Maze in­ter­im chief Charles Hom­cy pass­es ba­ton to Ja­son Colo­ma; William Col­lier tapped as CEO of Ar­bu­tus

Ja­son Colo­ma Third Rock

→ Four months in­to Maze Ther­a­peu­tics’ launch, Charles Hom­cy is pass­ing the start­up’s reins to an­oth­er Third Rock col­league. Ja­son Colo­ma, the cur­rent COO, is leav­ing his role at the VC firm to be­come full-time CEO on a mis­sion to trans­late ge­net­ic in­sights in­to new med­i­cines. Equipped with a whop­ping $191 mil­lion with sup­port from Arch, Maze’s big idea is to find and tar­get ge­net­ic mod­i­fiers that play a role in Mendelian dis­eases caused by an­oth­er gene. Colo­ma, a Roche/Genen­tech vet sea­soned in busi­ness de­vel­op­ment, was CBO at Corvus Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals be­fore join­ing Third Rock in 2017.

Ar­bu­tus Bio­phar­ma has scooped William Col­lier from Vi­iV Health­care to suc­ceed Mark Mur­ray, who says it’s an op­por­tune time for him to re­tire con­sid­er­ing “the ef­fec­tive con­sol­i­da­tion of Ar­bu­tus’s op­er­a­tions and sci­en­tif­ic team in Warmin­ster, Penn­syl­va­nia, a pipeline fo­cused on a com­bi­na­tion ther­a­peu­tic reg­i­men to cure HBV, and a clear strate­gic busi­ness plan in place.” A Glax­o­SmithK­line vet, Col­lier spent the past nine years man­ag­ing Vi­iV’s North Amer­i­can op­er­a­tions, with launch­es for HIV, her­pes and bac­te­r­i­al in­fec­tions treat­ments un­der his belt.

Michael Stein Va­lo

Michael Stein has tran­si­tioned to the full-time CEO role at Va­lo Ther­a­peu­tics, which is look­ing to com­bine two ap­proach­es in can­cer im­munother­a­py: On­colyt­ic virus­es coat­ed with tu­mor-spe­cif­ic pep­tides. Stein has been serv­ing as Va­lo’s part-time co-chair­man since the biotech was spun out of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Helsin­ki in Jan­u­ary 2017. One of his most no­table achieve­ments was break­ing the UK record for a seed round as CEO of Ox­ford spin­out OxStem, a re­gen­er­a­tive med­i­cine com­pa­ny. His oth­er stints in­clude co-found­ing soft­ware start­up Map of Med­i­cine; it was lat­er sold to In­for­ma and then Hearst, where he land­ed an EVP role.

Robert For­rester Ve­rastem

Robert For­rester is step­ping down as CEO of Ve­rastem On­col­o­gy $VSTM just 8 months af­ter the com­pa­ny nabbed an ap­proval for du­velis­ib, a PI3K drug with a sto­ried past — and what ap­pears as not much of a fu­ture. The biotech put out word this morn­ing that For­rester will take an ad­vi­so­ry role with Ve­rastem while COO Dan Pa­ter­son steps up to take charge of the lead­er­ship team and the board looks around for a new CEO. The com­pa­ny says it will search for a new chief with sub­stan­tial com­mer­cial ex­pe­ri­ence.

→ As N8 Med­ical moves its an­ti-in­fec­tive drug/de­vice in­to the clin­ic, it’s tapped Biocodex vet Marc Rohman as CEO. Laud­ed for his track record in launch­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar med­i­cine and in­ter­ven­tion­al de­vices, Rohman is now tasked with plan­ning the com­mer­cial­iza­tion of N8’s plat­forms, which are de­signed to pre­vent com­pli­ca­tions caused by oth­er med­ical de­vices such as ven­ti­la­tors by de­liv­er­ing a class of syn­thet­ic mol­e­cules dubbed cer­a­genins.

