the tem­pest tries to push out to sea from the FDA’s re­jec­tion of obeti­cholic acid, CEO Mark Pruzan­s­ki’s fiery re­sponse to it and his sub­se­quent de­par­ture, In­ter­cept is mov­ing for­ward and pro­mot­ing Lin­da Richard­son to chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer. Since 2018, Richard­son had been In­ter­cept’s head of the glob­al cholesta­sis pro­gram. The Sanofi and GSK alum al­so spent some time as the chief strat­e­gy and com­mer­cial of­fi­cer for Chimerix.

Al­so at In­ter­cept, VP of in­vestor re­la­tions Lisa De­Francesco now owns the ti­tle of SVP, cor­po­rate af­fairs & in­vestor re­la­tions. De­Francesco, an Al­ler­gan vet, has been with In­ter­cept since Sep­tem­ber 2019.

→ The door opens for Richard­son while Richard Kim clos­es his at In­ter­cept, mak­ing the tran­si­tion to sleep dis­or­der-fo­cused Avadel Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals as their chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer. Kim got bumped up to In­ter­cept’s pres­i­dent of US com­mer­cial & strate­gic mar­ket­ing three years ago af­ter his ar­rival in 2015. Be­fore that, the Scher­ing-Plough alum han­dled var­i­ous re­spon­si­bil­i­ties over a pe­ri­od of near­ly 11 years at Bris­tol My­ers Squibb, cul­mi­nat­ing in his work as gen­er­al man­ag­er, he­pati­tis C world­wide com­mer­cial­iza­tion.

Samir Mody

→ Just a week re­moved from Shan­non Blalock grab­bing the CEO reins, eye dis­ease biotech jCyte has made three oth­er changes as chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer Samir Mody leads off. A J&J and As­traZeneca vet, Mody comes from a sev­en-year run at Medtron­ic, the last two of those years as VP, CRHF strat­e­gy, health eco­nom­ics and re­im­burse­ment.

Al­so on board at jCyte are Friedrich As­mus (SVP, clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment & med­ical af­fairs) and Joel Cen­teno (SVP, man­u­fac­tur­ing, qual­i­ty & sup­ply chain). As­mus, an ex-glob­al clin­i­cal leader in oph­thal­mol­o­gy at Bay­er, is for­mer­ly the VP, clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Pro­QR Ther­a­peu­tics. Cen­teno has had re­cent reg­u­la­to­ry gigs at Epige­nomics and Alt­heaDx.

Mc­David Stil­well

Jean-Frédéric Viret has re­signed as CFO of Sil­i­con Val­ley’s Co­herus Bio­Sciences, which plunked down $150 mil­lion for the rights to tori­pal­imab in a part­ner­ship with Jun­shi Bio­sciences ear­ly this month. Viret will ex­it on March 7 and pave the way for suc­ces­sor Mc­David Stil­well, the cur­rent EVP, cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment, in­vestor re­la­tions, and fi­nan­cial strat­e­gy. Stil­well piv­ot­ed to Co­herus back in Oc­to­ber af­ter four years at Sang­amo, where he was SVP, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and in­vestor re­la­tions.

→ Co-found­ed by Bob Langer, ENT biotech Lyra Ther­a­peu­tics out of Wa­ter­town, MA has reached in­to acad­e­mia to choose Robert Kern as CMO. Kern has chaired the oto­laryn­gol­o­gy de­part­ment at North­west­ern’s Fein­berg School of Med­i­cine since 2006 and will re­main so in ad­di­tion to his Lyra du­ties. Lyra’s IPO last May grossed around $64 mil­lion as their chron­ic rhi­nos­i­nusi­tis drug LY-210 is be­ing test­ed in a Phase II tri­al.

→ An­tivi­ral drug de­vel­op­er Maxwell Bio­sciences has made two new ap­point­ments to its lead­er­ship team: Kent Kir­shen­baum as CSO and Shee­tal Vali as di­rec­tor of drug de­vel­op­ment. Kir­shen­baum is NYU’s pro­fes­sor of chem­istry and is the co-founder of New York Uni­ver­si­ty’s Bio­med­ical Chem­istry In­sti­tute. Mean­while, Vali hops aboard from AROG Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, where she served as head of drug de­vel­op­ment.

