Ox­ford Bio­med­ica's next CEO to start in March; Kåre Schultz ready to wrap up Te­va tenure ear­ly

Frank Math­ias

→ Frank Math­ias is call­ing it quits as CEO of Ger­man CD­MO Rentschler Bio­phar­ma, mov­ing in­stead to UK gene and cell ther­a­py play­er Ox­ford Bio­med­ica in March 2023. At that time, he’ll al­so re­turn to the fa­mil­iar con­fines of the Rentschler su­per­vi­so­ry board, which he first joined in 2013 be­fore vault­ing to CEO three years lat­er. Ox­ford Bio­med­ica’s long­time CEO John Daw­son re­tired in Jan­u­ary, and in­ter­im chief Roch Do­liveux will get to fo­cus sole­ly on his role as chair­man once Math­ias ar­rives.

As Rentschler ini­ti­ates the search for Math­ias’ re­place­ment, there’s been no short­age of new ap­point­ments here in the last year — and Chris­tiane Bardroff was just pro­mot­ed to COO last week.

Richard Fran­cis

Te­va is well ahead of sched­ule with its CEO tran­si­tion, get­ting a jump on ap­point­ing ex-San­doz chief Richard Fran­cis to take over for Kåre Schultz. The 61-year-old Schultz had orig­i­nal­ly planned to leave Te­va when his con­tract ex­pires in No­vem­ber 2023, but Fran­cis will start run­ning the show on Jan. 1 af­ter a mu­tu­al agree­ment to ac­cel­er­ate the timetable, End­points News’ Drew Arm­strong re­port­ed on Mon­day. Schultz has dealt with a glut of opi­oid set­tle­ments in his five-year tenure at Te­va along with the chal­lenges that have en­veloped the gener­ics land­scape. And Fran­cis knows that ter­ri­to­ry very well from his time at San­doz, which No­var­tis has fi­nal­ly de­cid­ed to spin off af­ter so much dither­ing that Fran­cis re­signed over the un­cer­tain fu­ture of the gener­ics di­vi­sion — in 2019. Since then, Fran­cis had been CEO of two com­pa­nies from the Syn­cona port­fo­lio: Pure­spring Ther­a­peu­tics and Force­field Ther­a­peu­tics.

“This is the right time for a tran­si­tion, and Richard’s proven track record in the in­dus­try makes him the right per­son to serve as Te­va’s next CEO,” Schultz said in a state­ment.

Luke De­vey

→ An­oth­er com­pa­ny from the Syn­cona uni­verse, Treg biotech Quell Ther­a­peu­tics, has tapped Luke De­vey as CMO. De­vey owns Big Phar­ma cre­den­tials from GSK, where he was se­nior di­rec­tor of trans­la­tion­al med­i­cine, and from J&J’s Janssen as head of trans­la­tion­al sci­ence at Janssen Im­munol­o­gy. In be­tween these stints, he was Cel­gene’s head of ear­ly dis­cov­ery bi­ol­o­gy, im­munol­o­gy & in­flam­ma­tion. We’re com­ing up on a year since Quell’s hefty $156 mil­lion Se­ries B as CEO Iain McGill hopes to pull ahead in a Treg bat­tle that in­volves Gen­tiBio, Aba­ta Ther­a­peu­tics and Jeff Blue­stone’s Sono­ma.

Daria Hazu­da

Mike Nal­ly’s crew at a mem­ber of the End­points 11’s Class of 2022, Flag­ship’s Gen­er­ate Bio­med­i­cines, is get­ting a bit larg­er with Daria Hazu­da as head of vac­cines and in­fec­tious dis­ease re­search and Lisa Wyman as SVP of tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions. This marks the end of a 33-year re­la­tion­ship with Mer­ck for Hazu­da, who start­ed out as a se­nior re­search bio­chemist at the phar­ma gi­ant in 1989 and rose to VP of in­fec­tious dis­ease & vac­cines and CSO of the Cam­bridge, MA re­search site. Mean­while, Wyman had al­so been SVP of tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions at Ac­celeron, one of Mer­ck’s stand­out M&A prizes. Us­ing ma­chine learn­ing to gen­er­ate a mul­ti­tude of drug can­di­dates, as the name im­plies, the biotech is awash with cash af­ter a $370 mil­lion Se­ries B a year ago.

