Peer Review

Novartis recruits a global digital chief; Shire CFO jumps ship

Novartis appointed Bertrand Bodson to be its new chief digital officer, with a guiding hand in the way that Novartis uses digital technology in everything from drug discovery and development to the way it interacts with doctors and patients around the world. The job also entails automating business processes — perhaps with a particular eye to winkling out costs, as Novartis is well known for. He is coming over from Sainsbury’s Argos in the UK, which credited him with their shift to online retail, the kind of experience that will fit in well for the big drug sales operation.

Shire CFO Jeff Poulton is jumping ship in order to take the same position at Indigo, a startup in the plant microbiome world. He’s leaving at the end of the year, giving Shire plenty of time to recruit a new CFO to take his place but causing some jitters among investors.

⇨  San Francisco-based Blade Therapeutics has recruited Bristol-Myers fibrosis expert Maria Fuentes as its new EVP of research. She’ll be taking over the preclinical fibrosis programs at the biotech.

⇨ More than two months after Akari Therapeutics’ CEO Gur Roshwalb abruptly left the company after some of its data had to be restated, the biotech has recruited David Horn Solomon, the former CEO of Zealand Pharma, for the post.

⇨ Watertown, MA-based SQZ Biotech has hired Shefali Agarwal as its new chief medical officer. Agarwal had worked on Tesaro’s development program for Zejula and was an SVP at Curis.

BioDelivery Sciences International announced that CEO Mark Sirgo will retire at the end of 2017. Sirgo will remain as vice chairman of the board of directors and he will work with the board to find his successor.

BenevolentAI’s subsidiary BenevolentBio has added a VP of drug discovery and preclinical research to the team— Ian Churcher hails from GSK.

⇨  DepoMed vet Srinivas G. Rao has joined Axial Biotherapeutics and will serve as its chief medical officer


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