Karyopharm taps long­time Pfiz­er, Am­gen vet to steer the ship; With Mer­ck in the rearview mir­ror, Roger Perl­mut­ter stakes his claim to a CEO job — and it's a sur­pris­ing choice

Richard Paul­son

Like many who work in bio­phar­ma, Richard Paul­son got start­ed in the field be­cause of a love of sci­ence.

Paul­son had just fin­ished busi­ness school and was look­ing to start a ca­reer that mar­ried his two pas­sions. While look­ing for jobs, he thought of his grand­moth­er who had strug­gled with Alzheimer’s dis­ease, re­call­ing how he saw first-hand what in­no­v­a­tive med­i­cines can do for pa­tients. Ul­ti­mate­ly, he start­ed his first job in the space as a sales rep at Glaxo Well­come, one of Glax­o­SmithK­line’s pre­de­ces­sors be­fore its merg­er with SmithK­line Beecham in 2000.

“Quite frankly that’s still what I’m most pas­sion­ate about,” Paul­son told End­points News.

The in­dus­try vet now moves on to his next lead­er­ship post, step­ping up as the new CEO of Karyopharm Ther­a­peu­tics. It’s the lat­est stop in a 30-plus year bio­phar­ma ca­reer for Paul­son, who had pre­vi­ous­ly spent rough­ly 10 years at Glaxo, nine years at Pfiz­er and 10 years at Am­gen. His most re­cent po­si­tion was CEO of Ipsen Bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

Paul­son’s ear­li­est years work­ing di­rect­ly with physi­cians and pa­tients helped shape the out­look for the rest of his ca­reer, he said. The hands-on in­ter­ac­tions see­ing ex­act­ly what was at stake for pa­tients helped him un­der­stand how bio­phar­ma can make a pos­i­tive im­pact in peo­ple’s lives.

He spent much of his time at Pfiz­er and Am­gen out­side North Amer­i­ca, work­ing on ex­pand­ing ac­cess to med­i­cines in places like the Czech Re­pub­lic, South Africa and Ger­many. Run­ning these di­vi­sions, where he said he could fo­cus all his at­ten­tion on one spe­cif­ic area, helped him learn how to build a cul­ture among his em­ploy­ees.

In the mid-2010s, Paul­son at­tained even greater re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, first run­ning Am­gen’s US on­col­o­gy mar­ket­ing busi­ness and then the en­tire US on­col­o­gy unit. From there, he moved on to Ipsen in 2018 and joined the board of Karyopharm in Feb­ru­ary 2020. The biggest thing he’s learned in mov­ing from large phar­ma com­pa­nies to more mid-size biotechs is ap­ply­ing that cul­ture, he said, and en­sur­ing every­one knows that the pa­tients come first.

“In­side the or­ga­ni­za­tions I’ve led and worked, every­body in the or­ga­ni­za­tion needs to un­der­stand health­care pro­fes­sion­als’ per­spec­tive and the pa­tients’ per­spec­tive, and the chal­lenges,” Paul­son said. “I think if we un­der­stand those well, and we’re fo­cused on un­der­stand­ing them, it helps us en­able the kind of sup­port that we want to en­able.”

At Karyopharm, Paul­son will head up a busi­ness that’s look­ing to con­tin­ue ex­pand­ing its foot­print be­yond mul­ti­ple myelo­ma. In De­cem­ber, the biotech re­ceived FDA ap­proval to move its Xpovio drug in­to the sec­ond-line set­ting for the dis­ease, and Paul­son said the com­pa­ny will look to build out its port­fo­lio in­to sol­id tu­mors with da­ta from an en­dome­tri­al can­cer pro­gram ex­pect­ed by the end of 2021. — Max Gel­man


Roger Perl­mut­ter

→ Did you re­al­ly think Roger Perl­mut­ter would go gen­tly in­to that good biotech night? Af­ter what was billed as his Mer­ck re­tire­ment, Perl­mut­ter has stayed ac­tive, tak­ing a board ap­point­ment with Daphne Koller’s bunch at in­sitro and be­com­ing a sci­ence part­ner at CBC Group. This week his chance to run a com­pa­ny ar­rived, tak­ing the helm at Hay­ward, CA drug dis­cov­ery biotech Eikon Ther­a­peu­tics from the cre­ative minds of co-founders Er­ic Bet­zig and Robert Ti­jan.

Perl­mut­ter, who came to Mer­ck in 2013, didn’t rest on his lau­rels on the way out the door, in­stead pur­chas­ing On­coIm­mune for $425 mil­lion (a deal that didn’t ex­act­ly bear fruit) and forg­ing a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Janux Ther­a­peu­tics be­fore he was suc­ceed­ed by Dean Li. Our Am­ber Tong has more here on what brought Perl­mut­ter to Eikon.

