How fam­i­ly and sci­ence moved Ex­elix­is' new CMO to work on on­col­o­gy block­busters; While John Maraganore racks up the prizes, his old crew at Al­ny­lam se­lects pres­i­dent

Vic­ki Good­man

Af­ter 18 years at the FDA and climb­ing the cor­po­rate lad­der in bio­phar­ma, Vic­ki Good­man is now in the biotech C-suite for the first time. The new CMO and ex­ec­u­tive VP of prod­uct de­vel­op­ment for Ex­elix­is start­ed on Jan. 4, fly­ing out to the biotech’s head­quar­ters just out­side sun­ny San Fran­cis­co be­fore re­turn­ing home and fly­ing all the way back to Philly, where she is based.

Good­man got her pas­sion for med­i­cine as a young child — it didn’t sur­prise any­one that she ma­jored in bio­chem­istry be­fore go­ing through med­ical school and res­i­den­cy, fin­ish­ing up in the ear­ly 2000s with an em­pha­sis in in­ter­nal med­i­cine, med­ical on­col­o­gy and hema­tol­ogy. But for her, there was an un­der­ly­ing de­sire to use sci­ence to help peo­ple and work on prob­lems that im­pact peo­ple’s health.

Part of that de­sire came from per­son­al tragedy: Good­man lost her moth­er to breast can­cer right as Good­man fin­ished med­ical school. She de­cid­ed to fo­cus her ca­reer in on­col­o­gy.

It was a piv­otal time in the field. Sci­ence was chang­ing — par­tic­u­lar­ly doc­tors’ un­der­stand­ing of bi­ol­o­gy and can­cer.

“It was be­com­ing very clear that our un­der­stand­ing of hu­man bi­ol­o­gy — and in­creas­ing un­der­stand­ing of some of the mol­e­c­u­lar ge­net­ic un­der­pin­nings of can­cer — could re­al­ly have the po­ten­tial to rev­o­lu­tion­ize treat­ment of pa­tients with can­cer,” Good­man told End­points News.

She not­ed No­var­tis’ ty­ro­sine ki­nase in­hibitor Gleevec for chron­ic myeloid leukeima was ap­proved in 2001, near the end of her res­i­den­cy. The first-of-its-kind tar­get ther­a­py fun­da­men­tal­ly trans­formed treat­ment of that type of can­cer, and pushed her to­wards drug de­vel­op­ment.

“We re­al­ly watched how that treat­ment — which was mol­e­c­u­lar­ly tar­get­ed — trans­formed the treat­ment of that dis­ease from one that in­ex­orably pro­gressed,” Good­man said. “We didn’t have drugs that re­al­ly af­fect­ed the un­der­ly­ing dis­ease. And ul­ti­mate­ly, you know, pa­tients would have a blast cri­sis and die of the dis­ease. You were see­ing with treat­ment with Gleevec, the tu­mors, can­cer cells just melt­ed away, the leukemic cells just dis­ap­peared.”

Af­ter spend­ing some time at the FDA, Good­man got hired at Glax­o­SmithK­line, where she spent 8 years work­ing in clin­i­cal and med­i­cine de­vel­op­ment be­fore go­ing over to Bris­tol My­ers Squibb in 2015. While at Bris­tol My­ers, Good­man worked as a VP, de­vel­op­ment lead and was on the on­col­o­gy se­nior lead­er­ship team there, ul­ti­mate­ly work­ing on block­buster PD-(L)1 in­hibitor Op­di­vo.

That’s when Good­man first got ac­quaint­ed with Ex­elix­is — she helped lead the part­ner­ship be­tween BMS and Ex­elix­is on the Check­Mate 9ER tri­al, which com­bined Op­di­vo with Ex­elix­is’ lead can­di­date, the now-ap­proved drug Cabome­tyx for re­nal cell car­ci­no­ma.

Af­ter leav­ing BMS in 2020, she went to Mer­ck, where she worked on PD-(L)1 block­buster Keytru­da and oth­er Mer­ck can­di­dates in in­di­ca­tions such as tho­racic ma­lig­nan­cies, head and neck can­cers, breast and gy­ne­co­log­ic can­cers, and hema­tol­ogy.

Which brought her back to Ex­elix­is. Good­man heard that the CMO po­si­tion was open, and when they reached out to her, she didn’t want to let go of an op­por­tu­ni­ty, so she went for it.

So what’s next for Good­man and Ex­elix­is? In Good­man’s own words, “There’s a lot to do,” es­pe­cial­ly on the da­ta side of things. There’s ex­pect­ed read­outs for Cabome­tyx for this year — some of them in Phase III tri­als for even more in­di­ca­tions for the drug. There’s al­so pipeline ex­pan­sion and set­ting up a reg­is­tra­tional tri­al this year for XL092, the com­pa­ny’s new TKI in­hibitor, and down the road for XL102, their new CDK7 in­hibitor.

“The oth­er key fo­cus for me is re­al­ly on the peo­ple and teams and mak­ing sure that we have the right ca­pa­bil­i­ties in place,” Good­man said.

And it plays right in­to one of the things on her lead­er­ship to-do list: start build­ing a de­vel­op­ment team out on the East Coast — which in Good­man’s view, is a cru­cial step for fu­ture suc­cess.

Paul Schloess­er

Hap­py 2022, Peer Re­view read­ers! The new year has start­ed with an un­par­al­leled del­uge of ap­point­ments, so buck­le up:

Ak­shay Vaish­naw

→ A new era at Al­ny­lam be­gins now with Yvonne Green­street as CEO, a new siR­NA deal with No­var­tis, and a pro­mo­tion: Ak­shay Vaish­naw has been el­e­vat­ed to pres­i­dent af­ter near­ly four years as pres­i­dent of R&D with the RNAi pi­o­neer. Vaish­naw has been an Al­ny­lam ex­ec since 2006, leav­ing Bio­gen to take a job as VP of clin­i­cal re­search, and he’s been steadi­ly ris­ing in the com­pa­ny ever since.

