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