Kathy Reape

Kathy Reape was one of the ex­ecs that bolt­ed from Spark in the wake of Roche‘s $4.3 bil­lion takeover. She’s back in the game now help­ing out CEO Man­ny Si­mons as the chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer for Ak­ou­os, the gene ther­a­py biotech in Boston fo­cused on hear­ing loss. At first, Reape was Spark’s head of clin­i­cal R&D, and she led clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment of Lux­tur­na as CMO. Ak­ou­os was part of the 2020 IPO bo­nan­za, ul­ti­mate­ly rais­ing more than $200 mil­lion.

Joseph McIn­tosh

Sean Nolan’s shiny new biotech Jaguar Gene Ther­a­py roared on­to the scene with a Se­ries B round top­ping out at $139 mil­lion mere weeks ago. With eyes set on can­di­dates for galac­tosemia, a sub­set of autism spec­trum dis­or­der, type 1 di­a­betes and (to­geth­er with sub­sidiary Ax­ovia) a sub­set of Bardet-Biedl syn­drome, Jaguar has brought on Joseph McIn­tosh as CMO, al­most ex­act­ly a year af­ter he took the same job at Aru­vant. McIn­tosh left for Aru­vant last spring af­ter five years at PTC Ther­a­peu­tics in which he rose to SVP, head of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. His first for­ays in­to biotech in­clud­ed roles at Ei­sai and Pfiz­er.

Nathan Mc­Cutcheon

Nathan Mc­Cutcheon had made the rounds at an ar­ray of biotechs — Eli Lil­ly, Al­ler­gan and Mallinck­rodt among them — be­fore he be­came Sh­iono­gi’s chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer in 2019. Now comes word that Mc­Cutcheon has been pro­mot­ed to COO of Sh­iono­gi’s US busi­ness, and Gi­a­n­ine Es­pos­i­to has been named to the Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee. Mc­Cutcheon jumped ship at Mallinck­rodt af­ter four years, spend­ing the back half of that time as SVP & gen­er­al man­ag­er, US au­toim­mune and rare dis­eases. Es­pos­i­to, a 10-year Sh­iono­gi vet with ex­pe­ri­ence from GSK and Fer­ring Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, changed her ti­tle from VP to SVP, hu­man re­sources in April 2020.

→ At the tail end of March, Lon­nie Moul­der un­veiled his lat­est start­up Zenas Bio­Phar­ma and in­stalled him­self as in­ter­im CEO. But he’s stepped aside in fa­vor of new pres­i­dent and CEO Hua Mu, who co-found­ed Hill­house-backed Over­land Phar­ma and was the biotech’s in­ter­im CEO and CMO. While with Sim­cere, Mu was CSO and pres­i­dent of R&D, then CMO, and then pres­i­dent of Sim­cere of Amer­i­ca af­ter that. Mu will al­so be Zenas’ act­ing CMO.

“As a cross bor­der com­pa­ny, it’s im­por­tant to us that we have the right mix of ex­ec­u­tives that have deep ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge in both West­ern mar­kets, specif­i­cal­ly the US, and al­so in Chi­na,” Moul­der told End­points.

Else­where at Zenas, Moul­der has re­unit­ed with old Tesaro chum Joe Farmer, who’s signed on as chief busi­ness and ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer. Farmer, who was SVP, gen­er­al coun­sel and sec­re­tary for four years at Tesaro, had been Xilio’s COO since May 2019.

Tim Clack­son

→ Rais­ing the cur­tain with a $100 mil­lion Se­ries B just a few weeks ago, Or­biMed-backed on­col­o­gy biotech The­seus Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has tapped Tim Clack­son as CEO as the Xilio ex­o­dus con­tin­ues, while co-founder and in­ter­im CEO Iain Dukes slides in­to the ex­ec­u­tive chair­man post. Clack­son — the pres­i­dent and chief tech­nol­o­gy of­fi­cer for Rene Rus­so at Xilio the past three years — has spent the bulk of his ca­reer at Ari­ad Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals from 1994-2017, ful­fill­ing the pres­i­dent of R&D and CSO du­ties un­til Take­da bought the com­pa­ny.

Asit Parikh’s Third Rock-backed mol­e­c­u­lar ma­chine start­up MO­MA Ther­a­peu­tics has locked in Pe­ter Ham­mer­man as CSO. Ham­mer­man hails from the No­var­tis In­sti­tutes for Bio­med­ical Re­search, spend­ing close to five years as glob­al head of on­col­o­gy trans­la­tion­al re­search. It’s an­oth­er high-pro­file ex­it from NI­BR short­ly af­ter Jeff En­gel­man left his glob­al head of on­col­o­gy post to start Tree­line Bio­sciences with Loxo founder Josh Bilenker.

