Inovio adds two to the leadership team; Adrian Woolfson is out at Sangamo
→ Entrenched in a legal battle with their manufacturer that’s evidently blocking them from making their Covid-19 vaccine candidate, Inovio is making some leadership changes. Gene Kim will be president of Inovio Asia, while Mammen (Anza) Mammen jumps aboard the biotech as SVP, clinical development, and is slated oversee development of Inovio’s DNA vaccine candidate INO-4800.
An ex-CFO at VGX Pharmaceuticals, Kim had previously been the CFO of AfreecaTV and video game developer WeMade Entertainment, both South Korean companies. And Mammen, who retired from the US Army with the rank of colonel, spent more than 6 years at Vical, becoming their SVP, clinical development, and prior to that role, was an infectious disease consultant and founding chief of the DoD’s pandemic warning team at Fort Detrick, MD.
→ Starting July 13, Fargo, ND-based plasmid DNA manufacturer Aldevron will change CEOs. Kevin Ballinger, who was “on the verge of being a lifer” at Boston Scientific, will take the helm. He’s replacing Michael Chambers, who was named executive chairman of the board at Aldevron, which was founded on the campus of North Dakota State University in 1998 by Chambers and John Ballantyne. Ballinger was EVP and global president of Boston Scientific’s largest division, interventional cardiology, for the past 9 years.
→ An R&D split is unfolding at Sangamo, where EVP of R&D Adrian Woolfson, who had only been with the California biotech since January 2019, has been shown the door. With a search underway for a new head of development, Biogen vet Jason Fontenot — who has been Sangamo’s SVP of cell therapy — steps up to the plate as interim head of research. Before joining Sangamo, Fontenot was CSO at Immusoft Corporation and, prior to that, founded Immune Automata Consulting. He spent 8 years at Biogen, where he was a group leader in immunology discovery.
→ Mental health and psychedelics biotech ATAI Life Sciences has launched IntroSpect Digital Therapeutics, naming David Keene president and CEO of the new platform. ”By using a variety of digital biomarkers, we stand to make treatments increasingly refined, effective, and — most importantly for mental healthcare — individualized,” Keene said in a statement. Keene founded Everystory, which was later renamed Dthera Sciences in 2016, and was their chief technology officer, leading development of what has been described as an AI-enabled device for Alzheimer’s dubbed DTHR-ALZ.
→ Neuraptive Therapeutics — focused on the treatment of peripheral nerve injuries — has brought on Robert Radie to take over the helm of the company as CEO and chairman of the board. Radie has experience running operations as CEO at Zyla Life Sciences, Transmolecular and Topaz Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Sanofi Pasteur). In addition, he’s held posts at Prestwick Pharmaceuticals, Morphotek and Vicuron Pharmaceuticals.
→ The Laboratory for Advanced Medicine has wooed Samuel Tong as CEO of the company’s Chinese operations. Tong hops aboard from NAMSA, where he served as VP and general manager of the Asia Pacific Region. Previously, he served in roles at QIAGEN, Abbott Vascular and GE Medical among others.
→ Effective July 30, Nicholas Green is succeeding Rick Hancock as president and CEO of California-based CDMO Avid Bioservices. Hancock had been interim president and CEO for the past year. Green jumps to Avid after 9 years as president and CEO of Therapure Biopharma, a company out of Mississauga, Ontario that also includes Therapure Manufacturing. He was also president and CEO of Rhodia Pharma Solutions and was briefly the president of the pharma division at Codexis.
→ Eli Lilly vet Allen Melemed has been named CMO of Chimerix, which six years ago found itself at the center of a hurricane of public anger over its initial refusal to provide their lead experimental drug to a dying child. Before his move to the Durham, NC-based biotech, Melemed was a Distinguished Medical Fellow and senior director of regulatory affairs oncology, North America at Lilly. Among the oncology medicines he worked on in his 20-plus years at the pharma giant is Verzenio, which just last week showed positive results in a Phase III trial for patients with high risk hormone receptor/HER2 negative breast cancer.
→ Another Eli Lilly vet, Thane Wettig, is headed to San Francisco biopharma FibroGen as their chief commercial officer. Prior to FibroGen, which just had its lead drug roxidustat for anemia accepted for review by the EMA, Wettig had been the chief commercial officer and metabolic franchise leader at Intarcia Therapeutics. Before then, Wettig was at Lilly for nearly 28 years, leaving as VP of global marketing, strategy and alliance management for Lilly Diabetes.
