Charles Ban­croft makes quick leap from Bris­tol My­ers ex­ec team to GSK; Medicxi adds two new part­ners to its team

Charles Ban­croft

→ Just a few days af­ter Bris­tol My­ers re­port­ed that Charles Ban­croft had “re­tired” from the ex­ec­u­tive team, he’s made a quick ca­reer shift to the board at Glax­o­SmithK­line. GSK re­port­ed to­day that Ban­croft is tak­ing a non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor post at the gi­ant phar­ma out­fit. He’s slat­ed to chair GSK’s au­dit & risk com­mit­tee. Ban­croft has ex­ten­sive com­mer­cial and strat­e­gy ex­pe­ri­ence in the busi­ness.

Eu­ro­pean in­vest­ment firm Medicxi has tapped San­ford (Sandy) Zweifach and Paul Sekhri as ven­ture part­ners. Zweifach is cur­rent­ly chair­man of Pal­la­dio Bio­sciences and ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of Jan­pix — both port­fo­lio com­pa­nies of Medicxi. Pre­vi­ous­ly, Zweifach was the CEO and co-founder of Nu­ve­la­tion Phar­ma and As­cen­dan­cy Health­care. Sekhri, one of the best con­nect­ed ex­ecs in bio­phar­ma, is the pres­i­dent and CEO of eGe­n­e­sis and has pre­vi­ous­ly served as pres­i­dent and CEO of Lyc­era, as well as chief strat­e­gy of­fi­cer for Te­va Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals In­dus­tries and CBO and pres­i­dent of ARI­AD Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. As End­points News re­cent­ly re­port­ed, Sekhri has al­so al­lied him­self with ex-No­var­tis CEO Joe Jimenez, who’s been rais­ing mon­ey for a new ven­ture.

Paul Sekhri, Medicxi

→ Pe­ter Linde has been named CMO at Mass­a­chu­setts-based Mor­phic Ther­a­peu­tic, a bio­phar­ma do­ing work re­volv­ing around oral in­te­grin ther­a­pies out of Tim Springer’s lab at Har­vard. Linde will over­see de­vel­op­ment of small mol­e­cule in­te­grin in­hibitors as Mor­phic ad­vances its oral in­te­grin in­hibitors to­ward clin­i­cal tri­als. Be­fore join­ing Mor­phic, Linde was at Ac­celeron as VP, med­ical re­search and Ab­b­Vie as glob­al project leader, de­vel­op­ment.

Along with open­ing an of­fice in Boston, Gaithers­burg, MD-based Sen­sei Bio­ther­a­peu­tics has named Robert Pierce as CSO. Pierce joins the com­pa­ny from the Fred Hutchin­son Can­cer Re­search Cen­ter, where he served as sci­en­tif­ic di­rec­tor of the im­munopathol­o­gy lab in the clin­i­cal re­search di­vi­sion. Pri­or to that, Pierce was CSO of On­coSec Med­ical and held a post at Mer­ck de­vel­op­ing tis­sue-based bio­mark­er ap­proach­es for Mer­ck’s Keytru­da.

Pe­ter Linde

Cy­to­Dyn, de­vel­op­ing CCR5 an­tag­o­nist leron­limab (PRO 140), has en­list­ed Ja­cob Lalezari as in­ter­im CMO. Lalezari is cur­rent­ly lead­ing the com­pa­ny’s prepa­ra­tions to ini­ti­ate a coro­n­avirus clin­i­cal tri­al. Cur­rent­ly, Lalezari is the CEO and di­rec­tor of Quest Clin­i­cal Re­search.

→ Changes abound at Leap Ther­a­peu­tics, which fo­cus­es on im­muno-on­col­o­gy, with Chris Mirabel­li step­ping down as pres­i­dent and CEO. He will be re­placed by Dou­glas On­si, who will al­so stay on as Leap’s CFO. In oth­er reshuf­fling, John Lit­tlechild has stepped down from the board of di­rec­tors, Cyn­thia Sir­ard has been pro­mot­ed to CMO and Mark O’Ma­ho­ny has been pro­mot­ed to chief man­u­fac­tur­ing of­fi­cer. Sir­ard and O’Ma­ho­ny were for­mer­ly VP, clin­i­cal R&D and VP, man­u­fac­tur­ing at Leap, re­spec­tive­ly.

→ AI biotech Re­cur­sion, which added a $121 mil­lion C round last sum­mer, has wel­comed Shafique Vi­rani as its chief cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer, serv­ing as both CBO and CEO of its new­ly-cre­at­ed De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion. Vi­rani will lead the in­ter­nal de­vel­op­ment of Re­cur­sion’s three clin­i­cal-stage as­sets. In a ca­reer in drug de­vel­op­ment that be­gan at Roche in 2004, he most re­cent­ly was the CEO of Navire Phar­ma and CoA Ther­a­peu­tics.

Shafique Vi­rani

Sasha Damouni El­lis has been ap­point­ed VP, in­vestor re­la­tions and cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Penn­syl­va­nia-based Mar­i­nus Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, which fo­cus­es on the de­vel­op­ment of ther­a­peu­tics to treat or­phan seizure dis­or­ders. Damouni El­lis comes to Mar­i­nus from Bay­er, where she was the phar­ma gi­ant’s US di­rec­tor of ex­ter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions and me­dia re­la­tions.

→ Cal­i­for­nia-based in­vest­ment man­ag­er Sofinno­va In­vest­ments has brought Jonathan Leff in­to the fold as ex­ec­u­tive part­ner. Leff’s ex­per­tise ranges from tar­get iden­ti­fi­ca­tion to FDA ap­proval and com­mer­cial­iza­tion. For­mer­ly the EVP, re­search and de­vel­op­ment at In­ter­Mune and the CMO at Kalo­Bios Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Leff al­so spent time at Roche, Mer­ck and Am­gen.

