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.

Image courtesy of The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

Pro­tect­ing the glob­al phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­no­va­tion ecosys­tem – what’s at stake?

We are living in a new era of healthcare that is rapidly advancing progress impacting patient outcomes and experiences. We’ve seen a remarkable pace of transformational innovation, applied research, and advanced clinical development over the last decade.

Despite this tremendous progress, there is much more work to be done, and patients are counting on us – now more than ever – to continue that momentum. At the heart of our industry is a focus on developing and delivering medicines for some of the world’s most challenging diseases, including those that have few or no effective treatments today.

Eu­ro­pean Par­lia­ment calls mem­ber states to ac­tion on an­timi­cro­bial re­sis­tance

Members of the European Parliament have called on EU countries to develop national action plans against antimicrobial resistance (AMR), calling it a top-three priority health threat.

Parliament on Thursday announced recommendations for the fight against AMR, including national action plans that must be updated at least every two years, an EU-level database tracking AMR and antimicrobial use and increased partnership between the pharma industry, patient groups and academia.

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Roche plans to di­vest from lega­cy Genen­tech man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ty in Cal­i­for­nia

Roche is planning to make some changes to its subsidiary’s manufacturing network in California.

The Swiss pharma announced Wednesday that it plans to divest from Genentech’s manufacturing facility in Vacaville, CA, around 58 miles northeast of San Francisco. According to a statement from Roche, the move is part of a “broader strategy” to bring its manufacturing capabilities in line with its future pipeline. Roche is starting the process of finding a buyer for the site but has not named any candidates yet.

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Roger Perlmutter, Eikon Therapeutics CEO

Roger Perl­mut­ter builds Eikon's pipeline with deal-mak­ing flur­ry, rais­ing $106M more

Eikon Therapeutics announced three business development deals on Thursday, effectively dropping in a pipeline of cancer drugs alongside more than $100 million in fresh funding.

The Hayward, CA-based company has become one of biotech’s richest startups since its 2019 founding, having raised nearly $775 million. It’s developing a massive, automated research approach built around Nobel Prize-winning microscope science to peer inside cells and watch proteins in action. After its Series B last year, PitchBook reported a $3.02 billion valuation. And while CEO Roger Perlmutter declined to comment on that figure, he said its first tranche of nearly $106 million in Series C funding is a “meaningful step-up to our Series B valuation.”

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Peter van de Sande, Synaffix CEO

Lon­za shells out $107M cash to snap up Synaf­fix and its ADC plat­form

After lining up a string of partnerships over the years, Dutch antibody-drug conjugate specialist Synaffix has found a new home: Lonza, the contract development and manufacturing giant.

Lonza is paying about $107 million (€100 million) in cash to acquire Synaffix, with up to $64 million (€60 million) in “additional performance-based consideration” on the table. Synaffix’s ADC tech platform will now become part of Lonza’s offering for biopharma clients, lending its bioconjugate technologies to not just ADCs but also targeted gene therapy, immune cell engagers and other applications.

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Who's con­fi­dent­ly in­vest­ing in biotech star­tups dur­ing these tense days? We've got some an­swers

We’ve got a changeup to our event schedule in Boston next week, where we’ll be doing a mix of live/streaming events at our base at The Seaport Hotel as part of a two-day lineup of webinars, virtual firesides and a cocktail hour Q&A with a veteran of the biotech financing scene.

The 9:30-10:30 am ET live slot on Tuesday, June 6, will now feature a panel conversation on the current state of affairs for VC investing in biotech, focusing on what startups are getting cash — and how. Alaa Halawa, head of US ventures at Mubadala, is confirmed, along with Brian Goodman at MPM and Geoff von Maltzahn, a general partner at Moderna-buoyed Flagship. I have a couple of other invites out and will let you know how that plays out.

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The Modulo Bio team with CEO Michael Horowitz (fourth from right in semicircle)

Ex­clu­sive: With $8M, neu­ro start­up Mod­u­lo Bio emerges to test small mol­e­cules for ALS, de­men­tia in CEO’s per­son­al mis­sion

Embarking on a personal mission after his best friend’s mother was diagnosed with a mutation-driven case of frontotemporal dementia, Michael Horowitz has pulled together $8 million in venture funding at Modulo Bio to create small molecules for neurodegenerative diseases.

The San Diego and Bay Area biotech will select its lead development candidate and some backup options within six months and then raise a Series A to investigate therapeutics for C9orf72 mutation-driven cases of ALS and frontotemporal dementia, Horowitz told Endpoints News.

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Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEO (Michel Euler/AP Images, Pool)

FDA ap­proves Pfiz­er’s RSV shot for old­er adults, tee­ing up a com­pet­i­tive $17B vac­cine mar­ket

The FDA approved Pfizer’s RSV vaccine called Abrysvo for older adults on Wednesday, placing another Big Pharma onto the commercial stage ahead of the next RSV season.

Pfizer’s approval comes weeks after GSK won approval for its rival shot, Arexvy. Those two vaccines are both approved for use in adults 60 years and older and will be reviewed by a CDC panel in June before they’re expected to commercially launch this fall. Wall Street analysts see RSV as the next multibillion-dollar vaccine market, with Jefferies analysts recently forecasting the RSV market will grow to $17 billion over the next decade.

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Richard Pazdur, FDA's OCE director (Flatiron Health via YouTube)

FDA's can­cer chief weighs in on com­mon chemo short­ages — re­port

Richard Pazdur, director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence, attributes the current shortage of two cancer drugs to drug companies that haven’t invested in building out their production capacity.

In an interview with The Cancer Letter, a weekly cancer publication, Pazdur said that the current shortages of cisplatin and carboplatin, a pair of drugs used to treat a wide range of cancer patients, are the result of two problems: manufacturers not investing in enhancing production capacity, and drug companies being dependent on one supplier of raw ingredients. The cisplatin shortage followed an inspection that revealed quality issues at a manufacturing facility, which then led to the shutdown of production. This led to a surge in carboplatin demand, creating a secondary shortage.

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