Ja­copo An­dreose

Be­fore lin­ing up his first CEO job this week at Ital­ian brain health biotech An­geli­ni Phar­ma, Ja­copo An­dreose had been mak­ing the Big Phar­ma rounds too. An­dreose was re­cent­ly the SVP, in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal re­gion for Gilead, over­see­ing Asia, Latin Amer­i­ca, Mid­dle East, Africa and East­ern Eu­rope. He al­so split time be­tween Vi­iV Health­care (head of in­ter­na­tion­al) and par­ent com­pa­ny GSK (SVP, im­munol­o­gy and spe­cial­ty med­i­cine, among oth­er posts) in a sev­en-year pe­ri­od. Ovid and An­geli­ni teamed up on an An­gel­man syn­drome pact in Ju­ly 2020, but OV101 flamed out in Phase III; Ovid scrapped the pro­gram en­tire­ly, gut­ting its stock and spark­ing job cuts.

Jan­neke van der Kamp

→ On March 1, No­var­tis vet Jan­neke van der Kamp will suc­ceed Mark Fladrich as chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer of Grü­nen­thal, the Ger­man com­pa­ny that picked up Bay­er’s low testos­terone med Nebido for $500 mil­lion in Ju­ly. In her 19 years with the Swiss phar­ma, van der Kamp took on such roles as glob­al neu­ro­sciences fran­chise head, glob­al head of prod­uct and port­fo­lio strat­e­gy and, since March 2019, head of the Eu­rope phar­ma re­gion. Fladrich came to Grü­nen­thal from As­traZeneca in 2017 and will be re­tir­ing on Feb. 28 af­ter a 35-year ca­reer.

Mark Smith

→ Ac­cord­ing to an SEC fil­ing, Mark Smith is step­ping down as CMO of Vista­gen on Dec. 1 but will still be part of the South San Fran­cis­co biotech’s clin­i­cal and reg­u­la­to­ry ad­vi­so­ry board. Vista­gen’s Phase III tri­al fail­ure with PH94B, its drug for so­cial anx­i­ety dis­or­der, sent the stock price $VT­GN in­to a freefall in late Ju­ly. Ear­li­er mid-stage stud­ies of AV-101 for de­pres­sion al­so didn’t pan out.

Pia Bau­mann

→ When we last saw Medi­vir in Peer Re­view, As­traZeneca vet Jens Lind­berg was set to take the CEO job. This time around, the Stock­holm can­cer biotech has turned to As­traZeneca for its new med­ical chief, bring­ing Pia Bau­mann in­to the fold. Bau­mann, the Big Phar­ma’s VP and glob­al med­ical fran­chise head for lung can­cer drug Tagris­so since Ju­ly 2020, has al­so been a med­ical af­fairs ex­ec with Take­da, In­cyte and Ari­ad Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

Rick Klaus­ner

→ Con­cur­rent with Fog­Phar­ma’s $178 mil­lion Se­ries D round, the Greg Ver­dine start­up has al­so added for­mer NCI chief Rick Klaus­ner to the board of di­rec­tors. Al­tos Labs, Klaus­ner’s an­ti-ag­ing play led by ex-GSK R&D chief Hal Bar­ron, is an­oth­er hon­oree from this year’s End­points 11. Ver­dine has al­so been ap­point­ed chair­man of Fog­Phar­ma, which is shoot­ing for a mid-2023 IND sub­mis­sion for its lead as­set FOG-001, a TCF-block­ing β-catenin in­hibitor.

Bob Langer

→ We’re not done with the big names: Late last week, MIT’s Bob Langer was named chair­man of the sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board for Nat­ick, MA-based Al­lu­ri­on, the de­vel­op­er of a gas­tric bal­loon pill to treat obe­si­ty. Langer has found­ed or co-found­ed “prob­a­bly close to 40 com­pa­nies” by his count, with Mod­er­na top­ping the list. “Al­lu­ri­on has clear­ly demon­strat­ed that its prod­uct is a game-chang­er for pa­tients and has the po­ten­tial to de­vel­op an ex­cit­ing pipeline of prod­ucts that ad­dress dif­fer­ent ap­pli­ca­tions,” Langer’s state­ment reads.

Sharath Hegde

We cov­ered Sharath Hegde’s ap­point­ment as CSO of Herophilus in May 2021, but he’s al­ready found his next land­ing spot as the chief sci­en­tist at Mon­tre­al-based drug dis­cov­ery shop Con­gru­ence Ther­a­peu­tics. Be­fore he took the Herophilus job, Hegde was the CSO at Re­cur­sion and spent two decades at Ther­a­vance Bio­phar­ma, be­com­ing head of re­search in 2016. One more note: Tanya Bor­suk has al­so joined Con­gru­ence as EVP, cor­po­rate and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. Be­fore her re­cent gig as CBO of Sit­ryx Ther­a­peu­tics, Bor­suk was head of pipeline strat­e­gy and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment at the afore­men­tioned Gen­er­ate Bio­med­i­cines.