Vafa Ja­mali

→ The new spin­out from med­ical de­vice mak­er Zim­mer Bio­met — with the place­hold­er name “New­Co”has re­cruit­ed Vafa Ja­mali as CEO. Ja­mali joins the spine and den­tal com­pa­ny from Rock­ley Pho­ton­ics, where he most re­cent­ly served as CCO. Pri­or to that, he was SVP and pres­i­dent of res­pi­ra­to­ry, gas­troin­testi­nal & in­for­mat­ics at Medtron­ic. In ad­di­tion, he has served in roles at Co­vi­di­en, Car­di­nal Health and Bax­ter.

Arte­lo Bio­sciences has plucked An­drew Yates as its SVP and CSO. Yates joins with ex­pe­ri­ence from his time with As­traZeneca, where he was re­spon­si­ble for their car­dio­vas­cu­lar and di­a­betes in­ter­nal port­fo­lio, in­clud­ing the ac­qui­si­tion of Bris­tol My­ers Squibb’s di­a­betes pipeline.

Tam­ra Adams

→ On the heels of elect­ing Patrick Hig­gins to the board of di­rec­tors last week, At­lanta-based hep B biotech An­tios Ther­a­peu­tics is bring­ing on Tam­ra Adams as their first ever CFO start­ing March 1. Be­fore join­ing Greg Mayes’ crew, Adams found­ed and was man­ag­ing part­ner of Ac­count­ing Con­cepts, which pro­vides CFO, ac­count­ing and fi­nan­cial ser­vices to com­pa­nies in the biotech sec­tor. An­tios is ready to roll on Phase II tri­als for their HBV pro­gram next month.

Frank Watan­abe-led Ar­cutis Bio­ther­a­peu­tics is flesh­ing out its C-suite fur­ther af­ter rock­ing pos­i­tive Phase III da­ta ear­li­er this month for its top­i­cal cream ARQ-151 to treat plaque pso­ri­a­sis. Court­ney Bar­ton has got­ten the call to be chief com­pli­ance of­fi­cer and chief of staff at South­ern Cal­i­for­nia-based Ar­cutis, as well as their chief pri­va­cy of­fi­cer. Bar­ton hails from Cipla Ther­a­peu­tics, where she was VP, com­mer­cial ex­cel­lence & chief com­pli­ance of­fi­cer, and oth­er com­pli­ance roles in­clud­ed stops at Bausch + Lomb, Al­ler­gan and Kythera.

Pe­ter Calve­ley

→ Co-found­ed by Beth Sei­den­berg and Sean Harp­er and rak­ing in $500 mil­lion from two funds back in De­cem­ber, West­lake Vil­lage BioPart­ners has ap­point­ed Pe­ter Calve­ley as COO. Calve­ley de­vot­ed nine years to SVB Leerink as man­ag­ing di­rec­tor in the in­vest­ment bank­ing group.

Brid­get O’Ke­effe has left Nek­tarteam­ing up with Mer­ck on a Keytru­da col­lab­o­ra­tion while al­so in the throes of an in­vestor law­suit — to join On­coSec as VP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. For the last two years, O’Ke­effe had been Nek­tar’s se­nior di­rec­tor of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, tak­ing the lead on a Phase III com­bo tri­al of be­m­pe­galdesleukin with Op­di­vo for re­nal cell car­ci­no­ma. She’s al­so held clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment po­si­tions at Genen­tech, Ex­elix­is and Achao­gen.

Ute Dugan

→ The Park­er In­sti­tute for Can­cer Im­munother­a­py (PI­CI) has en­list­ed Ute Dugan as SVP, clin­i­cal re­search. Dugan hails from Bris­tol My­ers Squibb, where she served as head of world­wide on­col­o­gy ex­ter­nal med­ical af­fairs. Dur­ing her time at BMS, Dugan’s work in­clud­ed ex­ten­sive clin­i­cal part­ner­ships with PI­CI.