→ Deal savvy Zymeworks — who has had part­ner­ships with Cel­gene, BeiGene and J&J in the past — has wel­comed Kelvin Neu to its board of di­rec­tors. Neu is a part­ner at Bak­er Bros. Ad­vi­sors.

Bio­mark­er 'roadmap­s' and the fu­ture of can­cer R&D; Cur­tain rais­es on #AS­CO22; Pfiz­er, No­var­tis tack­le drug ac­cess; 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.

While this was not a week for earth-shattering news, there were certainly a lot of interesting tidbits. If you found this recap helpful, please recommend it to your friends and colleagues. We’ll see you on the other side of the long weekend.

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Keep­ing pres­sure on Am­gen, Mi­rati draws mixed re­views on lat­est cut of KRAS da­ta

As the close runner-up to Amgen’s Lumakras in the KRAS race, any data cut from Mirati’s adagrasib continues to draw scrutiny from analysts. And the latest batch of numbers from ASCO is a decidedly mixed bag.

While a quick comparison suggests that adagrasib spurred slightly more responses and led to a longer overall survival than Lumakras among a group of non-small cell lung cancer patients, its duration of response appears shorter and the safety profile continues to spark concern.

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Ann is one of ViiV Healthcare's newest spokespeople as the retired school administrator speaks up about her HIV status.

GSK's Vi­iV de­buts next evo­lu­tion in HIV med Dova­to cam­paign with new spokes­peo­ple and new mes­sage

When Ann saw the first TV commercials for HIV medicine Dovato, she didn’t see herself represented. So the 74-year-old retired school administrator who’s been living with HIV since 1998, reached out to GSK’s ViiV Healthcare and asked why not?

Now Ann is one of three people starring in ViiV’s latest Dovato campaign called “Detect This.” The next-step evolution in the branded campaign plays on the word “detect” — often used in describing HIV status under control as undetectable — but in this case, uses the word as a directive for people to understand they can use fewer medicines.

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Tran­si­tion to new Eu­ro­pean clin­i­cal tri­als in­fo sys­tem starts slow­ly

At the end of January, the European Medicines Agency officially launched its new clinical trials info system (CTIS), although the migration to the new platform has only really just begun, and sponsors have until the end of January 2023 before all initial trial applications must be submitted through CTIS.

Overall, 56 clinical trial applications have been submitted in CTIS during the first 3 months since the launch of the system on Jan. 31, according to new data posted by the EMA. By comparison, about 4,000 new trials are authorized each year across Europe.

Switzer­land to de­stroy over 600,000 ex­pired dos­es of Mod­er­na Covid vac­cine

As concerns related to uptake and distribution continue to linger, Switzerland is among the first countries that plans to destroy hundreds of thousands of expired and unused Covid-19 vaccine doses.

The European country said it plans to destroy more than 600,000 doses of Moderna’s Spikevax Covid-19 vaccine as the doses have reached their expiration date.

However, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that he’s in the process of throwing 30 million doses in the garbage, exclaiming, “We have a big demand problem.”

Nassim Usman, Catalyst Biosciences CEO

Af­ter $60M Ver­tex deal, group of Cat­a­lyst share­hold­ers claims biotech could’ve sold as­sets three years ago

Catalyst Biosciences was down to five employees in March, and the biotech needed to do something after two rounds of layoffs, a nixed collaboration and a culling of its hemophilia program.

In came Vertex, with $60 million to buy up the South San Francisco biotech’s preclinical complement drugs, which target the system that bridges the body’s innate and adaptive immune response and a class most known for Ultomiris and Soliris. The deal includes CB 2782-PEG, the dry AMD drug that Biogen no longer wanted in March.

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Al­ways chas­ing the newest sci­ence, Schond Green­way joins MindMed; Mi­rati fills key va­can­cy with ex-Are­na fi­nance chief

From cell therapy to precision medicine, Schond Greenway has hopped from one burgeoning research area to the next throughout his career. Now he’s heading off to another: psychedelic therapy.

MindMed tapped Greenway as CFO on Monday, as CEO Robert Barrow guides the company through what he called “an exciting point in our growth.” The New York-based psychedelics company was the second to ever go public on an American exchange, behind Compass Pathways. And this year, Barrow’s lining up “numerous near-term milestones ahead across our pipeline.”

Lina Khan, FTC chair (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP Images)

Pile-on over PBMs con­tin­ues with FTC com­ments and a new bi­par­ti­san Sen­ate bill

More than 500 stakeholders sent comments to the FTC on whether the commission should look further into pharma middlemen, known as PBMs, with many of the commenters calling for more federal oversight.

Similar to the critical open comment period in a deadlocked FTC session last February, pharmacies and pharmacy groups are continuing to call out the lack of transparency among the top 3 PBMs, which control about 80% of the market.

Pharma brands are losing their shine with US consumers who are now thinking about the economy and inflation instead of Covid. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Phar­ma brands fade in an­nu­al Har­ris con­sumer vis­i­bil­i­ty poll: Mod­er­na drops off and Pfiz­er dips

As Covid-19 concerns are fading in the US, so is biopharma visibility. The annual Axios Harris Poll survey to determine and rank the 100 most top-of-mind brands in the US finds Moderna, which was No. 3 last year, not on the list at all for 2022, and Pfizer sinking 37 spots.

However, it’s not that Moderna or Pfizer did anything wrong, it’s just that Americans have moved on to other worries beyond Covid.

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