Dar­lene Dep­tu­la-Hicks Linkedin

→ While mov­ing in­to an of­fice in Cam­bridge, Mass­a­chu­setts will grow their fi­nan­cial, clin­i­cal and reg­u­la­to­ry pres­ence in the US, the an­ti­body de­sign ex­perts at the UK’s F-star Ther­a­peu­tics have added Dar­lene Dep­tu­la-Hicks to their team. As CFO, Dep­tu­la-Hicks will lead a tran­si­tion in­to the clin­i­cal stage — the biotech re­cent­ly be­gan test­ing its lead bis­pe­cif­ic in can­cer pa­tients — and po­ten­tial­ly the pub­lic mar­ket, if chief Eliot Forster gets his way turn­ing the biotech in­to a heavy­weight play­er. Jump­ing from North­ern Bi­o­log­ics, she suc­ceeds Tol­ga Has­san, who will tran­si­tion to a COO po­si­tion.

→ In a sign of just how se­ri­ous it is about in­ter­nal drug de­vel­op­ment, Schrödinger has wooed ex­pe­ri­enced ex­ecs from Mer­ck and Ei­sai to its pre­clin­i­cal and trans­la­tion­al re­search team. Dun­can Hamish Wright is join­ing as VP of trans­la­tion­al sci­ence, while George Lai will lead trans­la­tion­al PK/PD and drug me­tab­o­lism with a se­nior di­rec­tor ti­tle. While the com­pa­ny has his­tor­i­cal­ly been known for the drug dis­cov­ery and de­sign ser­vices it pro­vides to bio­phar­ma clients — us­ing a physics-based mol­e­c­u­lar mod­el­ing plat­form — chief bio­med­ical sci­en­tist Karen Akin­sanya is now spear­head­ing an ef­fort to build a whol­ly-owned pipeline, be­gin­ning with on­col­o­gy.

Sharath Hegde Busi­ness Wire

Re­cur­sion wel­comed Ther­a­vance vet Sharath Hegde to its team as CSO. At Ther­a­vance, Hegde served as its SVP and head of re­search. Dur­ing his 15-year stint at Ther­a­vance, Hegde par­tic­i­pat­ed in the dis­cov­ery of sev­er­al NCEs — in­clud­ing Yu­pel­ri and Vi­ba­tiv. Hegde had a pre­vi­ous stint at Syn­tex.

Nov­aBay Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals — fo­cus­ing on com­mer­cial­iz­ing Aven­o­va for the do­mes­tic eye care mar­ket — has tapped Justin Hall as pres­i­dent and CEO and brought on Ja­son Raleigh as its CFO — both have served in in­ter­im po­si­tions since March 2019. Hall has been with the com­pa­ny for six years and Raleigh for more than three.

→ CMO Phar­is Mo­hideen is part­ing ways with Mil­len­do Ther­a­peu­tics  — de­vel­op­ing treat­ments for or­phan en­docrine dis­eases — to be clos­er to his fam­i­ly in New Jer­sey. A search for a new CMO is un­der­way and in the mean­time, SVP of de­vel­op­ment, Ryan Zei­dan, will help over­see the med­ical func­tion dur­ing the in­ter­im pe­ri­od as well as con­tin­u­ing with his own func­tions.

Teri Hei­land Im­mu­nom­ic

Teri Hei­land is mov­ing up the ranks at Im­mu­nom­ic Ther­a­peu­tics. She has been pro­mot­ed to the role of CSO at the com­pa­ny. Hei­land — a co-founder of the com­pa­ny — has ex­per­tise in DNA vac­cine de­sign. Pri­or to join­ing Im­mu­nom­ic, Hei­land was one of the founders at Mary­land-based bio­mark­er and drug dis­cov­ery com­pa­ny, Cap­i­tal Genomix, where she served as VP of re­search and de­vel­op­ment. She al­so served as a prin­ci­pal in­ves­ti­ga­tor on over $2M in grants from the De­part­ment of De­fense and NI­AID.

Abzena — spe­cial­iz­ing in ADC drug de­vel­op­ment ser­vices — has made two new ad­di­tions to its lead­er­ship team: An­drew Kraus as Chief Tech­nol­o­gy Of­fi­cer and Philip Payne as CMO.

