MorphoSys taps Bavencio lead for US operations; Two top FDA officials move to industry
→ Having built out a commercial footprint in the US and led the launch of Bavencio for Merck KGaA, David Trexler is taking up a new role as president of German biotech Morphosys’ US subsidiary. Following a dual listing on the Nasdaq $MOR last year, MorphoSys is plotting a swift rollout for MOR208 once the FDA approves its use in diffuse large B cell lymphoma — now with a guiding hand from Trexler, who’s also worked sales and marketing for Eisai’s US oncology unit.
→ Michelle Berrey — the woman who replaced Chimerix CEO Kenneth Moch in 2014 after the company notoriously denied a dying child compassionate use of its experimental treatment — has stepped down for undisclosed reasons. Berrey, who served as the company’s chief medical officer prior to becoming CEO, steered the ship at Chimerix as the Durham, North Carolina-based company sought to spin setback after setback in the late-stage developmental program of its oral antiviral drug, brincidofovir, for the prevention of cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease in kidney transplant patients.
Chimerix said a newly created office of the CEO — encapsulating three senior executives CMO Garrett Nichols, CFO Timothy Trost and general counsel Michael Alrutz — will hold the fort while it searches for Berrey’s replacement.
→ Ready for a fresh round of dealmaking, CytomX $CTMX has brought in Nick Galli from Denali as chief business officer. The South San Francisco biotech has tied up with several big biopharma companies on its Probody platform — pocketing substantial upfronts — though Pfizer walked away from a pact a little less than a year ago. Galli, whose BD track record extends to Genentech and Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center, joins the company at the same time as Leslie Robbins, the new senior vice president, intellectual property.
→ Columbia University spinout Kallyope has tapped Brett Lauring to steer the metabolic and CNS treatments coming out of its platform, which is focused on the bi-directional communication known as the “gut-brain axis.” Between a stint as Takeda’s VP of translational research and 11 years of clinical development at Merck, Lauring brings the whole package to Kallyope’s discovery programs, the company said.
→ Kyn Therapeutics has recruited a new CFO in Douglas Carlson just days after scoring $80 million upfront in an option deal with Celgene. Carlson joins the Boston-based biotech, which is going after metabolites that keep the immune system from attacking cancer, from specialty pain management company Collegium Pharmaceutical.
→ Still reeling from the disappointing termination of an Alzheimer’s trial partnered with Roche, AC Immune $ACIU is now intent on hustling its preclinical and clinical programs to later stage development as quickly as possible. The Swiss biotech is promoting Piergiorgio Donatijoins to head of technical operations and tapping Sonia Poli, previously CSO at Addex Therapeutics, as head of translational science, covering all fronts on manufacturing, program coordination and transition from discovery to preclinical work.
→ Erkan Baloglu has joined anti-aging biotech resTORbio as VP of drug discovery and medicinal chemistry after a string of similar roles at Karyopharm Therapeutics, GlaxoSmithKline and ImmunoGen, among others. The company is planning to test its TORC1 inhibitor in urinary tract infections, heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and other undisclosed diseases.
→ Clinigen has tapped Nick Keher as CFO of the group comprising of specialty pharma business and clinical trial services. Most recently head of the European healthcare equity research team at the Royal Bank of Canada, Keher succeeds Martin Abell, who’s resigned after three years.
→ Allergan has poached Mitchell Mathis, who has led FDA’s psychiatry product division for 12 years, to be its CMO for CNS products. His “role is in medical affairs, not regulatory,” a company spokesperson told BioCentury. Tiffany Farchione, Mathis’ deputy, will step up as acting director.
→ Leah Christl, director of the FDA’s Therapeutic Biologics and Biosimilars Staff in the Office of New Drugs, has decided to leave the agency and will depart 22 February. Christl is moving to Amgen in the role of executive director, global regulatory and R&D policy.
→ Big Pharma vet Andrew Dawson has joined Cedilla Therapeutics as chief human resources officer. He jumps from a brief stint at Enzyvant, which follows roles at Novartis, Roche and Shire.