As for Al­ny­lam’s for­mer CEO, the beat goes on with John Maraganore’s mis­sion to “be a grand­dad” for oth­er com­pa­nies — Peer Re­view may as well in­sti­tute a Maraganore Me­ter to track all the gigs he ac­cu­mu­lates. What’s on tap for him now? First, he be­came an ex­ec­u­tive part­ner at RTW, as de­tailed by our Paul Schloess­er; At­las Ven­ture tweet­ed this week that Maraganore will lend his ex­per­tise as a ven­ture ad­vi­sor; next, Maraganore has been named chair­man of the board at Hemab, a Dan­ish blood dis­or­der biotech helmed by for­mer Co­di­ak ex­ec Ben­ny Sorensen; SQZ Biotech­nolo­gies al­so came call­ing this week, tap­ping Maraganore as a strate­gic ad­vi­sor; and fi­nal­ly, he will be chair of the ad­vi­so­ry coun­cil at Stan­ley Crooke’s non-prof­it n-Lorem Foun­da­tion.

Kate Hav­i­land

→ Last year, Blue­print Med­i­cines earned its fourth ap­proval by cross­ing the goal line with Ay­vak­it for ad­vanced sys­temic mas­to­cy­to­sis, and joined the M&A par­ty by pur­chas­ing Lengo Ther­a­peu­tics for $250 mil­lion up­front. On April 4, Blue­print will have a change at the top as CEO Jeff Al­bers pass­es the ba­ton to Kate Hav­i­land, who was hired as CBO in 2016 and has been COO since 2019. Hav­i­land ven­tured off to Blue­print af­ter her tenure as VP, rare dis­eases and on­col­o­gy pro­gram lead­er­ship at Idera; she’s al­so led com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment Sarep­ta and PTC Ther­a­peu­tics. Al­bers will be ex­ec­u­tive chair­man un­til the end of the year, at which time he will con­tin­ue as chair­man.

An­oth­er piece of Blue­print news: Al­so ef­fec­tive April 4, Christi­na Rossi, the com­pa­ny’s chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer since 2018, will re­place Hav­i­land as COO.

Javier Szwar­cberg

Mike Grey’s days are up as in­ter­im CEO of Spruce Bio­sciences af­ter pinch-hit­ting for the re­tired Richard King, now en­trust­ing the com­pa­ny to Javier Szwar­cberg. Fol­low­ing a short stay as VP of R&D and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment at Hori­zon, Szwar­cberg piv­ot­ed to Ul­tragenyx, be­com­ing SVP, head of pro­gram and port­fo­lio man­age­ment. Since Feb­ru­ary 2020, Szwar­cberg had been group VP and head of pro­gram and port­fo­lio de­vel­op­ment for JJ Bi­en­aimé at Bio­Marin. An­oth­er Spruce note: Samir Gharib has been el­e­vat­ed to pres­i­dent and will re­tain his du­ties as CFO.

Ken­neth Gal­braith

→ There will be a new sher­iff in town at can­cer bis­pecifics biotech Zymeworks as Ken­neth Gal­braith re­places CEO Ali Tehrani “on or be­fore” Feb. 1. Tehrani spent 18+ years at the helm and he’ll stick around as an ad­vi­sor dur­ing the tran­si­tion pe­ri­od. Gal­braith has fa­mil­iar­i­ty with the com­pa­ny al­ready as a for­mer board mem­ber from 2009-13, and the ex-CEO of Lim­i­nal Bio­Sciences and Fairhaven Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has been an en­tre­pre­neur-in-res­i­dence with Syn­cona since last April. There’s one more bit of C-suite ac­tiv­i­ty to sort out — CFO and 15-year Zymeworks vet Neil Klom­pas has tacked on the role of COO with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

Hu­bert Chen

→ While we were on a break (apolo­gies to Ross from “Friends”), Hu­bert Chen re­signed as CMO of Metacrine ef­fec­tive New Year’s Eve, leav­ing CEO Pre­ston Klassen to fill the va­can­cy. Chen found an­oth­er CMO gig at ADARx Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, an RNA edit­ing start­up that raised the cur­tain on a $75 mil­lion Se­ries B co-led by Or­biMed and SR One in Sep­tem­ber 2021. Chen joined Metacrine in Au­gust 2018 af­ter four years with Pfenex — first as CMO, then as chief sci­en­tif­ic and med­ical of­fi­cer — and has pre­vi­ous­ly been VP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Aileron Ther­a­peu­tics. Like many com­pa­nies, Metacrine ran in­to a brick wall with NASH, throw­ing in the tow­el with its pro­gram in Oc­to­ber and in­stead con­cen­trat­ing on a Phase II for in­flam­ma­to­ry bow­el dis­ease with MET642.

Joshua Grass

→ The Grass is al­ways green­er: Joshua Grass has suc­ceed­ed the re­tir­ing Alain Baron as CEO of San Diego-based up­start Escient Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, with Baron stay­ing on as a strate­gic ad­vi­sor through Q1. Af­ter 15 years at Bio­Marin, where he was SVP, busi­ness and cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment, Grass launched the rare dis­ease play Modis Ther­a­peu­tics in 2018 while he was an en­tre­pre­neur-in-res­i­dence at F-Prime Cap­i­tal. The next year, Zo­genix scooped up Modis for $250 mil­lion up­front.

→ Peer Re­view re­ceived a state­ment on be­half of Spark that Joseph La Barge has stepped down “to be­gin fo­cus­ing on his next chap­ter in biotech.” La Barge jumped on board at Spark in 2013 as chief le­gal of­fi­cer and had served as CBO for al­most two years, play­ing a piv­otal role in the ac­qui­si­tion by Roche.