→ It’s full steam ahead at Ne­oleukin Ther­a­peu­tics af­ter the FDA gave the green light to start a Phase I tri­al for IL-2/IL-15 ag­o­nist NL-201, and the Seat­tle biotech has Pri­ti Pa­tel in place as CMO to fa­cil­i­tate the ef­fort. Pa­tel hails from As­traZeneca, where she was the Big Phar­ma’s VP, head of hema­tol­ogy clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, and she was se­nior di­rec­tor and head of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at As­traZeneca sub­sidiary Ac­er­ta Phar­ma. Pri­or to these re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, Pa­tel was med­ical di­rec­tor at Onyx Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

Fran­cis­co Sal­va

→ In keep­ing with the Ac­er­ta Phar­ma theme, one of its co-founders Fran­cis­co Sal­va is tak­ing on an­oth­er CEO gig at Pe­ter Thiel-backed Bay­er part­ner Az­i­tra, which fo­cus­es on skin mi­cro­bio­me. Be­sides Ac­er­ta, where he was VP of op­er­a­tions to boot, Sal­va was pre­vi­ous­ly in com­mand as pres­i­dent and CEO of Com­plexa since May 2018. He’s al­so worked for Bob Dug­gan as se­nior di­rec­tor of cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment at Phar­ma­cyclics from 2008-10.

Joe Jimenez

→ Six months ago, Joe Jimenez launched in­vest­ment firm Adi­tum Bio with part­ner Mark Fish­man, and so far, the port­fo­lio in­cludes Teres Bio, Tem­pero Bio and the lat­est spin­out, An­teris Bio. The next move for the ex-No­var­tis chief is join­ing Cen­tu­ry Ther­a­peu­tics as chair­man of the board, sign­ing on a cou­ple months af­ter Philadel­phia-based Cen­tu­ry hauled in $160 mil­lion in a Se­ries C for its iP­SC plat­form. Along with Jimenez, Cen­tu­ry has al­so re­served a board seat for Cyn­thia Bu­tit­ta, the ex-Kite COO and CFO who’s on the boards of Ole­ma On­col­o­gy, Au­to­lus and Uro­Gen.

→ Chalk up an­oth­er gig for Mace Rothen­berg as he joins Sur­rozen’s board of di­rec­tors. Since ced­ing the CMO throne at Pfiz­er to kick off the year with Ai­da Habtezion as his re­place­ment, Rothen­berg has tak­en oth­er board ap­point­ments at Tan­go Ther­a­peu­tics and Au­los Bio­science. Al­so along for the ride on the Sur­rozen board is SR One ven­ture part­ner Christo­pher Chai, the erst­while CFO of Prin­cip­ia Bio­phar­ma.

Chris­tine Sil­ver­stein

→ Our Ja­son Mast pro­filed Ex­ci­sion Bio­Ther­a­peu­tics co-founder Kamel Khalili when the CRISPR biotech’s $60 mil­lion in fund­ing was an­nounced in Feb­ru­ary. Since then, William Kennedy was ap­point­ed SVP, clin­i­cal, and now Chris­tine Sil­ver­stein is on board as CFO. This isn’t Sil­ver­stein’s first go-around as a CFO, hav­ing held the po­si­tion at Abeona and, more re­cent­ly, Emen­do Bio­ther­a­peu­tics. Go­ing fur­ther back, she was head of in­vestor re­la­tions at Rel­ma­da Ther­a­peu­tics be­fore her time at Abeona.

Paul Au­d­hya

→ While KalVista is left to sort things out with its Phase II hered­i­tary an­gioede­ma tri­al on clin­i­cal hold, An­drew Crock­ett’s biotech has ap­point­ed Paul Au­d­hya as CMO. A Big Phar­ma vet in drug de­vel­op­ment with Am­gen, Bris­tol My­ers Squibb and Janssen, Au­d­hya comes to KalVista from Are­na Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, com­plet­ing his run as SVP, glob­al med­ical af­fairs. His last CMO gig was at Rea­ta Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and he al­so spent two years at Ver­tex as VP, glob­al strat­e­gy and phase 4, glob­al med­ical af­fairs.

→ Mu­nich-based CatalYm has brought on Phil L’Huil­li­er to steer the com­pa­ny as CEO. L’Huil­li­er comes from Mer­ck, where he served as head of the Eu­ro­pean in­no­va­tion hub & busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. Pri­or to Mer­ck, L’Huil­li­er was run­ning a gig at Can­cer Re­search Tech­nol­o­gy (CRT) as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor and board mem­ber and led glob­al li­cens­ing and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment at Bio­Fo­cus Dis­cov­ery. In ad­di­tion to these roles, L’Huil­li­er’s past stints in­clude roles as non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for Achilles Ther­a­peu­tics, Ar­tios Phar­ma, BliNK Ther­a­peu­tics, PsiOxus Ther­a­peu­tics, Re­vi­tope and Senec­tus Ther­a­peu­tics.

