Peer Review

Peer Review: J&J woos Merck’s Mathai Mammen to helm of pharma R&D; Merrimack, Bayer, and Axovant expand leadership teams

→  Merrimack expanded its team with a new CMO and head of human resources. The new CMO, Sergio Santillana comes from Ariad, and Ellen Forest, head of human resources, previously served at Baxalta. “With funding into the second half of 2019 to support our corporate objectives, a refined strategic focus and experienced teams in place to execute, we are poised to deliver on the long-term potential of our pipeline for cancer patients and our shareholders,” said president and CEO Richard Peters in a press release.

→  Teva is nominating four new board members, who will need to be approved by shareholders at the company’s annual meeting on July 13. Among their first order of business will be the choose a new CEO for the struggling giant.

→  J&J is changing leadership in their R&D group. The company recruited Merck SVP Mathai Mammen to take Bill Hait’s role as pharma R&D chief, according to a statement out Wednesday night. Hait, meanwhile, is switching to a new job as global head of external innovation.

→  Christoph Westphal is leaving the helm of his latest biotech flop. A little more than two years after debuting their IPO with a $16 share price, tiny Flex Pharma $FLKS announced that serial entrepreneur Westphal is handing the lead role to R&D chief William McVicar, at least on an interim basis, and staying on as chairman.

→  Bayer expanded its oncology team by adding Rebecca Jolley as senior vice president and commercial head, oncology and Scott Fields, senior vice president and pharmaceutical development head, oncology.

→  Axovant hired six new executive team members: Stephen Mohr, general counsel; Eric Floyd, senior vice president, regulatory affairs; Thomas Templeman, senior vice president, pharmaceutical operations and quality assurance; Mark Wadley senior vice president, U.S. business; and Samina Bari, vice president, corporate communications. Lastly, Shankar Ramaswamy, already an executive team member, stepped into the role of vice president, global and medical affairs.

→  UniQure has appointed Steven Zelenkofske as its new chief medical officer. Last year, the company went through a slew of staffing changes, including an abrupt departure of their CEO.


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