Si­mon Allen

Si­mon Allen will be CEO of Aneb­u­lo Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, which seeks to turn the ta­bles on cannabi­noid over­dose and sub­stance abuse. He will re­place Daniel Schnee­berg­er, who an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion ef­fec­tive Feb. 1. Allen re­turned for a sec­ond tour of du­ty as CBO for Am­brx in March 2019 af­ter hold­ing the same po­si­tion at the Cal­i­for­nia biotech from 2010-15. Austin-based Aneb­u­lo, whose lead can­di­date ANEB-001 is in a Phase II proof-of-con­cept study for acute cannabi­noid in­tox­i­ca­tion, has al­so brought in Scott An­der­son as head of in­vestor re­la­tions and pub­lic re­la­tions.

Julien Mi­ara

→ At Paris-based biotech Onx­eo, Julien Mi­ara has re­placed CEO Ju­dith Gre­ci­et on an in­ter­im ba­sis start­ing this week. A mem­ber of Onx­eo’s board since Sep­tem­ber 2020, Mi­ara’s run at In­vus be­gan more than a decade ago, earn­ing a pro­mo­tion in 2018 to lead its Eu­ro­pean team. Gre­ci­et was named CEO of Onx­eo in 2011, back when the com­pa­ny was known as BioAl­liance Phar­ma un­til it merged with Topotar­get and was re­brand­ed. The DNA dam­age re­sponse biotech is now chaired by Epizyme chief med­ical and de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer She­fali Agar­w­al.

Er­ic Hobbs

Er­ic Hobbs will be re­as­signed from CEO “to pres­i­dent of the An­ti­body Ther­a­peu­tics busi­ness line” at dig­i­tal cell bi­ol­o­gy play­er Berke­ley Lights when his re­place­ment is found. Hobbs first came to Berke­ley Lights in 2013 as se­nior di­rec­tor of R&D and was pro­mot­ed to CEO in March 2017. Berke­ley Lights struck while the IPO iron was hot in the sum­mer of 2020, blow­ing by the stan­dard $100 mil­lion they ini­tial­ly pen­ciled in with a $205 mil­lion up­sized of­fer­ing.

Fran­cis Sare­na

Fran­cis Sare­na has signed on to be COO of Apex­i­gen, whose CD40 ag­o­nist soti­gal­imab is in Phase II stud­ies in a num­ber of can­cer in­di­ca­tions, name­ly melanoma. From 2011-21, Sare­na was an ex­ec with Five Prime, serv­ing as chief strat­e­gy of­fi­cer from 2016 un­til Am­gen padded its on­col­o­gy pipeline by pur­chas­ing the com­pa­ny for $2 bil­lion. This is Apex­i­gen’s sec­ond ma­jor ex­ec­u­tive ap­point­ment in the last sev­er­al months af­ter bring­ing in CMO Frank Hsu from Onc­ter­nal Ther­a­peu­tics.

Michael Skyn­ner has ped­aled in­to a new post this week at Bi­cy­cle Ther­a­peu­tics, shift­ing from COO to chief tech­nol­o­gy of­fi­cer for CEO Kevin Lee’s squad while VP, hu­man re­sources and com­mu­ni­ca­tions Al­is­tair Milnes steps in­to the COO slot. Skyn­ner, Bi­cy­cle’s COO since 2018, first ar­rived in 2016 as VP, op­er­a­tions and dis­cov­ery af­ter his days as head of ex­ter­nal al­liances, rare dis­ease re­search unit with Pfiz­er. Bi­cy­cle put a lit­tle air in Io­n­is’ tires in Ju­ly 2021 with an oligonu­cleotide deal that saw Io­n­is fork over $45 mil­lion up­front.

Joseph McIn­tosh

Stephen Squin­to’s nu­cle­ic acid gene ther­a­py biotech Gen­nao Bio has pegged Joseph McIn­tosh as CMO and Anuj Goswa­mi as gen­er­al coun­sel. McIn­tosh was in this space a mere eight months ago when he took the CMO job at Jaguar Gene Ther­a­py, spend­ing the pre­vi­ous year as the med­ical chief of Aru­vant. This is Goswa­mi’s first for­ay in­to biotech af­ter a 21-year ca­reer in pri­vate prac­tice with Philade­phia-based Bal­lard Spahr.

Es­ther Ra­javelu

→ Rare dis­ease play­er Ful­crum Ther­a­peu­tics has found a new CFO in Es­ther Ra­javelu, who most re­cent­ly served as a se­nior eq­ui­ties re­search an­a­lyst at UBS. Ra­javelu’s ex­pe­ri­ence al­so in­cludes stints at Deutsche Bank and Op­pen­heimer & Co. Ful­crum’s stock price went through the roof last sum­mer on the strength of da­ta for its sick­le cell drug FTX-6058.

→ New York’s In­dap­tus Ther­a­peu­tics has tapped Boy­an Litchev as CMO, the lat­est move in a whirl­wind of stops the last five years. Let’s break it all down: Litchev had on­ly led glob­al clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Shore­line Bio­sciences since the sum­mer of 2021, and as we told you then, he spent his pre­vi­ous 16 months as head of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, on­col­o­gy at Po­sei­da. Litchev was briefly the ex­ec­u­tive med­ical di­rec­tor, head of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, on­col­o­gy at Halozyme af­ter two years with Akcea, and he joins In­dap­tus in time to push its lead can­cer can­di­date De­coy20 in­to Phase I some­time this year.

Stephanie Oestre­ich

→ Dan­ish biotech Galec­to, part of the 2020 IPO fren­zy, has waved in Stephanie Oestre­ich as CBO. Af­ter 12 years with No­var­tis, Oestre­ich was the in­ter­na­tion­al busi­ness leader for Avastin at Roche, then jumped over to Evotec, where she was head of aca­d­e­m­ic part­ner­ships and in­vest­ments, North Amer­i­ca & Asia. She just fin­ished an ab­bre­vi­at­ed run as VP of op­er­a­tions and head of al­liance man­age­ment with Mnemo Ther­a­peu­tics. Galec­to’s lead prod­uct, GB0139, is an in­haled galectin-3 in­hibitor in a Phase IIb tri­al for id­io­path­ic pul­monary fi­bro­sis.