Michael Swartzburg

→ With tap­inarof mak­ing a mad dash to the FDA af­ter sparkling Phase III da­ta that were un­veiled a cou­ple weeks ago, Der­ma­vant has ush­ered in Michael Swartzburg as CFO. He piv­ots to the der­ma­tol­ogy mem­ber of the Vant fam­i­ly af­ter three years at Io­vance, where he was VP of fi­nance and prin­ci­pal fi­nan­cial and ac­count­ing of­fi­cer. Swartzburg’s fi­nan­cial knowl­edge has tak­en him to Al­ler­gan, Ad­verum and Phar­mozyme, among oth­ers.

First it was CEO Bri­an O’Callaghan. Then it was CFO David Re­nas. This week at Ob­sE­va, it’s Clive Bertram that gets the spot­light as chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer, as the C-suite wheels have kept on turn­ing the last six months. Be­fore he left for the Swiss biotech that’s try­ing to el­bow its way to the front of the line in uter­ine fi­broids with Ab­b­Vie and My­ovant, Bertram was CCO and head of cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment at Pe­tra Phar­ma.

Eliz­a­beth Rad­cliffe

→ With $226 mil­lion worth of Se­ries C fund­ing to back up their shot at chal­leng­ing Pfiz­er as a Pre­vnar 13 ri­val, Affini­vax has hand­ed the CFO reins to Eliz­a­beth Rad­cliffe. Af­ter 10 years at Bio­gen, Rad­cliffe moved on to Agios from 2017-19 as a fi­nan­cial plan­ning ex­ec. Since then, she’s been part of Michael Gilman’s squad as Ar­rakis’ VP, fi­nance and strat­e­gy and trea­sur­er. Rad­cliffe’s ar­rival at Affini­vax fol­lows that of CBO Stu­art Chaf­fee a cou­ple weeks ago.

Mar­tin Auster has joined Encini­tas, CA-based im­mune mod­u­la­tion play­er Ven­tyx Bio­sciences, which cut loose from stealth mode to the tune of $114 mil­lion in March, as CFO. Wrap­ping up his time as Cred­it Su­isse’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, biotech­nol­o­gy an­a­lyst, Auster is the ex-CBO at As­cendis Phar­ma and was VP, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and strate­gic fi­nance at Unit­ed Ther­a­peu­tics.

Robert Scan­nevin

→ Drug dis­cov­ery com­pa­ny Verge Ge­nomics is bring­ing Robert Scan­nevin in­to the fold with his ap­point­ment as CSO. Scan­nevin joins from Yu­man­i­ty Ther­a­peu­tics, where he served as head of re­search — over­see­ing bi­ol­o­gy and chem­istry re­search fo­cused on new tar­get dis­cov­ery and ther­a­peu­tic de­vel­op­ment for neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases. Pri­or to Yu­man­i­ty, Scan­nevin had gigs at Bio­gen, J&J (now Janssen) and Wyeth (now Pfiz­er).

Sid­dhartha Mukher­jeefound­ed Myeloid Ther­a­peu­tics has locked in Bruce Mc­Creedy as CSO. Mc­Creedy comes from Pre­ci­sion Bio­sciences, where he served as SVP, cell ther­a­py and im­muno-on­col­o­gy re­search. Pri­or to that, Mc­Creedy was with Tri­an­gle Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals (now Gilead).

Kim Noo­nan

De­vel­op­ing the mar­row-in­fil­trat­ing lym­pho­cytes that are de­pict­ed in its name, can­cer-fo­cused Wind­MIL Ther­a­peu­tics has in­stalled co-founder Kim Noo­nan as chief sci­ence & tech­nol­o­gy of­fi­cer. Noo­nan dis­cov­ered MILs in 2004 with Ivan Bor­rel­lo be­fore the Johns Hop­kins spin­out made its de­but in 2016. Wind­MIL is cur­rent­ly in a Phase II tri­al to study MILs for pa­tients with non-small cell lung can­cer.

→ Big Phar­ma alum Andy Or­th has signed on to be­come chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer at Pitts­burgh-based rare dis­ease out­fit Krys­tal Biotech af­ter five years at Al­ny­lam. Fi­nance stints at Am­gen and Gen­zyme were step­ping stones to oth­er op­por­tu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing six years at Bio­gen that saw him get pro­mot­ed to VP, glob­al com­mer­cial strat­e­gy. Or­th ar­rived at Al­ny­lam in 2016 as VP, com­mer­cial prac­tice and left as SVP, head of US Re­gion.

Trak­Cel has pulled in Ar­turo Araya as CCO. Araya hails from Brain­storm Cell Ther­a­peu­tics, where he served as EVP and CCO. Pri­or to that, he was with No­var­tis’ cell and gene ther­a­pies unit, serv­ing as VP and head of glob­al com­mer­cial, as well as lead­ing the on­col­o­gy unit for No­var­tis in 7 coun­tries. In ad­di­tion to his time at No­var­tis, Araya had a gig at Bris­tol My­ers.