→ Respiratory infection-focused Meissa Vaccines has recruited Robert Jordan as their VP of R&D after a short tenure as Vir’s director of virology. Jordan also had a hand in the discovery and development of antiviral therapies, most notably remdesivir, when he was director of biology for Gilead. Before his time at Gilead, he was director of virology at Siga Technologies.
→ Josefin-Beate Holz has been named CMO at RNA epigenetics player Storm Therapeutics. Holz makes her way to the University of Cambridge spinout after being an independent clinical advisor since 2015. Her leadership experience includes tenures at Ablynx, GPC-Biotech, Gilead, Bristol Myers Squibb, OSI Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Astellas) and LEO Pharma.
→ Compass Pathways, the London mental health startup backed by Peter Thiel which grabbed $80 million in funding back in April, has welcomed Trevor Mill as chief development officer. Mill joins Compass after being SVP, head of global safety and regulatory sciences with Biogen. He was also Pfizer’s head of regulatory strategy, pharmatherapeutics, and spent 12 years overall at the pharma giant.
→ With its SER-109 program in Phase III development for recurrent C. diff, and trying to work its way back into the mix after 30% of its workforce was let go in early 2019, microbiome player Seres Therapeutics has named Terri Young EVP, chief commercial and strategy officer, effective June 29. Young is leaving Sage Therapeutics, where she was VP global commercial strategy. The GSK vet also spent time in leadership at Bristol Myers Squibb as VP and general Manager, cardiovascular.
→ Just a week after plugging in Will Kane as chief commercial officer, New Haven, CT pharma BioXcel Therapeutics has brought in Reina Benabou as SVP and chief development officer. Benabou, who joins BioXcel after being SVP & CMO at Cognivue, has a Big Pharma background that includes stints at Novartis (VP & worldwide medical head for the neuroscience franchise) and Pfizer (head of global medical product evaluation).
→ There are promotions galore at Coral Gables, FL-based Catalyst Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Firdapse to treat adults with Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. Jeffrey Del Carmen gets the bump to chief commercial officer after arriving at Catalyst in August 2018 as SVP of sales and marketing. Del Carmen had previously been VP of business development for Paragon Biosciences. Meanwhile, Pete Curry moves to VP of sales, and Maria Pandolfo has been promoted to VP of patient services.
→ After recently posting positive interim data for their Phase I trial, California-based biotech Adverum Biotechnologies has added a new face to the team with the appointment of Heikki Jouttijärvi as VP, manufacturing. Jouttijärvi hops aboard from Menlo Therapeutics, where he served as VP, technical operations. Previously, Jouttijärvi served in roles at Santen Pharmaceutical Company.
→ Sygnature Discovery, a Nottingham-based provider of drug discovery and preclinical services, has made a new addition to its leadership team with the appointment of Paul Overton as SVP of business development. Overton joins the company from Eurofins, where he served as head of European sales, marketing and key account management.
→ Cancer-focused Buffalo, NY biopharma Athenex has promoted Teresa Bair to general counsel and SVP, administration from her previous position of SVP, legal affairs and administration. Before making it to Athenex in 2015, Bair was a partner at Harris Beach.
→ Over at a different Catalyst, Charles Democko has moved to Catalyst Biosciences to become SVP, regulatory affairs. Democko had led CytomX’s regulatory affairs and quality, and before that, he was VP of regulatory affairs at an array of companies such as Ascendis, KaloBios, Novacea, PharmacoFore, and Connetics.
→ Nascent Biotech out of San Diego has assigned Navpaul Singh to the role of chief medical consultant for Covid-19 research, particularly as it pertains to their lead product, Pritumumab. “This opportunity with Nascent Biotech allows me to continue my medical work in viral infections that are with us today and possibly in the future,” Singh said in a statement.
→ Canadian CRO Altasciences — which previously inked a deal with fellow CRO WuXi last May — has enlisted Joseph Francisco as chief toxicologist. Francisco joins with experience from his time at Charles River Laboratories, Seattle Genetics and Bristol Myers Squibb.
→ Partnering with Roche’s Genentech on an immuno-oncology collaboration, Bicycle Therapeutics has appointed Sir Keith Peters chairman of their scientific advisory board. Peters, the emeritus regius professor of physic at the University of Cambridge, was also on the board of medical advisers to Merck Research Laboratories and senior consultant in R&D for GSK.
→ Natural killer immunotherapy player Cytovia Therapeutics has added Leila Alland and Jane Wasman to their board of directors. Alland, the current CMO at PMV Pharma, was previously the CEO at Affimed and has held positions at such Big Pharmas as AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb and Novartis. Wasman, the chair of the board at Sellas Life Sciences, also spent 15 years at Acorda Therapeutics.