David McIn­tyre

David McIn­tyre has been named CFO of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease play­er An­thos Ther­a­peu­tics, launched near­ly three years ago by Black­stone and No­var­tis. An ex-part­ner at Ap­ple Tree Part­ners, McIn­tyre just had a year-long stint as fi­nance chief at Tes­sa Ther­a­peu­tics. An­thos’ lead can­di­date, the mon­o­clon­al an­ti­body abelacimab, is be­ing de­vel­oped as an an­ti­co­ag­u­lant to pre­vent or treat ve­nous throm­boem­bolism.

Sarah Liu

→ GI dis­ease play­er 9 Me­ters Bio­phar­ma out of Raleigh, NC has named Sarah Liu chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer and Al Med­war head of in­vestor re­la­tions. Liu spear­head­ed glob­al com­mer­cial strat­e­gy for the spinal mus­cu­lar at­ro­phy drug Zol­gens­ma while she was VP and head of world­wide new prod­uct plan­ning and VP, glob­al mar­ket­ing at No­var­tis Gene Ther­a­pies. The Take­da and Ab­bott vet has al­so been VP of com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions and strate­gic plan­ning at Melin­ta Ther­a­peu­tics. Med­war swings in­to 9 Me­ters from Aruna Bio, where he was EVP of cor­po­rate & com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment.

Kevin Lynch is mak­ing his way over to No­table Labs as CBO. Lynch comes aboard af­ter ca­reers as CBO of Re­cur­sion and VP of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment at Vir Biotech­nol­o­gy. Not on­ly that, but ear­li­er in his ca­reer, Lynch ran a 20-year stint over at Ab­bott/Ab­b­Vie as VP, search and eval­u­a­tion.

Marie-Louise Fjäll­skog

→ Marie-Louise Fjäll­skog has left Sen­sei Bio­ther­a­peu­tics to be­come CMO at Finnish im­munother­a­py biotech Faron Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. While Fjäll­skog was CMO at Sen­sei, the com­pa­ny rolled to a $152 mil­lion IPO in ear­ly 2021. In ad­di­tion to her new role at Faron, Fjäll­skog al­so serves as as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of on­col­o­gy at Up­p­sala Uni­ver­si­ty in Swe­den.

Christo­pher Ho­ran

Christo­pher Ho­ran has an­swered the bell as chief tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer at Arti­va Bio­ther­a­peu­tics, Mer­ck’s CAR-NK part­ner that dou­bled the fun in 2021 with a $120 mil­lion raise and a Nas­daq de­but. Af­ter 13 years at Mer­ck and an­oth­er 14 with Genen­tech where he rose to head of prod­uct and glob­al sup­ply chain man­age­ment, Ho­ran served as chief tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer at Der­mi­ra and, most re­cent­ly, San­Bio.

→ UK-based 4D phar­ma made the SPAC-tac­u­lar move of re­verse merg­ing with blank check com­pa­ny Longevi­ty Ac­qui­si­tion Cor­po­ra­tion and has now re­cruit­ed John Doyle as CFO. Doyle had a quick cup of cof­fee as Chi­as­ma’s fi­nance chief last year af­ter three years at Ve­rastem, where he was pro­mot­ed to VP, fi­nance and in­vestor re­la­tions.

Erik Vah­to­la

Giv­ing the Te­va re­ject laquin­i­mod an­oth­er go for pa­tients with non-in­fec­tious non-an­te­ri­or uveitis, Swe­den’s Ac­tive Biotech has named Big Phar­ma vet Erik Vah­to­la as CMO. Vah­to­la was based in Fin­land when he worked for Roche from 2013-16, and since 2019 he had been head of med­ical af­fairs, on­col­o­gy at Bay­er. Else­where at Ac­tive Biotech, CSO He­le­na Eriks­son’s 23 years with the com­pa­ny have come to a close, but she’ll stay ac­tive, so to speak, in a con­sult­ing role.

Ju­la In­rig

Tra­vere Ther­a­peu­tics, the com­pa­ny for­mer­ly known as Retrophin which was op­er­at­ing un­der “Phar­ma Bro” Mar­tin Shkre­li, has tacked on Ju­la In­rig as CMO. In­rig joins the com­pa­ny from IQVIA, where she served as glob­al head of the re­nal cen­ter of ex­cel­lence, right as they try once again to push for the ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval of sparsen­tan.

Kirsten Gruis

Di­aMed­ica, fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing treat­ments for neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­ders and kid­ney dis­eases, has named Kirsten Gruis as CMO. Gruis brings with her a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence from her for­mer stints at Edge­wise Ther­a­peu­tics (CMO), Roche (neu­ro­mus­cu­lar fran­chise head), Ag­ilis Bio­ther­a­peu­tics, Wave Life Sci­ences, Idera, Al­ny­lam and Pfiz­er.

→ Salt Lake City-based El­e­var Ther­a­peu­tics changed CEOs in 2021 when Kate McKin­ley took over for Alex Kim. As we ring in 2022, El­e­var has se­lect­ed Bris­tol My­ers vet Jen­ny Gizzi as chief peo­ple of­fi­cer. Gizzi was the VP of hu­man re­sources for Are­na Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Pfiz­er’s M&A jew­el to close out last year, af­ter a year with Mi­rati as head of hu­man re­sources and site op­er­a­tions. Among the drug can­di­dates in El­e­var’s pipeline is rivo­ceranib, de­vel­oped by Hen­grui and ap­proved in Chi­na for gas­tric can­cer and sec­ond-line ad­vanced he­pa­to­cel­lu­lar car­ci­no­ma.