→ Ital­ian gene ther­a­py biotech Gene­spire has ap­point­ed Ju­lianne Smith as chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer and Smarag­da An­geli­dou as head of CMC. Smith de­vot­ed more than 18 years to Cel­lec­tis in a string of roles, the last two of those years as VP, trans­la­tion­al sci­ences. An­geli­dou, who was with GSK from 2009-19, makes the switch to Gene­spire af­ter her time at Au­to­lus as se­nior di­rec­tor of tech trans­fer and prod­uct de­liv­ery.

Richard Slan­sky

→ While we’re on a roll in Italy, Tem­fer­on mak­er Genen­ta Sci­ence out of Mi­lan has re­cruit­ed Richard Slan­sky as CFO. Slan­sky heads to the gene ther­a­py de­vel­op­er af­ter re­cent CFO turns at Bio­log­i­cal Dy­nam­ics and, from 2015-18, On­coSec. And six months af­ter Stephen Squin­to took over as chair­man, Genen­ta has picked up an­oth­er mem­ber of the board of di­rec­tors with Celldex pres­i­dent and CEO An­tho­ny Maruc­ci jump­ing in.

→ Af­ter nam­ing co-founder William Sand­born CMO last week, San Diego-based nat­ur­al killer and macrophage-cell ther­a­py biotech Shore­line Bio­sciences has se­lect­ed Vanes­sa Ja­co­by as CFO. Ja­co­by spent more than three and a half years as chief ac­count­ing of­fi­cer for Avid­i­ty Bio­sciences, mak­ing an im­pact dur­ing Avid­i­ty’s IPO last sum­mer that was worth near­ly $300 mil­lion.

Ann Cun­ning­ham

Ann Cun­ning­ham has emerged from Vista­Gen’s board of di­rec­tors to take over as chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer af­ter the biotech named Joanne Cur­ley to the board last week. Cun­ning­ham, who joined the Vista­Gen board in 2019, is an Eli Lil­ly mar­ket­ing alum and led the glob­al strat­e­gy team for Rex­ul­ti at Ot­su­ka. Fur­ther­more, she’s been VP, neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease and psy­chi­a­try for Te­va Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

→ Al­ler­gan vet Scott Akamine will be chief le­gal of­fi­cer for Tony Coles at Cerev­el Ther­a­peu­tics, ef­fec­tive May 24. Akamine says farewell to AEON Bio­phar­ma af­ter near­ly two years as gen­er­al coun­sel and cor­po­rate sec­re­tary, and he was se­nior coun­sel and as­sis­tant sec­re­tary dur­ing his Al­ler­gan days from 2013-15.

Evan Kearns

→ Grad­u­al­ly shed­ding its Unum past, Co­gent Bio­sciences has seen some cor­re­spond­ing C-suite turnover with first-year CEO An­drew Rob­bins, chief tech­nol­o­gy of­fi­cer Brad Bar­nett and CSO John Robin­son. Add chief le­gal of­fi­cer Evan Kearns to the list. Kearns had served at Agenus since 2014, the last three of those years as VP, gen­er­al coun­sel, cor­po­rate sec­re­tary and chief com­pli­ance of­fi­cer.

Coda­genix has added yet an­oth­er fresh face to its team — af­ter pluck­ing up Lin­da Mal­don­a­do as VP, bi­o­log­ics chem­istry and man­u­fac­tur­ing con­trols last month — with the ap­point­ment of Jo­han­na Kauf­mann as EVP, on­col­o­gy. Kauf­mann hails from GSK, where she served as sci­en­tif­ic di­rec­tor, im­muno-on­col­o­gy. Be­fore that, she was se­nior sci­en­tist, in­no­va­tion and au­toma­tion/vac­cine de­vel­op­ment at Geno­cea Bio­sciences.

John Crow­ley has added Sébastien Mar­tel to the staff at Am­i­cus, where he’s hit­ting the ground run­ning as SVP of strat­e­gy and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. Mar­tel just capped off a 12-year run at Sanofi as SVP, glob­al head of rare dis­eases; he’s al­so been in­volved with in­vestor re­la­tions at Serono (known now as Mer­ck KGaA) and mar­ket­ing at No­vo Nordisk.

Jef­frey Brown

Bren­dan Frey’s AI up­start Deep Ge­nomics — which has iden­ti­fied an an­ti­sense oligonu­cleotide ex­on-skip­ping can­di­date that tar­gets Wil­son dis­ease — has re­cruit­ed Jef­frey Brown as VP of pre­clin­i­cal re­search. Brown makes the tran­si­tion to Toron­to-based Deep Ge­nomics from Voy­ager Ther­a­peu­tics af­ter two years as se­nior di­rec­tor of neu­ro­science. A Pfiz­er and Bris­tol My­ers alum, he’s al­so been Wave Life Sci­ences’ di­rec­tor of CNS bi­ol­o­gy.