Kraus “will im­ple­ment ad­vanced tech­nol­o­gy so­lu­tions to fur­ther en­hance da­ta in­tegri­ty con­trols, reg­u­la­to­ry com­pli­ance and ef­fec­tive elec­tron­ic da­ta shar­ing. He will al­so over­see a range of plat­forms to sup­port glob­al op­er­a­tions in­clud­ing Elec­tron­ic Lab­o­ra­to­ry Note­book and En­ter­prise Re­source Plan­ning sys­tems.” His pre­vi­ous stints in­clude serv­ing at Bio­Clin­i­ca, ICON Clin­i­cal Re­search and the Car­dio­vas­cu­lar Re­search Foun­da­tion. Payne “will lead glob­al busi­ness de­vel­op­ment with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on grow­ing the com­pa­ny’s busi­ness in the Eu­ro­pean and UK re­gions.” He joins the com­pa­ny from stints at Con­cept Life Sci­ences, Ap­tu­it and Catal­ent Phar­ma So­lu­tions.

Nkechi Azie Linkedin

SCYNEX­IS tapped Nkechi Azie as vice pres­i­dent of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. In his new role, Azie will lead clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties and strength­en med­ical af­fairs ef­forts in an­tic­i­pa­tion of ibrex­a­fungerp’s — an an­ti­fun­gal agent in Phase III clin­i­cal and pre­clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment for the treat­ment of in­va­sive fun­gal in­fec­tions caused by Can­di­da, As­pergillus and Pneu­mo­cys­tis species po­ten­tial ap­proval and com­mer­cial launch.

Pri­or to join­ing SCYNEX­IS, Azie served as SVP of med­ical af­fairs at The Med­i­cines Com­pa­ny. Her oth­er stints in­clude serv­ing as se­nior di­rec­tor of med­ical af­fairs at Astel­las Phar­ma — where she was re­spon­si­ble for the an­ti­fun­gal fran­chise in­clud­ing mi­ca­fun­gin and isavu­cona­zole — and di­rec­tor of an­ti-in­fec­tive clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment for Pfiz­er.

→ CRO George Clin­i­cal brought on Meel­ian Hoh on to its ex­ec­u­tive team as CFO. Hoh joins from Mi­tel, where she served as fi­nance di­rec­tor for the Asia-Pa­cif­ic re­gion. Some of her pre­vi­ous stints in­clude gen­er­al man­ag­er – fi­nance at Kin­care, CFO for Pe­lion Group, and oth­er se­nior-lev­el po­si­tions at Bell­wether Phar­ma, No­var­tis and Pfiz­er/Phar­ma­cia.

Jeff Albers, Blueprint CEO

Di­ag­nos­tic champ Roche buys its way in­to the RET ti­tle fight with Eli Lil­ly, pay­ing $775M in cash to Blue­print

When Roche spelled out its original $1 billion deal — $45 million of that upfront — with Blueprint to discover targeted therapies against immunokinases, the biotech partner’s RET program was still preclinical. Four years later, pralsetinib is on the cusp of potential approval and the Swiss pharma giant is putting in much more to get in on the commercial game.

Roche gains rights to co-develop and co-commercialize the drug, with sole marketing responsibility for places outside the US and China (where CStone has staked its claim).

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 85,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Trans­port Sim­u­la­tion Test­ing for Your Ther­a­py is the Best Way to As­sure FDA Ex­pe­dit­ed Pro­gram Ap­proval

Modality Solutions is an ISO:9001-registered biopharmaceutical cold chain engineering firm with unique transport simulation capabilities that support accelerated regulatory approval for biologics and advanced therapeutic medicinal products (ATMP). Our expertise combines traditional validation engineering approaches with regulatory knowledge into a methodology tailored for the life sciences industry. We provide insight and execution for the challenges faced in your cold chain logistics network.

Source: Shutterstock

Who are the women blaz­ing trails in bio­phar­ma R&D and lead­ing the fight against Covid-19? Nom­i­nate them for End­points' spe­cial re­port

One of the many inequalities the pandemic has laid bare is the gender imbalance in biomedical research. A paper examining Covid-19 research authorship wondered out loud: Where are the women?

It’s a question that echoes beyond our current times. In the biopharma world, not only are women under-represented in R&D roles (particularly at higher levels), their achievements and talents could also be undermined by stereotypes and norms of leadership styles. The problem is even more dire for women of color.