→ Eye drop de­vel­op­er Oculis has turned its eyes on Webb Ding as its next COO and gen­er­al man­ag­er, Chi­na. Ding makes his way to Oculis from Fre­se­nius Kabi, where he served as coun­try pres­i­dent for Chi­na. Pri­or to that, Ding was with No­var­tis in Chi­na for a decade and no­tably served as gen­er­al man­ag­er of No­var­tis Vac­cines Greater Chi­na and Tianyuan Bio-Phar­ma. Ear­li­er in his ca­reer, Ding al­so served in roles at Bris­tol My­ers and Xi’an Janssen.

Bio­sion has wel­comed An­tho­ny Yeh as chief strat­e­gy of­fi­cer and head of Chi­na busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. Yeh hails from CStone Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, where he served as VP, head of cor­po­rate strat­e­gy, in­vestor re­la­tions and cap­i­tal mar­ket.

Di­ana Chung

Terns Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals is giv­ing it the old col­lege try with NASH and brings two ap­point­ments to this week’s Peer Re­view: Jef­frey Jasper as SVP, head of re­search and Di­ana Chung as chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer. Most re­cent­ly, Jasper was VP, drug dis­cov­ery at Rube­do Life Sci­ences, and he al­so served as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, re­search sci­ence at Mer­ck Re­search Lab­o­ra­to­ries. Chung has been at Terns since Sep­tem­ber 2019, where she start­ed as VP, clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and op­er­a­tions be­fore mov­ing to SVP in No­vem­ber 2020.

Ju­dith Robert­son

→ Aus­tralian eye dis­ease biotech Opthea has ap­point­ed Ju­dith Robert­son as chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer. Robert­son is no stranger to Opthea, where she has served on the board of di­rec­tors (chaired by Ovid chief Je­re­my Levin) since June 2021. Robert­son has held the po­si­tion of CCO at both Eleu­sis and Aerie Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, and at J&J’s Janssen, she was glob­al com­mer­cial VP, im­munol­o­gy and oph­thal­mol­o­gy.

→ Can­cer-fo­cused Curis has locked in three new ex­ecs: Fe­lix Geissler (VP of med­ical af­fairs) just held the same post at Hori­zon, which plunked down $25 mil­lion up­front in a deal with Alpine Im­mune Sci­ences last month; Kim­ber­ly Stein­mann (VP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment) is a Boehringer In­gel­heim vet who had been a con­sul­tant for Take­da’s on­col­o­gy de­vel­op­ment pro­gram and was ex­ec­u­tive med­ical di­rec­tor for or­phan dis­eases with Gri­fols; and Do­ra Fer­rari (VP of clin­i­cal op­er­a­tions), who had a 10-year ca­reer at Ar­Qule, comes to Curis from Aileron Ther­a­peu­tics, where she was VP, clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and pro­gram man­age­ment. Curis’ IRAK4 ki­nase in­hibitor CA-4948 is in a Phase I/II study for acute myeloid leukemia or high-risk myelodys­plas­tic syn­dromes, both as a monother­a­py and in com­bi­na­tion with azac­i­ti­dine or vene­to­clax.

→ Every­thing’s com­ing up Chemomab in Peer Re­view, whether it’s Dale Pfost hit­ting the scene as CEO and lat­er be­com­ing chair­man or nam­ing David Wein­er as in­ter­im CMO. This time the Is­raeli fi­brot­ic and in­flam­ma­to­ry dis­ease biotech has in­stalled Jack Lawler as VP of glob­al clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment op­er­a­tions. Lawler hails from Goldfinch Bio, where he was VP, clin­i­cal op­er­a­tions and da­ta man­age­ment, and he was di­rec­tor of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment op­er­a­tions at Vi­roPhar­ma be­fore Shire’s $4.2 bil­lion ac­qui­si­tion.

Rim­ma Stein­hertz

→ Putting mu­ta­tions of the MAPK and mTOR path­ways un­der the prover­bial mi­cro­scope, Im­muneer­ing has picked up Ei­sai and Mer­ck alum Rim­ma Stein­hertz as VP, project and al­liance man­age­ment. Stein­hertz had spent the last two years as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, glob­al pro­gram leader, port­fo­lio & pro­gram man­age­ment, on­col­o­gy at Glen­mark sub Ich­nos Sci­ences, and she was the group di­rec­tor, ex­ter­nal col­lab­o­ra­tions, on­col­o­gy dur­ing her time at Mer­ck.

Re­pare Ther­a­peu­tics has brought on Philip Her­man as its EVP of com­mer­cial and new prod­uct de­vel­op­ment. Her­man most re­cent­ly served as CCO at Y-mAbs Ther­a­peu­tics, where he over­saw the launch of the neu­rob­las­toma drug Danyelza. Her­man has al­so served as head of mar­ket­ing at Dyax and di­rec­tor of mar­ket­ing at Van­da Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

Matthew Vin­cent

Pe­ter Kolchin­sky or­ches­trat­ed Point Bio­phar­ma’s Nas­daq de­but through a SPAC deal in March 2021, and this week the ra­dio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal play­er has wel­comed Matthew Vin­cent as SVP, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. Vin­cent had held the same ti­tle at Avac­ta Life Sci­ences since 2017. A month ago, Point pro­mot­ed Justy­na Kel­ly to COO and bid farewell to chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer Michael Got­tlieb, who left “to pur­sue oth­er op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

→ An­nounced on Christ­mas Eve, Danielle Camp­bell has re­turned to aTyr Phar­ma, this time as VP of hu­man re­sources af­ter work­ing in HR there for a brief pe­ri­od in 2015-16. Camp­bell just closed out her five years with Po­sei­da as se­nior di­rec­tor, fa­cil­i­ties op­er­a­tions af­ter start­ing out in HR for Er­ic Os­tertag’s crew. San Diego-based aTyr is seek­ing re­demp­tion with lead can­di­date ATYR1923 for pa­tients with pul­monary sar­coido­sis af­ter stum­bling with Project OR­CA in 2018, trig­ger­ing a 30% re­duc­tion in its staff.

