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.

Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News

How Pur­due's $272M ad­dic­tion pay­out fund­ed a new home for its dis­card­ed non-opi­oid re­search

Don Kyle spent more than 20 years working for Purdue Pharma, right through the US opioid epidemic that led to the company’s rise and eventual infamy. But contrary to Purdue’s focus on OxyContin, Kyle was researching non-opioid painkillers — that is, until the company shelved his research.

As the company’s legal troubles mounted, Kyle found an unlikely way to reboot the project. In 2019, he took his work to an Oklahoma State University center that’s slated to receive more than two-thirds of the state’s $272 million settlement with Purdue over claims that the drugmaker’s behavior ignited the epidemic of opioid use and abuse.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

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

President Joe Biden at the State of the Union address with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Patrick Semansky/AP Images)

The drug pric­ing pres­i­dent: Biden warns of ve­to for any IRA re­peal at­tempts

President Joe Biden made clear in his “finish the job” State of the Union address last night that one of those jobs to be finished is insulin prices.

Biden’s push again to tackle insulin prices, after Republicans rebuffed the idea last summer and just after Biden won Medicare drug price negotiations/caps via the Inflation Reduction Act, shows how heavily he’s leaning into this work.

Rupert Vessey, Bristol Myers Squibb head of research and early development

Up­dat­ed: R&D tur­bu­lence at Bris­tol My­ers now in­cludes the end of a $650M al­liance and the de­par­ture of a top re­search cham­pi­on

This morning biotech Dragonfly put out word that Bristol Myers Squibb has handed back all rights to its IL-12 clinical-stage drug after spending $650 million to advance it into the clinic.

The news arrives amid a turbulent R&D stage for the pharma giant, which late last week highlighted Rupert Vessey’s decision to depart this summer as head of early-stage R&D following a crucial three-year stretch after he jumped to Bristol Myers in the big Celgene buyout. During that time he struck a series of deals for Bristol Myers, and also shepherded a number of Celgene programs down the pipeline, playing a major role for a lineup of biotechs which depended on him to champion their drugs.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

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

Utpal Koppikar, new Verily CFO

Ex­clu­sive: Ver­i­ly wel­comes Atara Bio­ther­a­peu­tics vet­er­an as new CFO

Verily, Alphabet’s life sciences outfit, has plucked a new CFO from the ranks of Atara Biotherapeutics, the company announced on Wednesday.

Utpal Koppikar joins Verily after a nearly five-year stint as CFO and senior VP at Atara, though his résumé also boasts roles at Gilead and Amgen.

The news follows a major reshuffling at Verily, including several senior departures earlier this year and a round of layoffs.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 159,000+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Singer Nick Jonas is back at work for Dexcom, this time for its new G7 glucose monitor.

Dex­com's spokescelebri­ty Nick Jonas re­turns to Su­per Bowl in new glu­cose mon­i­tor com­mer­cial

Dexcom is going back to the Super Bowl with its pop singer and patient spokesperson Nick Jonas. Jonas takes center stage as the lone figure in the 30-second commercial showcasing Dexcom’s next-generation G7 continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device.

Jonas’ sleight-of-hand tricks populate the commercial — he pinches his empty fingers together and pops them open to reveal the small CGM — even as he ends the ad, saying, “It’s not magic. It just feels that way.” Jonas then disappears in a puff of smoke.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 159,000+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Bill Haney, Dragonfly CEO (Dave Pedley/Getty Images for SXSW)

Drag­on­fly chief: Bris­tol My­ers shouldn’t blame IL-12’s clin­i­cal per­for­mance for de­ci­sion to scrap the deal — eco­nom­ics played a key role

Bristol Myers Squibb says the IL-12 drug they were developing out of Dragonfly Therapeutics was scrubbed from the pipeline for a simple reason: It didn’t measure up on clinical performance.

But Bill Haney, the CEO of Dragonfly, is taking issue with that.

The early-stage drug, still in Phase I development, has passed muster with Bristol Myers’ general clinical expectations, advancing successfully while still in Phase I, he says.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

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

Richard Francis, newly-appointed Teva CEO (Novartis via Facebook)

New Te­va CEO Richard Fran­cis repri­or­i­tizes to 'get back to growth'

Six weeks into his new role at the helm of Teva Pharmaceutical, Richard Francis said it’s time to “get back to growth,” starting with a good look at the company’s priorities.

The chief executive has kicked off a strategic review, he announced during Teva’s quarterly call, which will continue over the next several months and produce results sometime in the middle of 2023. That means some pipeline cuts may be in store, he told Endpoints News, while declining to offer much more detail.

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf on Capitol Hill, Feb. 8, 2023 (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

FDA com­mis­sion­er floats ideas on how to bet­ter han­dle the pan­dem­ic

FDA Commissioner Rob Califf joined the heads of the CDC and NIH in the hot seat today before a key House subcommittee, explaining that there needs to be a much faster, more coordinated way to oversee vaccine safety, and that foreign biopharma inspections, halted for years due to the pandemic, are slowly ramping up again.

Califf, who stressed to the House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health that the CDC also needs better data, made clear that the FDA’s ability to monitor the safety of vaccines “would also benefit greatly by a coordinated federal public health data reporting authority.”

Sanofi is renewing its #VaccinesForDreams campaign with more stories, such as Juan's in Argentina (Sanofi)

Sanofi re­news so­cial cam­paign to re­mind that vac­cines let peo­ple ‘Dream Big’

Sanofi is highlighting people’s dreams — both big and small — to make the point that vaccines make them possible.

The renewed “Dream Big” global social media campaign’s newest dreamer is Juan, a teacher in the Misiones rainforest in Argentina whose story is told through videos on Instagram and Sanofi’s website with the hashtag #VaccinesForDreams.

The campaign ties to Sanofi’s broader umbrella initiative “Vaccine Stories” to promote the value of vaccines and drive awareness of the need for improved vaccination coverage.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 159,000+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.