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.

Ja­son Fontenot

→ 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.

Robert Radie

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.

Samuel Tong

→ 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.

Allen Melemed

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.

Robert Jor­dan

→ 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.

Ter­ri Young

→ 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.

Reina Ben­abou

→ 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.

Tere­sa Bair

→ 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.

Jane Was­man

→ 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.

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.

Roger Perl­mut­ter lines up deals, fresh fund­ing at Eikon; Sec­ond RSV vac­cine ap­proved; Sev­er­al biotechs flash­ing red; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

As you come back to our website this weekend for ASCO news, don’t forget to check out our updated event lineup at BIO, which will cover everything from the current state of VC investing in biotech to top pharma R&D chiefs discussing how to make pipeline decisions.

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On­corus lays off most of its re­main­ing team, warns of wind-down as it takes one last shot at deal­mak­ing

Despite cutting its headcount, pipeline and lease late last year, Oncorus is still struggling to stay afloat and is now on the brink of bankruptcy or dissolution, the company revealed late Thursday.

The Andover, MA-based biotech is letting “substantially all of Oncorus’ workforce” go, after the board of directors approved the layoffs. CEO Ted Ashburn, COO/chief of staff Stephen Harbin and CMO John Goldberg are among the 55 to depart.

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Grail’s blood test charts path for di­ag­nos­ing pa­tients sus­pect­ed of hav­ing can­cer in large study: #AS­CO23

Grail’s vision is simple but bold. The blood testing company has long held that people are often diagnosed with cancer too late. If seemingly healthy people were screened for early signs of the disease before symptoms appear, they may be able to get more effective treatments that nip cancer in the bud.

That premise is the basis of Grail’s commercial blood test, Galleri, which searches for the genetic fingerprints of cancer in the blood. The test, launched in 2021, reaped $55 million in sales last year, but now the company is setting its sights on a new market: patients suspected of having cancer due to symptoms such as abdominal pain, rectal bleeding or unexplained weight loss. Rather than administering expensive scans or conducting invasive biopsies right away, Grail hopes doctors will consider a simple blood test.

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GSK pro­motes rou­tine im­mu­niza­tions for adults amid post-pan­dem­ic vac­cine back­slide

GSK launched a new initiative on Thursday and committed up to $1 million in grant funding to improve adult routine vaccination rates.

While the pandemic spotlight was trained on the race for novel Covid-19 vaccines, other routine vaccination rates plummeted, raising concerns that missed doses may put children and even some adults at risk of preventable diseases such as measles or shingles. The World Health Organization last year reported the largest drop in childhood vaccinations in roughly three decades.

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Tammie Denyse speaks up about Black women and breast cancer inequity in Gilead's first TikTok campaign. (Gilead Sciences)

Gilead joins Tik­Tok with on­col­o­gy aware­ness cam­paign fea­tur­ing di­verse group of can­cer ad­vo­cates

Gilead Sciences is taking over the opening page on TikTok for the next two weeks. A Gilead-sponsored video, featuring cancer advocates talking about equity and other issues, will show up as the landing page, called the “For You” page, for millions of TikTok watchers.

The cancer awareness campaign will begin on Monday and run for two weeks, a Gilead spokesperson told Endpoints News. The TikTok ad debut is timed around the ASCO medical conference, but the work is aimed more broadly at healthcare professionals, as well as people touched by cancer and people interested in advancing Black and general health equity.

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Stephen MacMillan, Hologic CEO (Photo by Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit)

Il­lu­mi­na names Ho­log­ic CEO as new board mem­ber and chair

Illumina’s board appointed two new members, including Hologic CEO Stephen MacMillan as the non-executive chair, a move that followed a proxy fight that saw shareholders oust the company’s board chair.

The DNA sequencing company also appointed Scott Ullem, the CFO of Edwards Lifesciences, to the board, according to a company statement.

Illumina’s plans to add two new board members came as Carl Icahn waged a board proxy campaign culminating with shareholders electing his candidate, Andrew Teno, over board chair John Thompson. Illumina CEO Francis deSouza survived a threat to his board seat by securing more than twice the shareholder votes than his challenger. Another Illumina candidate, Robert Epstein, was also elected and remained on the board.

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Novartis headquarters in Basel, Switzerland (Kyle LaHucik for Endpoints News)

No­var­tis’ Kisqali pre­vents breast can­cer from com­ing back for longer — but can it best Eli Lil­ly’s Verzenio? #AS­CO23

CHICAGO — Novartis’ CDK4/6 inhibitor Kisqali helped early breast cancer patients stay cancer-free for longer after surgery, according to interim study results presented at ASCO.

In a Phase III study, Kisqali was added on top of endocrine therapy — the current standard treatment for early breast cancer patients. Kisqali reduced the risk of disease relapse by 25% compared with endocrine therapy alone in patients with Stage II or III HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer.

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Catal­ent makes ad­di­tion­al lay­offs at In­di­ana fa­cil­i­ty

Contract manufacturer Catalent is making more staff cuts at one of its locations in the US amid dramatic corrective actions it’s been taking over the past few months.

In an email to Endpoints News, a Catalent spokesperson confirmed the company is making “a number of personnel changes” at a manufacturing facility in Bloomington, IN. While a specific number was not given to Endpoints, several local media outlets, including Indiana Public Media and the Bloomington Herald-Times, have put the number of layoffs at 150. No postings have been made to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s WARN notice.

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