Juli­et Williams has been named SVP, head of bi­ol­o­gy at Nel­lo Main­olfi’s pro­tein degra­da­tion shop Kymera, which had a mem­o­rable 2020 with a $102 mil­lion raise and a meaty IPO. At the No­var­tis In­sti­tutes for Bio­med­ical Re­search, Williams was ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of on­col­o­gy small mol­e­cule drug dis­cov­ery, and she’s been head of on­col­o­gy phar­ma­col­o­gy with No­var­tis and Sanofi.

Antares Phar­ma, which has the testos­terone in­jec­tion Xyost­ed in its sta­ble of prod­ucts, has made Joseph Ren­da SVP of com­mer­cial. Af­ter sales po­si­tions at No­vo Nordisk and Pfiz­er, Ren­da has spent the pre­vi­ous three years as Mallinck­rodt’s VP US sales, au­toim­mune and rare dis­ease.

John Lord

→ An­tivi­ral drug de­vel­op­er Maxwell Bio­sciences has bagged John Lord as VP, re­search & de­vel­op­ment. Lord comes aboard with ex­pe­ri­ence from his time at Savara, where he served as head of re­search and de­vel­op­ment and head of the Hør­sholm, Den­mark-based site. In ad­di­tion, Lord brings to the ta­ble his in­volve­ment at Nek­tar Ther­a­peu­tics and Rhône-Poulenc Ror­er.

→ New York biotech Anavex has a for­mer FDA hand join­ing as SVP for non­clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. Ade­bayo Laniy­onu most re­cent­ly served as su­per­vi­so­ry phar­ma­col­o­gist/tox­i­col­o­gist at the FDA CDER.

Bri­an Oh

HEL Group, de­vel­op­er and man­u­fac­tur­er of lab tools, has pulled in Oh Chee Keat (Bri­an Oh) as re­gion­al sales di­rec­tor for Asia-Pa­cif­ic. Oh most re­cent­ly served as re­gion­al sales man­ag­er for Fed­er­gari Asia Lab­o­ra­to­ry Di­vi­sion. In ad­di­tion, he’s had stints at Quan­tachrome In­stru­ments and ITS Sci­ence & Med­ical.

En­gi­tix has added a new face to its team with the ap­point­ment of Mike Bur­bridge as VP, on­col­o­gy & im­muno-on­col­o­gy. Bur­bridge hails from the Servi­er Cen­tre for Ther­a­peu­tic In­no­va­tion in On­col­o­gy, most re­cent­ly serv­ing as pro­gram di­rec­tor, ex­ter­nal in­no­va­tion. Pri­or to that role, he was di­rec­tor of on­col­o­gy trans­la­tion­al and clin­i­cal re­search and clin­i­cal project man­ag­er.

→ San Diego-based Tra­con Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has wel­comed Dongliang Zhuang as VP of sta­tis­tics and bio­met­rics. Zhuang hops aboard fol­low­ing stints at the FDA and Amylin‚ where he was the project sta­tis­ti­cian for the de­vel­op­ment of the com­pa­ny’s lead­ing di­a­bet­ic prod­uct By­dure­on.

Kyle Wa­then

→ Clin­i­cal tri­al soft­ware and an­a­lyt­ics provider Cy­tel has named Kyle Wa­then as VP of sci­en­tif­ic strat­e­gy and in­no­va­tion. Wa­then for­mer­ly served at Gilead, where he was lead­ing the com­pa­ny’s ad­vanced an­a­lyt­ics group.

Syg­na­ture Dis­cov­ery has tapped David Lustig as VP busi­ness de­vel­op­ment – Unit­ed States. Lustig comes at a time when the com­pa­ny is ex­pand­ing its op­er­a­tions in the US. Lustig brings to the ta­ble his ex­pe­ri­ence from his time at Syn­tex, Roche, CV Ther­a­peu­tics, Op­tivia Biotech­nol­o­gy and Ap­tu­it.

→ Big fish Lu­ca Santarel­li is div­ing in­to the De­men­tia Dis­cov­ery Fund as its new chair for its sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board. Santarel­li, CEO of Vec­tivBio, brings a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence to the role. Pri­or to his cur­rent stint at Vec­tivBio, Santarel­li was co-founder and CEO of Ther­a­chon (ac­quired by Pfiz­er), ven­ture part­ner at Ver­sant Ven­tures and had a 12-year gig at Roche.