Scott Cur­ley

→ The last ap­point­ment news we heard from Amarin was back in June, when the com­pa­ny in­stalled Tom Reil­ly af­ter the res­ig­na­tion of CFO Michael Kalb and a 40% re­duc­tion of its work­force be­cause of flag­ging sales for Vas­cepa. Now, the com­pa­ny is once again bring­ing in some new tal­ent with the ap­point­ment of Scott Cur­ley as gen­er­al man­ag­er of UK and Ire­land — hop­ing to flesh out its team in the area to prep for the launch of Vas­cepa. Cur­ley brings with him ex­pe­ri­ence from his time at As­traZeneca — which cul­mi­nat­ed in his role as gen­er­al man­ag­er of Hong Kong and Macau — and stints at GSK and SmithK­lineBeecham.

→ Now that Im­muno­Gen was grant­ed ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval by the FDA for its ovar­i­an can­cer drug, known as Ela­here, the ADC play­er has wel­comed Daniel Char to the team as chief le­gal of­fi­cer. Char held the role of as­so­ciate gen­er­al coun­sel dur­ing his 11 years at Bio­gen, and he spent the last four years as gen­er­al coun­sel and sec­re­tary for Evelo Bio­sciences, a Flag­ship biotech that’s look­ing for CEO Sim­ba Gill’s suc­ces­sor.

→ It’s cer­tain­ly been quite a week, giv­en the three days it’s been, for Paul Ren­nie. First, on Tues­day, he took over the reins at Par­a­digm Bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, the com­pa­ny he found­ed and chairs, af­ter Mar­co Polizzi an­nounced his ex­it. Then, ear­ly this morn­ing, Ren­nie nabbed the ti­tle of in­ter­im CEO over at Neu­ro­Sci­en­tif­ic Bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, a com­pa­ny he al­so chairs, three months af­ter the for­mer CEO re­signed.

Ian Smith

→ Soft­ware de­vel­op­er Optib­ri­um has named Ian Smith as chief tech­nol­o­gy of­fi­cer. Smith joins af­ter a stint as head of tech­nol­o­gy and de­liv­ery at Hx and has for­mer­ly held roles at Mer­ck, in­clud­ing di­rec­tor of re­searcher and de­vel­op­ment an­a­lyt­ics.

→ Two long­time ex­ecs at Area 23 are tack­ing on some new jobs to their cur­rent roles to in­clude the over­sight at IPG Health com­pa­ny Mc­Cann Health NY. Re­nee Mel­las has added on the ti­tle of Mc­Cann Health New York group pres­i­dent (tak­ing over from ex­it­ing Matt Sil­ver), while Tim Hawkey will al­so be chief cre­ative of­fi­cer. Mel­las has been with Area 23 for eight and a half years, while Hawkey joined 11 and a half years ago.

Stephen Her­mitage is skip­ping out of GSK and in­to Sai Life Sci­ences as its new VP, CMC. Her­mitage was with GSK for 24 years, cul­mi­nat­ing in his role as a de­part­ment head and a mem­ber of the glob­al chem­i­cal de­vel­op­ment lead­er­ship team.

Alessan­dra Ce­sano

Bob Dug­gan and his co-CEO Maky Zan­ganeh have ex­pand­ed the board of di­rec­tors once again at Sum­mit Ther­a­peu­tics, ap­point­ing Alessan­dra Ce­sano. The Bio­gen, Am­gen and GSK vet is the cur­rent CMO of Cana­di­an prostate can­cer biotech ES­SA Phar­ma. Robert Booth, one of Dug­gan’s board mem­bers from the Phar­ma­cyclics days, joined the board at Sum­mit in Oc­to­ber.

Sanofi I/O part­ner Ada­gene has elect­ed ex-Mer­ck chief strat­e­gy of­fi­cer Cuong Do to the board of di­rec­tors. Now the pres­i­dent and CEO at BioVie, Do was pres­i­dent of the glob­al strat­e­gy group at Sam­sung from 2015-20.

Late Fri­day ap­proval; Trio of biotechs wind down; Stem cell pi­o­neer finds new fron­tier; Biotech icon to re­tire; 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.

I hope your weekend is off to a nice start, wherever you are reading this email. As for me, I’m trying to catch the tail of the Lunar New Year festivities.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 157,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Pfiz­er lays off em­ploy­ees at Cal­i­for­nia and Con­necti­cut sites

Pfizer has laid off employees at its La Jolla, CA, and Groton, CT sites, according to multiple LinkedIn posts from former employees.