Lau­ra Kel­ly has signed on as di­rec­tor of clin­i­cal op­er­a­tions at can­cer biotech Monopar, which fi­nal­ly got its IPO off the ground to­ward the end of 2019 af­ter some false starts (back when the IPO ap­petite wasn’t as in­sa­tiable). Kel­ly makes her Monopar de­but af­ter a short stint as se­nior man­ag­er, clin­i­cal site lead at EMD Serono, and be­fore that she held strate­gic and clin­i­cal posts at Ab­b­Vie, Ab­bott Labs and Am­gen.

Mat­teo Leviset­ti

→ Start­ing Mon­day, Big Phar­ma vet Mat­teo Leviset­ti will be SVP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Cam­bridge, MA-based Cue Bio­phar­ma, which de­vel­ops T cell im­muno-on­col­o­gy ther­a­pies. Leviset­ti, whose most re­cent stop was as CMO of DNA­trix, has served as glob­al head & VP, trans­la­tion­al med­i­cine, im­munol­o­gy and in­flam­ma­tion at the pRED di­vi­sion of Roche and brings clin­i­cal re­search ex­pe­ri­ence from Pfiz­er and Mer­ck.

Im­muno­core has pulled in Ralph Tor­bay as its new head of com­mer­cial and Roy Herb­st to its board of di­rec­tors. Tor­bay joins the com­pa­ny from As­traZeneca, where he helped launch Imfinzi, Tagris­so and Calquence. Pri­or to that, Tor­bay was at No­var­tis On­col­o­gy. Herb­st cur­rent­ly serves as En­sign pro­fes­sor of med­i­cine (med­ical on­col­o­gy), pro­fes­sor of phar­ma­col­o­gy, chief of med­ical on­col­o­gy and as­so­ciate can­cer cen­ter di­rec­tor for trans­la­tion­al re­search at Yale Can­cer Cen­ter and Smilow Can­cer Hos­pi­tal.

Gar­ry Neil has been named chair­man of the board at Are­na Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, while the Amit Mun­shi-led biotech has added Naw­al Ouzren to the board. Neil, an Are­na board mem­ber since 2017, is the CSO of Cere­cor, while Ouzren has spent al­most four years as the CEO of Sen­so­ri­on.

Ron Coop­er

Al­bireo Phar­ma CEO Ron Coop­er has a new board ap­point­ment at Gen­er­a­tion Bio a few weeks af­ter re­ceiv­ing some good news on Al­bireo’s lead can­di­date ode­vix­i­bat. “I am over the moon,” Coop­er told End­points up­on re­ceiv­ing pri­or­i­ty re­view from the FDA and a Ju­ly 20 PDU­FA date for the drug. Coop­er heads to Gen­er­a­tion Bio’s board on March 1.

David Wilkes, the dean of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Vir­ginia School of Med­i­cine, has re­served his place on the board of di­rec­tors at Bax­ter. Mean­while, 17-year di­rec­tor Al­bert Strouck­en has been named lead in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tor. He re­places Thomas Stal­lkamp, who held that ti­tle for al­most sev­en years and will re­main on Bax­ter’s board.

Sim­ba Gill’s Evelo Bio­sciences has giv­en John Hohnek­er a seat at the board of di­rec­tors. Hohnek­er, a GSK and No­var­tis vet who’s the ex-R&D chief at For­ma Ther­a­peu­tics, just wrapped a three-year tenure as pres­i­dent and CEO of au­toim­mune dis­ease-fo­cused Anokion.

→ Sin­ga­pore-based ASLAN Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has named Neil Gra­ham as in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tor. Cur­rent­ly, Gra­ham serves as CMO of Tiziana Life Sci­ences and a di­rec­tor of Phar­max­is. Pri­or to that, he spent a decade at Re­gen­eron as VP of strate­gic pro­gram di­rec­tion, im­munol­o­gy and in­flam­ma­tion.