→ Philly-based Con­text Ther­a­peu­tics has named Christo­pher Beck as SVP of op­er­a­tions and Mark Fletch­er as VP of R&D. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, the com­pa­ny will be part­ing ways with its cur­rent head of CMC Bill Rencher as he plans for re­tire­ment. Beck joins the women’s on­col­o­gy-fo­cused com­pa­ny from Galera Ther­a­peu­tics, where he served as VP of pro­gram man­age­ment. Pri­or to that, Beck spent near­ly a decade with Shire and had stints at Mer­ck and As­traZeneca. Mean­while, Fletch­er comes aboard with ex­pe­ri­ence from his time at Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal As­so­ciates, Hik­ma Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal US Op­er­a­tions, Dou­glas Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, En­do Health So­lu­tions and Lig­and Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

Joan­na Auch

→ South San Fran­cis­co heart dis­ease biotech Tenaya Ther­a­peu­tics, which hit Nas­daq last sum­mer not long af­ter a $106 mil­lion crossover round, has en­list­ed Joan­na Auch — for­mer­ly the head of HR North Amer­i­ca for San­ten — as SVP of peo­ple and cul­ture. Tenaya has al­so named Ul­tragenyx chief le­gal of­fi­cer and EVP Karah Parschauer to the board of di­rec­tors, which al­so in­cludes Eli Cas­din and June Lee. The ex-as­so­ciate gen­er­al coun­sel at Al­ler­gan is on the boards of Evo­lus and Aneb­u­lo Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

→ The pan­dem­ic crushed Es­pe­ri­on’s hopes of mak­ing its cho­les­terol ther­a­py Nexle­tol in­to a block­buster, prompt­ing Tim Mayleben to throw the CEO keys to Shel­don Koenig and put some­one with com­mer­cial bona fides in­to the top spot. Af­ter dras­tic cut­backs in Oc­to­ber, Es­pe­ri­on has turned to Ben­jamin Look­er to be gen­er­al coun­sel. Look­er comes from Tril­li­um, where he was gen­er­al coun­sel for a biotech that Pfiz­er pur­chased for more than $2 bil­lion. At Mor­phoSys from 2017-19, Look­er — an EMD Serono alum — was VP, head of US le­gal and glob­al busi­ness op­er­a­tions.

Ronald Kras­now

T-knife need­ed just a year to pull to­geth­er a $110 mil­lion Se­ries B in Au­gust 2021 af­ter its ini­tial fi­nanc­ing round, and the biotech fo­cused on T cell re­cep­tor (TCR) en­gi­neered T cell ther­a­pies has en­list­ed Ronald Kras­now as gen­er­al coun­sel. Kras­now had a 10-year run as Re­lyp­sa be­fore mov­ing on to Men­lo Ther­a­peu­tics as gen­er­al coun­sel, sec­re­tary and chief com­pli­ance of­fi­cer and his most re­cent stop as the COO of Arch On­col­o­gy.

Jared Co­hen has moved in­to the role of gen­er­al coun­sel at Boston-based En­tra­da Ther­a­peu­tics, now tar­get­ing neu­ro­mus­cu­lar dis­eases like Duchenne with oligonu­cleotide ther­a­pies and nab­bing $116 mil­lion in fund­ing last March to do so. Since April 2020, Co­hen had served as En­tra­da’s VP, head of IP and le­gal af­fairs. Pri­or to that, he served as VP of le­gal af­fairs at Reper­toire Im­mune Med­i­cines.

Rahul Khara

Rahul Khara has tak­en on the role of gen­er­al coun­sel at Disc Med­i­cine, which plucked bitop­er­tin out of moth­balls from Roche and re­cent­ly raked in a $90 mil­lion Se­ries B. Be­fore Mer­ck backed up the Brinks truck, Khara spent three years at Ac­celeron as VP, le­gal and chief com­pli­ance of­fi­cer. In an­oth­er Ac­celeron con­nec­tion, its for­mer R&D chief and one-time Cel­gene CMO Jay Back­strom has joined Disc Med­i­cine’s board of di­rec­tors.

Mi­ra Chau­rushiya

West­lake Vil­lage BioPart­ners is wel­com­ing Mi­ra Chau­rushiya to the fray as a se­nior part­ner. Chau­rushiya hops aboard af­ter a six-year stint at 5AM Ven­tures. Dur­ing her time at 5AM, Chau­rushiya in­vest­ed in and served as di­rec­tor or ob­serv­er on the boards of mul­ti­ple or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing Pre­ci­sion Nanosys­tems (ac­quired by Dana­her), Ideaya Bio­sciences, En­liv­en Ther­a­peu­tics, Escient Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Mag­net­ic In­sight, Novome Biotech­nolo­gies, Puri­gen Biosys­tems, and TM­RW.

Leg­end’s CEO Ying Huang is now tak­ing a seat on its board of di­rec­tors as a Class I di­rec­tor. Huang has served in the po­si­tion of CEO since Sep­tem­ber 2020 af­ter his pre­de­ces­sor Frank Zhang was placed un­der house ar­rest as part of a cus­toms in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­volv­ing Gen­Script. Pri­or to his role at the helm of the com­pa­ny, Huang start­ed as Leg­end’s CFO af­ter stints at Bo­fA Se­cu­ri­ties, Wells Far­go, Cred­it Su­isse and Scher­ing-Plough.

Yuan Xu

→ Speak­ing of Leg­end, ex-CEO Yuan Xu is the lat­est ad­di­tion to the board of di­rec­tors at Xilio Ther­a­peu­tics — chaired by Dan Lynch — af­ter Sara Bon­stein and the afore­men­tioned Christi­na Rossi be­came board mem­bers last year. Xilio made the Nas­daq leap in Oc­to­ber 2021 with a near­ly $118 mil­lion IPO.