The Big Pharma confirmed to Endpoints News it has let go of some employees, but a spokesperson declined to specify how many workers were impacted and the exact locations affected. Earlier this month, the drug developer had confirmed to Endpoints it was sharpening its focus and doing away with some early research on areas such as rare disease, oncology and gene therapies.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

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

Jake Van Naarden, Loxo@Lilly CEO

Lil­ly en­ters ripe BTK field with quick FDA nod in man­tle cell lym­phoma

Eli Lilly has succeeded in its attempt to get the first non-covalent version of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase, or BTK, inhibitors to market, pushing it past rival Merck.

The FDA gave an accelerated nod to Lilly’s daily oral med, to be sold as Jaypirca, for patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma.

The agency’s green light, disclosed by the Indianapolis Big Pharma on Friday afternoon, catapults Lilly into a field dominated by covalent BTK inhibitors, which includes AbbVie and Johnson & Johnson’s Imbruvica, AstraZeneca’s Calquence and BeiGene’s Brukinsa.

Filip Dubovsky, Novavax CMO

No­vavax gets ready to take an­oth­er shot at Covid vac­cine mar­ket with next sea­son plans

While mRNA took center stage at yesterday’s FDA vaccine advisory committee meeting, Novavax announced its plans to deliver an updated protein-based vaccine based on new guidance.

Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) members voted unanimously in favor of “harmonizing” Covid vaccine compositions, meaning all future vaccine recipients would receive a bivalent vaccine, regardless of whether they’ve gotten their primary series.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 157,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Eliot Forster, F-star CEO (Rachel Kiki for Endpoints News)

F-star gets down to the wire with $161M sale to Chi­nese buy­er as na­tion­al se­cu­ri­ty con­cerns linger

With the clock ticking on F-star Therapeutics’ takeover by a Chinese buyer, the companies are still scrambling to remove a hold on the deal from the US government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

F-star and invoX Pharma said they are “actively negotiating” with CFIUS “about the terms of a mitigation agreement to address CFIUS’s concerns regarding potential national security risks posed by the transaction.”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 157,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Ex­clu­sive: Cell ther­a­py biotech brings on Loxo vet amid glob­al ex­pan­sion plans; Re­tire­ment beck­ons for Vir's George Scan­gos

Bree Harlin, who used to be director of clinical operations at Loxo Oncology, now Loxo@Lilly, is now in the C-suite for the first time.

Harlin started at TC BioPharm on Wednesday as chief clinical officer, the biotech announced Friday — but her journey starts more than 20 years before then. After graduating from college, she moved to Boston, working in academia at some of the Harvard teaching hospitals in endocrinology and CNS.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 157,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

CBER Director Peter Marks (Susan Walsh/AP Images)

FDA ad­vi­so­ry com­mit­tee votes unan­i­mous­ly in fa­vor of bi­va­lent Covid shots re­plac­ing pri­ma­ry se­ries

The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted unanimously in favor of “harmonizing” Covid vaccine compositions, meaning all current vaccine recipients would receive a bivalent vaccine, regardless of whether they’ve gotten their primary series.

The vote marks an effort to clear up confusion around varying formulations and dosing schedules for current primary series and booster vaccines, as well as “get closer to the strains that are circulating,” according to committee member Paul Offit, professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

FDA re­ports ini­tial 'no sig­nal' for stroke risk with Pfiz­er boost­ers, launch­es con­comi­tant flu shot study

The FDA hasn’t detected any potential safety signals, including for stroke, in people aged 65 years and older who have received Pfizer’s bivalent Covid booster, one senior official told members of the agency’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) on Thursday.

The update comes as the FDA and CDC investigate a “preliminary signal” that may indicate an increased risk of ischemic stroke in older Americans who received Pfizer’s updated shot.

FDA cuts off use for As­traZeneca’s Covid-19 ther­a­py Evusheld

The FDA has stopped use of another drug as a result of the new coronavirus variants. On Thursday, the agency announced that AstraZeneca’s antibody combo Evusheld, which was an important prevention option for many immunocompromised people and others, is no longer authorized.

The FDA said it made its decision based on the fact that Evusheld works on fewer than 10% of circulating variants.

Evusheld was initially given emergency authorization at the end of 2021. However, as Omicron emerged, so did studies that showed Evusheld might not work against the dominant Omicron strain. In October, the FDA warned healthcare providers that Evusheld was useless against the Omicron subvariant BA.4.6. It followed that up with another announcement earlier this month that it did not think Evusheld would work against the latest Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5.