Julie O’Neill

→ Far from Achilles’ last stand: Rid­ing high with a $175.5 mil­lion IPO, Lon­don-based T cell ther­a­py play­er Achilles Ther­a­peu­tics has elect­ed Julie O’Neill to the board of di­rec­tors. O’Neill, once the EVP, glob­al op­er­a­tions at Alex­ion, has oth­er board roles at Icon, DBV Tech­nolo­gies and Hookipa Phar­ma. Else­where at Achilles, ex-Kite VP of op­er­a­tions Mark­win Velders is a new ad­di­tion to the sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board.

→ The stars have aligned at AMD-fo­cused Gem­i­ni Ther­a­peu­tics to make Georges Gemayel chair­man of the board. Gemayel, an ex-Gen­zyme EVP and for­mer Roche ex­ec, al­so chairs the boards of Ox­Thera and Or­p­hazyme (among oth­ers) and sits on the board at Su­per­nus. Just a few weeks ago, the Cam­bridge, MA biotech plugged Samuel Barone in­to the CMO slot.

Sheila Mikhail

→ CEO and co-founder of AskBio Sheila Mikhail is step­ping on­to the board of di­rec­tors of Verve Ther­a­peu­tics. Pri­or to her role at AskBio, Mikhail was at the helm of Bam­boo Ther­a­peu­tics as CEO and part of the man­age­ment team at Chatham Ther­a­peu­tics. Mikhail jump­start­ed her ca­reer at Ropes & Gray LLP, where she spent 15 years at.

Faze Med­i­cines — fo­cus­ing on bio­mol­e­c­u­lar con­den­sates — has re­cruit­ed Gen­er­a­tion Bio CMO Dou­glas Kerr to its board of di­rec­tors. Pri­or to Gen­er­a­tion Bio, Kerr was VP and glob­al de­vel­op­ment team lead for neu­rol­o­gy at Shire. Be­fore that, he was with Bio­gen in a va­ri­ety of ca­pac­i­ties. In ad­di­tion to his new seat at Faze, Kerr sits on the board of Triplet Ther­a­peu­tics.

Chris­tine Siu

Vi­vid­ion has been on a hir­ing spree, start­ing with CEO Jeff Hat­field and fill­ing oth­er po­si­tions from CFO to head of reg­u­la­to­ry. This week Chris­tine Siu jumps on the Vi­vid­ion band­wag­on as a mem­ber of the board of di­rec­tors. Siu is the COO-in-res­i­dence at Bridge­Bio and was em­ploy­ee no. 1 at Glob­al Blood Ther­a­peu­tics.

→ Af­ter all the Xilio talk ear­li­er, the Waltham, MA biotech does have an up­date to its board of di­rec­tors with Bio­gen and Sanofi Gen­zyme alum Christi­na Rossi grab­bing a seat. Since 2018, Rossi has been chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer for Blue­print Med­i­cines.

An­drew Guggen­hime

→ Co-found­ed by Jen­nifer Doud­na, CRISPR up­start Cari­bou Bio­sciences has made room for An­drew Guggen­hime on the board of di­rec­tors. Guggen­hime ap­peared in Peer Re­view back in May when he took the CFO job at SutroVax, and again in De­cem­ber when he was pro­mot­ed to pres­i­dent un­der the new com­pa­ny name Vax­cyte.

Eliz­a­beth Gram­mer has made her way to the board of di­rec­tors at Sagimet Bio­sciences, which fo­cus­es on se­lec­tive fat­ty acid syn­thase (FASN) in­hibitors and filed for a $75 mil­lion IPO. Gram­mer is in her ninth year at Arde­lyx, where she now serves as chief le­gal and ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer.

→ Putting its en­er­gy in­to Duchenne mus­cu­lar dy­s­tro­phy and oth­er neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­eases with re­cent Se­ries B fund­ing, En­tra­da Ther­a­peu­tics has wel­comed Bill & Melin­da Gates Med­ical Re­search In­sti­tute spe­cial ad­vi­sor Mary This­tle to the board of di­rec­tors. Back in No­vem­ber, This­tle took on a board seat at a place where board ap­point­ments have been kind of a big deal: Zio­pharm On­col­o­gy.

Un­pack­ing the Aduhelm de­ci­sion, Ver­tex's half full glass, a $525M J&J breakup, 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.

By now you have surely read about the FDA’s controversial approval of Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug and all its reverberations. But I’d still recommend checking out the meaty recap below to make sure you didn’t miss all the angles that the Endpoints team has covered. If you’d rather look ahead, look no further than our three-day virtual panels next week at BIO, where we will discuss what the new normal means for every part of the industry.

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What does a clear ma­jor­i­ty of the bio­phar­ma in­dus­try think of the FDA ap­proval of ad­u­canum­ab? 'Hor­ri­fy­ing' 'Dan­ger­ous' 'Con­fus­ing' 'Dis­as­ter'

Over the years, we’ve become used to seeing a consensus emerge early in our industry polls at Endpoints News. And when we took the pulse of drug hunters on the heels of a controversial FDA approval for aducanumab this week, it became immediately apparent that the vast majority of our readers — heavily concentrated among biopharma staffers and execs — were incensed by what they had just witnessed.