→ Led by first-year CEO and for­mer Ovid pres­i­dent and CMO Amit Rakhit, Hous­ton port­fo­lio com­pa­ny Sporos Bioven­tures has giv­en ex-Black Di­a­mond CMO Rachel Humphrey a seat on the board of di­rec­tors. Humphrey, who al­so is on the board at Xilio, is the CEO of an un­named “biotech start­up fo­cused on im­munother­a­pies.”

John Orloff

Lon­nie Moul­der’s US/Chi­na start­up Zenas Bio­Phar­ma has made John Orloff a mem­ber of the board of di­rec­tors. Orloff, the for­mer R&D chief at As­traZeneca sub Alex­ion, has changed course as a ven­ture part­ner for Agent Cap­i­tal.

→ Ex-Five Prime CFO David Smith has claimed an­oth­er board seat, this time with Son­ny Hsiao’s an­ti­body-cell con­ju­ga­tion out­fit Ace­po­dia, which has an­oth­er $109 mil­lion to work with from last month’s Se­ries C round. Smith is al­so a board mem­ber with Codex­is and Neurelis. Ace­po­dia has al­so sup­ple­ment­ed its sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board with Eliz­a­beth Smith and Richard Lopez.

John Shiv­er

Tak­ing its VLP “soc­cer ball” tech­nol­o­gy to Nas­daq with a nine-fig­ure IPO last sum­mer, Seat­tle’s Icosavax has made space avail­able for John Shiv­er on its board of di­rec­tors. Af­ter 22 years at Mer­ck and sev­en more at Sanofi, Shiv­er is IGM’s chief strat­e­gy of­fi­cer for in­fec­tious dis­eases.

Cri­net­ics, which spun out its ra­dio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal pipeline in­to a new com­pa­ny called Ra­dio­net­ics On­col­o­gy last fall, has named Rogério Vi­val­di to the board of di­rec­tors. Since Au­gust 2018, Vi­val­di has been pres­i­dent and CEO of Flag­ship’s Sig­ilon.

Lau­rence Reid, the CEO of Deci­bel Ther­a­peu­tics, is tak­ing a seat on the board of di­rec­tors of Cam­bridge, MA-based Garu­da Ther­a­peu­tics. Pri­or to tak­ing the helm of Deci­bel, Reid was an en­tre­pre­neur-in-res­i­dence at Third Rock Ven­tures and for­mer­ly CEO of Warp Dri­ve Bio. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, Reid served as CBO and SVP of Al­ny­lam.

Tunde Otu­lana

→ Down in New Or­leans, Revo­lo Bio­ther­a­peu­tics — once known as Im­mune Reg­u­la­tionhas ap­point­ed ex-Mallinck­rodt CMO Tunde Otu­lana to the board of di­rec­tors. Otu­lana, the cur­rent CMO at Velox­is Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, was SVP, clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment & med­ical af­fairs dur­ing his time at Boehringer In­gel­heim.

Se­bas­t­ian Guth has been ap­point­ed to the board of di­rec­tors at New York on­col­o­gy play­er Phos­platin Ther­a­peu­tics. Guth cur­rent­ly serves as pres­i­dent of Bay­er Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals Amer­i­c­as, and sits on the boards of the Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Re­search and Man­u­fac­tur­ers of Amer­i­ca, BIO and Chil­dren’s Aid.

Jen­nifer Lew

RA Cap­i­tal-backed Bound­less Bio, a San Diego can­cer biotech that raked in $105 mil­lion in a Se­ries B last April, has ap­point­ed Jen­nifer Lew to its board of di­rec­tors. Lew, who cur­rent­ly serves as EVP and CFO of An­nex­on Bio­sciences, will al­so act as chair­per­son of Bound­less Bio’s au­dit com­mit­tee.

→ At the same time as pay­ing $1,452,724 in amounts owed to Nu­mus Fi­nan­cial as part of a debt set­tle­ment, Sona Nan­otech has brought on Neil Fras­er and Wal­ter Strapps to its board of di­rec­tors. Fras­er is pres­i­dent of Medtron­ic Cana­da, while Strapps most re­cent­ly served as CSO of Gem­i­ni Ther­a­peu­tics and pre­vi­ous­ly led dis­cov­ery at In­tel­lia Ther­a­peu­tics.

John Var­i­an has been added to the board of di­rec­tors at Acor­da, which sang a fa­mil­iar tune by slic­ing what’s left of its work­force by 15% in Sep­tem­ber. Var­i­an, the ex-CEO of XO­MA, is a board mem­ber at Am­Max Bio and Sel­l­as Life Sci­ences.

Aniz Girach

→ Paris-based Pharnext has wel­comed Elis­a­beth Svan­berg as chair­man of its board of di­rec­tors, suc­ceed­ing Michel de Rosen who will con­tin­ue to serve the com­pa­ny as non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. Svan­berg brings with her ex­pe­ri­ence from her time at Serono, BMS and Janssen.

→ French hear­ing loss out­fit Sen­so­ri­on has tapped Aniz Girach on the shoul­der as suc­ces­sor to Jean-François Morin on its board of di­rec­tors. Girach cur­rent­ly serves as CMO of Pro­QR Ther­a­peu­tics and for­mer­ly served in the same role at Night­star Ther­a­peu­tics and Ox­u­ri­on.

→ Ideaya Bio­sciences, the com­pa­ny that picked up a $50 mil­lion IPO back in 2019 to fu­el the clin­i­cal dri­ve on syn­thet­ic lethal­i­ty, has picked up for­mer Onyx Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals founder and CSO Frank Mc­Cormick as chair for its sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board.

Derek Graf al­so con­tributed to this edi­tion.

Image courtesy of The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

Pro­tect­ing the glob­al phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­no­va­tion ecosys­tem – what’s at stake?

