Peer Review

Peer Review: Former FDA Commish Califf will split his time between Verily and Duke

→ After a little over a year and a half at Alphabet’s Verily, neuroscientist Dr. Thomas Insel is joining the mysterious company’s exodus of talent and calling it quits. Insel ran the National Institute of Mental Health prior to his gig at Verily. These days you can find him as the president and co-founder at a startup called Mindstrong Health, which “has developed and patented a biomarker panel that measures brain function from interaction patterns captured passively and continuously from human-computer interfaces found in ubiquitous mobile technology.”

Robert Califf

Entering the Verily realm is Robert Califf. The ex-FDA commissioner previously worked with Verily head Andew Conrad before to heading up the agency. He’s also back at Duke University. “After concluding what has been an amazing experience as FDA Commissioner, I’m excited to turn to a new career with Verily and Duke University,” says Califf in his Verily blog post.

→  Almost exactly four years after being named permanent chief scientific officer at Biogen, Spyros Artavanis-Tsakonas has quietly left the company. The cell biology specialist has been a professor at Harvard Medical School since 1999. And now he’s headed back with funding from Biogen on new research into neurodegenerative diseases. The big biotech gets an option on licensing new tech from his lab in exchange for the funding.

→  Former Sarepta CEO Chris Garabedian has won $15 million from some loyal backers at Perceptive Advisors to establish Xontogeny, which promises to guide biotech startups through the first critical stage of development leading to proof-of-concept data. Garabedian is running the show and he’s now recruiting a team.

Patrick Amstutz has made the jump from interim CEO to the real deal. Amstutz helmed Molecular Partners after Christian Zahn left the job late last year.

Oxitec CEO Hadyn Parry is joining the mother ship. Parry has been bumped up to VP of corporate development, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa for Intrexon. Look for Mark Carnegie-Brown to be in charge of Oxitec as the new CEO.

→  Israel’s Alcobra said that CEO Yaron Daniely is stepping down to head up the tech transfer arm at Hebrew University.

CytomX is shuffling the deck, with Bob Goetz exiting the CFO position of the South San Francisco, CA-based biotech to “pursue new opportunities.” Debanjan Ray is now the new CFO and head of corporate development. “Debanjan has been instrumental to CytomX’s business success, including structuring and executing collaborations that have resulted in more than $300 million in upfront and milestone payments to date and total potential deal value in excess of $5 billion,” said CEO Sean McCarthy.

→ Actinium CEO Kaushik J. Dave and Chief Technology Officer Dragan Cicic have both resigned from the company


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Skyhawk Therapeutics Waltham, MA
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Elektroki Boston, MA
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Elektroki Boston, MA
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Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT

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