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Aaron Kesselheim (Scott Eisen/AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation)

Har­vard’s Aaron Kessel­heim re­signs from ex­pert pan­el in wake of ad­u­canum­ab OK, blast­ing FDA for ‘worst drug ap­proval de­ci­sion in re­cent U.S. his­to­ry'

A third member of the FDA’s Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee has resigned in the wake of Biogen’s controversial Aduhelm approval, slamming the agency as he left and further deepening the controversy surrounding the decision.

Harvard University professor Aaron Kesselheim quit in protest Thursday afternoon, calling the Aduhelm OK “probably the worst drug approval decision in recent U.S. history.” Kesselheim follows both Joel Perlmutter, a neurologist from Washington University in St. Louis, and David Knopman, a neurologist from the Mayo Clinic, out the door.

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David Knopman (Mayo Clinic via YouTube)

A sec­ond ad­comm mem­ber aban­dons his post in af­ter­math of con­tro­ver­sial ad­u­canum­ab de­ci­sion

As the fallout from the FDA’s approval of Alzheimer’s med aducanumab grows, a second member of the adcomm overseeing that drug’s review has walked away. But even with two experts now having resigned from that committee in protest, is there enough broad-level outrage to prevent another aducanumab from getting approved?

The FDA on Wednesday lost another member of its Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee as Mayo Clinic neurologist David Knopman hit the exit over the agency’s decision to approve Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm despite the committee’s near-unanimous vote against it.

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FDA au­tho­rizes about 10M J&J vac­cine dos­es, trash­es 60M more from trou­bled Emer­gent plant

The FDA on Friday released about 10 million doses of J&J’s vaccine for use, and disposed of another 60 million doses that were manufactured at the now-shuttered Emergent BioSolutions facility in Baltimore where cross-contamination occurred.

The agency said it’s not yet ready to allow the Emergent plant to be included in the J&J EUA, but that may occur soon. FDA came to the decision to authorize some of the doses after reviewing facility records and quality testing results.

In­ter­cept re­tools C-suite with a pair of new­com­ers; Charles Ryan moves past Alzheimer's flops with an­oth­er CEO chal­lenge

Jason Campagna and Sandip Kapadia were two execs who punched their tickets out of Intercept as things went pear-shaped, and the teetering NASH biotech has found their replacements as CMO Michelle Berrey and CFO Andrew Saik take over their positions. Berrey, the ex-president and CEO at Chimerix, was Pharmasset’s CMO from 2007-12. Just before her Pharmasset days, she had been with GlaxoSmithKline as VP, viral diseases, clinical pharmacology & discovery medicine. Berrey will also be Intercept’s president of R&D in addition to CMO. SVP Gail Cawkwell had been pinch-hitting after Campagna’s departure and subsequent move to Q32 Bio.

Janet Woodcock, acting FDA commissioner, at Thursday's Senate Appropriations hearing (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Sen­a­tors lam­bast new Alzheimer’s drug’s price but give Janet Wood­cock a free pass on the ap­proval de­ci­sion

Senate Finance Democrats took aim at Biogen’s pricey new Alzheimer’s drug on Thursday, but members on both sides of the aisle at a separate appropriations hearing didn’t question acting FDA commissioner Janet Woodcock on the approval.

“I was appalled that Biogen priced their Alzheimer’s drug approved by the FDA at $56,000 per year — I’m not going to debate whether this is effective or not, but it’s double the household median income for Michiganders over the age of 65,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) said at the finance hearing.

Reshma Kewalramani, Vertex CEO (BIO via YouTube)

UP­DAT­ED: Ver­tex strikes out on its lat­est big shot at a rare ge­net­ic dis­ease. But they're go­ing to keep on swing­ing

It’s been several months since Vertex culled one of its small molecules for alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD), taking a big hit after evidence of liver damage surfaced in a key Phase II trial. Now we learned that the company has whiffed on its second shot, and there’s nothing left in the clinic to treat the rare genetic disease — but that won’t stop it from trying.

Despite avoiding the safety issues that plagued the last candidate, Vertex $VRTX is taking the axe to VX-864 after Phase II results revealed the magnitude of the drug’s response is “unlikely to translate into substantial clinical benefit.” As a result of the news, the company’s stock fell 12.5% after hours.

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FDA plans new stud­ies on ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval dis­clo­sures in bio­phar­ma ads

When people read biopharma companies’ websites about new drugs approved via the FDA’s accelerated pathway, like Biogen’s new Alzheimer’s drug, do they understand that these drugs may only be reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit and still require confirmatory studies?

That’s what the FDA’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion wants to firm up as an agency analysis of direct-to-consumer websites for accelerated approval drugs previously found that only 21% of the disclosures used language directly from the label.

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