We are living in a new era of healthcare that is rapidly advancing progress impacting patient outcomes and experiences. We’ve seen a remarkable pace of transformational innovation, applied research, and advanced clinical development over the last decade.

Despite this tremendous progress, there is much more work to be done, and patients are counting on us – now more than ever – to continue that momentum. At the heart of our industry is a focus on developing and delivering medicines for some of the world’s most challenging diseases, including those that have few or no effective treatments today.

Eu­ro­pean Par­lia­ment calls mem­ber states to ac­tion on an­timi­cro­bial re­sis­tance

Members of the European Parliament have called on EU countries to develop national action plans against antimicrobial resistance (AMR), calling it a top-three priority health threat.

Parliament on Thursday announced recommendations for the fight against AMR, including national action plans that must be updated at least every two years, an EU-level database tracking AMR and antimicrobial use and increased partnership between the pharma industry, patient groups and academia.

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Roche plans to di­vest from lega­cy Genen­tech man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ty in Cal­i­for­nia

Roche is planning to make some changes to its subsidiary’s manufacturing network in California.

The Swiss pharma announced Wednesday that it plans to divest from Genentech’s manufacturing facility in Vacaville, CA, around 58 miles northeast of San Francisco. According to a statement from Roche, the move is part of a “broader strategy” to bring its manufacturing capabilities in line with its future pipeline. Roche is starting the process of finding a buyer for the site but has not named any candidates yet.

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Roger Perlmutter, Eikon Therapeutics CEO

Roger Perl­mut­ter builds Eikon's pipeline with deal-mak­ing flur­ry, rais­ing $106M more

Eikon Therapeutics announced three business development deals on Thursday, effectively dropping in a pipeline of cancer drugs alongside more than $100 million in fresh funding.

The Hayward, CA-based company has become one of biotech’s richest startups since its 2019 founding, having raised nearly $775 million. It’s developing a massive, automated research approach built around Nobel Prize-winning microscope science to peer inside cells and watch proteins in action. After its Series B last year, PitchBook reported a $3.02 billion valuation. And while CEO Roger Perlmutter declined to comment on that figure, he said its first tranche of nearly $106 million in Series C funding is a “meaningful step-up to our Series B valuation.”

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Peter van de Sande, Synaffix CEO

Lon­za shells out $107M cash to snap up Synaf­fix and its ADC plat­form

After lining up a string of partnerships over the years, Dutch antibody-drug conjugate specialist Synaffix has found a new home: Lonza, the contract development and manufacturing giant.

Lonza is paying about $107 million (€100 million) in cash to acquire Synaffix, with up to $64 million (€60 million) in “additional performance-based consideration” on the table. Synaffix’s ADC tech platform will now become part of Lonza’s offering for biopharma clients, lending its bioconjugate technologies to not just ADCs but also targeted gene therapy, immune cell engagers and other applications.

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Who's con­fi­dent­ly in­vest­ing in biotech star­tups dur­ing these tense days? We've got some an­swers

We’ve got a changeup to our event schedule in Boston next week, where we’ll be doing a mix of live/streaming events at our base at The Seaport Hotel as part of a two-day lineup of webinars, virtual firesides and a cocktail hour Q&A with a veteran of the biotech financing scene.

The 9:30-10:30 am ET live slot on Tuesday, June 6, will now feature a panel conversation on the current state of affairs for VC investing in biotech, focusing on what startups are getting cash — and how. Alaa Halawa, head of US ventures at Mubadala, is confirmed, along with Brian Goodman at MPM and Geoff von Maltzahn, a general partner at Moderna-buoyed Flagship. I have a couple of other invites out and will let you know how that plays out.

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The Modulo Bio team with CEO Michael Horowitz (fourth from right in semicircle)

Ex­clu­sive: With $8M, neu­ro start­up Mod­u­lo Bio emerges to test small mol­e­cules for ALS, de­men­tia in CEO’s per­son­al mis­sion

Embarking on a personal mission after his best friend’s mother was diagnosed with a mutation-driven case of frontotemporal dementia, Michael Horowitz has pulled together $8 million in venture funding at Modulo Bio to create small molecules for neurodegenerative diseases.

The San Diego and Bay Area biotech will select its lead development candidate and some backup options within six months and then raise a Series A to investigate therapeutics for C9orf72 mutation-driven cases of ALS and frontotemporal dementia, Horowitz told Endpoints News.

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Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEO (Michel Euler/AP Images, Pool)

FDA ap­proves Pfiz­er’s RSV shot for old­er adults, tee­ing up a com­pet­i­tive $17B vac­cine mar­ket

The FDA approved Pfizer’s RSV vaccine called Abrysvo for older adults on Wednesday, placing another Big Pharma onto the commercial stage ahead of the next RSV season.

Pfizer’s approval comes weeks after GSK won approval for its rival shot, Arexvy. Those two vaccines are both approved for use in adults 60 years and older and will be reviewed by a CDC panel in June before they’re expected to commercially launch this fall. Wall Street analysts see RSV as the next multibillion-dollar vaccine market, with Jefferies analysts recently forecasting the RSV market will grow to $17 billion over the next decade.

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Richard Pazdur, FDA's OCE director (Flatiron Health via YouTube)

FDA's can­cer chief weighs in on com­mon chemo short­ages — re­port

Richard Pazdur, director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence, attributes the current shortage of two cancer drugs to drug companies that haven’t invested in building out their production capacity.

In an interview with The Cancer Letter, a weekly cancer publication, Pazdur said that the current shortages of cisplatin and carboplatin, a pair of drugs used to treat a wide range of cancer patients, are the result of two problems: manufacturers not investing in enhancing production capacity, and drug companies being dependent on one supplier of raw ingredients. The cisplatin shortage followed an inspection that revealed quality issues at a manufacturing facility, which then led to the shutdown of production. This led to a surge in carboplatin demand, creating a secondary shortage.

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