Tal Zaks, Moderna CMO (Moderna via YouTube)

UP­DAT­ED: NI­AID and Mod­er­na spell out a 'ro­bust' im­mune re­sponse in PhI coro­n­avirus vac­cine test — but big ques­tions re­main to be an­swered

The NIAID and Moderna have spelled out positive Phase I safety and efficacy data for their Covid-19 vaccine mRNA-1273 — highlighting the first full, clear sketch of evidence that back-to-back jabs at the dose selected for Phase III routinely produced a swarm of antibodies to the virus that exceeded levels seen in convalescent patients — typically in multiples indicating a protective response.

Moderna execs say plainly that this first stage of research produced exactly the kind of efficacy they hoped to see in humans, with a manageable safety profile.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 85,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Mene Pangalos, AstraZeneca R&D chief (AstraZeneca via YouTube)

A day af­ter Mod­er­na vac­cine re­sults, ru­mors swirl of pend­ing As­traZeneca da­ta

A day after Moderna and the NIH published much-anticipated data from their Phase I Covid-19 vaccine trial, attention is turning to AstraZeneca which, according to a UK report, is expected to publish its own early data tomorrow.

ITV’s Robert Peston reported that AstraZeneca will publish the Phase I data in The Lancet. 

AstraZeneca and Moderna represent the two most ambitious Covid-19 vaccine efforts, having set the quickest timelines for approval (though they were recently joined in that regard by the Pfizer-BioNTech partnership) and some of the loftiest goals in total doses. Yet there is even less known about AstraZeneca’s vaccine’s effect on humans than there was about Moderna’s before yesterday. Although, in a controversial move, Moderna released some statistics from its Phase I in May, AstraZeneca has yet to say anything about what it saw in its Phase I trial — a move consistent with the scientific convention to withhold data until it can be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Stéphane Bancel, Moderna CEO (Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

‘Plan­ning to vac­ci­nate every­one in the US,’ Mod­er­na out­lines ef­forts to sup­ply their Covid-19 vac­cine as man­u­fac­tur­ing ramps up ahead of PhI­II

Twelve days from the planned start of their Phase III pivotal trial, the executive crew at Moderna has set up the manufacturing base needed to begin production of the first 500,000 doses of their Covid-19 vaccine with plans to feed it into a global supply chain. But the initial batches will likely be ready in the US first, where company CEO Stéphane Bancel plans to be able to vaccinate everyone.

“We have started making commercial product at-risk, and will continue to do so every day and every week of the month,” Bancel told analysts during their morning call on the Phase I data just published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 85,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Covid-19 roundup: Vac­cine by end of 2020? Ken Fra­zier warns hype do­ing 'grave dis­ser­vice'

When it comes to setting expectations about a Covid-19 vaccine, Ken Frazier does not mince words.

Over a month after first casting doubts on the aggressive 12- to 18-month timeframe championed by the US government and his biopharma peers, the Merck CEO again cautioned against any hype around a quick vaccine approval.

In a wide-ranging interview with Harvard Business School professor Tsedal Neeley that touched other big topics such as race, Frazier emphasized that vaccines take a long time to develop. He would know: Out of the seven new vaccines introduced around the world in the past 25 years, four came from Merck.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 85,300+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Stéphane Bancel, Moderna CEO (Andrew Harnik/AP Images)

A top an­a­lyst turns the spot­light on Mod­er­na, fu­el­ing a fast-and-fu­ri­ous Street race over the fu­ture of mR­NA

Bioregnum Opinion Column by John Carroll

Four months ago, one of the favorite talking points on the biopharma social media wave length was whether Moderna shares $MRNA were priced right or were wildly inflated.

After all, said the naysayers, the company had never actually pushed a treatment to an approval. Did messenger RNA really work, coding cells to make a drug or a vaccine? And how about all that chatter about how ‘secretive’ they are, or were?

Now, as CEO Stéphane Bancel and the top execs push the company to the forefront of a frantic race to develop the first vaccine to fight against the reignited wildfire spread of Covid-19, all those questions have been magnified — along with the stock price.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

Mil­li­pore­Sig­ma to build new $20 mil­lion, 12,000-square-foot lab in Switzer­land

On the heels of opening a new laboratory in Shanghai last week, MilliporeSigma is continuing its construction push.

The Merck KGgA life science subsidiary announced Wednesday its intentions to build a new $20 million lab in Buchs, Switzerland to support its reference materials business. It’s estimated that the new facility will be completed in December 2021 and open in early 2022 and is expected to be 12,000 square feet.