Ju­dith Swain

→ Af­ter se­cur­ing a $130 mil­lion raise last No­vem­ber, Prometheus Bio­sciences — which had been cre­at­ed by the ac­qui­si­tion of Prometheus Labs by Pre­ci­sion IBD — has made the ad­di­tions of Ju­dith Swain and He­len Adams to its board of di­rec­tors. Adams will as­sume the po­si­tion of chair of the au­dit com­mit­tee. Swain is the cur­rent CMO at med­ical de­vice com­pa­ny Phys­ioWave and sits on the boards of Lex­i­con Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Up­stream Med­ical Tech­nolo­gies and the In­sti­tute for Life Chang­ing Med­i­cines. Mean­while, Adams has served as the San Diego area man­ag­ing part­ner for Haskell & White and part­ner in the life sci­ences and tech­nol­o­gy group at De­loitte & Touche.

→ DNA­trix has made the ad­di­tion of Herb Cross to its board of di­rec­tors. Cross cur­rent­ly serves as CFO of Atre­ca and sits on the board of di­rec­tors, and is chair of the au­dit com­mit­tee, of Apex­i­gen. Cross has a long his­to­ry of serv­ing as CFO for a num­ber of com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing AR­MO Bio­Sciences, Bal­ance Ther­a­peu­tics, Kalos­Bios Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Affy­max.

Lisa Kel­ly-Croswell

Syn­log­ic has reeled in Lisa Kel­ly-Croswell to its board of di­rec­tors. Cur­rent­ly, Kel­ly-Croswell serves as SVP and chief hu­man re­sources of­fi­cer for Boston Med­ical Cen­ter Health Sys­tem. Pri­or to that, she was SVP, HR and cor­po­rate ser­vices at Ver­tex Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and had a stint at Ni­tromed.

Dew­point Ther­a­peu­tics has added Regi­na Barzi­lay to its board of di­rec­tors. Barzi­lay is a pro­fes­sor for AI and health in the de­part­ment of elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing and com­put­er sci­ence and a mem­ber of the Com­put­er Sci­ence & Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence Lab at MIT.

He­lix Bio­phar­ma has ap­point­ed Frank Gary Ren­shaw to its sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board. Ren­shaw comes from Zhe­jiang DTRM Bio­phar­ma, where he cur­rent­ly serves as CMO. Ren­shaw’s pre­vi­ous roles in­clude serv­ing at Ei­sai, Cel­gene, Cel­sion and Bay­er Health Care.

IDC: Life Sci­ences Firms Must Em­brace Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion Now

Pre-pandemic, the life sciences industry had settled into a pattern. The average drug took 12 years and $2.9 billion to bring to market, and it was an acceptable mode of operations, according to Nimita Limaye, Research Vice President for Life Sciences R&D Strategy and Technology at IDC.

COVID-19 changed that, and served as a proof-of-concept for how technology can truly help life sciences companies succeed and grow, Limaye said. She recently spoke about industry trends at Egnyte’s Life Sciences Summit 2022. You should watch the entire session, free and on-demand, but here’s a brief recap of why she’s urging life sciences companies to embrace digital transformation.

Geoffrey Porges, new Schrödinger CFO

Long­time an­a­lyst Ge­of­frey Porges de­parts SVB to lead fi­nances at a drug dis­cov­ery shop

Geoffrey Porges has ended his two-decade run as a biotech analyst, as the former SVB Securities vice chair began as CFO of Schrödinger on Thursday.

The long-running analyst, who previously headed up vaccines marketing at Merck before the turn of the millennium, will lead the financial operations of the 700-employee company as Schrödinger broadens its focus from a drug discovery partner to also building out an in-house pipeline, with clinical trial No. 1 set to begin next quarter.

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FDA ap­proves one of the prici­est new treat­ments of all time — blue­bird's gene ther­a­py for be­ta tha­lassemia

The FDA on Wednesday approved the first gene therapy for a chronic condition — bluebird bio’s new Zynteglo (beti-cel) as a potentially curative treatment for those with transfusion-dependent thalassemia.

The thumbs-up from the FDA follows a unanimous adcomm vote in June, with outside experts pointing to extraordinary efficacy, with 89% of subjects with TDT who received beti-cel having achieved transfusion independence.

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James Sabry, Roche global head of pharma partnering

Roche, Genen­tech plunk down $60M up­front to part­ner with Chi­nese phar­ma on PRO­TAC-based prostate can­cer drug

Roche and Genentech are always on the hunt for deals, and on Thursday they found their newest partner.

The pair will team up with the Chinese pharma company Jemincare to push forward a new program for prostate cancer, the companies announced. Roche is ponying up $60 million upfront to get its hands on the candidate and promising up to $590 million in biobucks, plus royalties, down the line.

In return, Genentech will get a worldwide license to develop the program, known as JMKX002992, and bring it to market.

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Andrew Hopkins, Exscientia CEO

Ex­sci­en­tia ter­mi­nates Bay­er pact half a year ear­ly, col­lect­ing small por­tion of €240M promised

Bayer and Exscientia are winding down their three-year collaboration, leaving the big German pharma to take the AI-designed compounds born out of the pact further.

London-based Exscientia revealed in its Q2 update that the partners have “mutually agreed to end” their collaboration, which kicked off in early 2020, after recently achieving a drug discovery milestone. In an SEC filing, Exscientia said it terminated the pact on May 30, about six months early.

Bayer's first DTC ad campaign for chronic kidney disease drug Kerendia spells out its benefits

Bay­er aims to sim­pli­fy the com­plex­i­ties of CKD with an ABC-themed ad cam­paign

Do you know the ABCs of CKD in T2D? Bayer’s first ad campaign for Kerendia tackles the complexity of chronic kidney disease with a play on the acronym (CKD) and its connection to type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Kerendia was approved last year as the first and only non-steroidal mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist to treat CKD in people with type 2 diabetes.

In the TV commercial launched this week, A is for awareness, B is for belief and C is for cardiovascular, explained in the ad as awareness of the connection between type 2 and kidney disease, belief that something can be done about it, and cardiovascular events that may be reduced with treatment.

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James Mock, incoming CFO at Moderna

Mod­er­na taps new CFO from PerkinElmer af­ter for­mer one-day CFO oust­ed

When Moderna hired a new CFO last year,  it didn’t expect to see him gone after only one day. Today the biotech named his — likely much more vetted — replacement.

The mRNA company put out word early Wednesday that after the untimely departure of then brand-new CFO Jorge Gomez, it has now found a replacement in James Mock, the soon-to-be former CFO at diagnostics and analytics company PerkinElmer.

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Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF’s supply division

GSK lands first-ever UNICEF con­tract for malar­ia vac­cine worth $170M

GSK has landed a new first from UNICEF the first-ever contract for malaria vaccines, worth up to $170 million for 18 million vaccine doses distributed over the next three years.

The vaccine, known as Mosquirix or RTS,S, won WHO’s backing last October after a controversial start, but UNICEF said these doses will potentially save thousands of lives every year.

“We hope this is just the beginning,” Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF’s supply division, said. “Continued innovation is needed to develop new and next-generation vaccines to increase available supply, and enable a healthier vaccine market. This is a giant step forward in our collective efforts to save children’s lives and reduce the burden of malaria as part of wider malaria prevention and control programmes.”

Joe Jonas (Photo by Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

So­lo Jonas broth­er car­ries Merz's new tune in Botox ri­val cam­paign

As the lyrics of his band’s 2019 pop-rock single suggest, Joe Jonas is only human — and that means even he gets frown lines. The 33-year-old singer-songwriter is Merz’s newest celebrity brand partner for its Botox rival Xeomin, as medical aesthetics brands target a younger audience.

Merz kicked off its “Beauty on Your Terms” campaign on Tuesday, featuring the Jonas brother in a video ad for its double-filtered anti-wrinkle injection Xeomin.

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