Pe­ter Ciriel­lo takes over the reins at Vy­gon USA; Mirum Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals taps Ian Clements to the role of CFO

Pe­ter Ciriel­lo has climbed to the up­per ech­e­lons of the French med­ical de­vice mak­er Vy­gon Group. He will run the com­pa­ny’s US op­er­a­tions from the com­pa­ny’s head­quar­ters in Penn­syl­va­nia and is al­so tasked with over­see­ing ac­tiv­i­ties at the New Hamp­shire fa­cil­i­ty. Ciriel­lo joined Vy­gon in 2018 and takes over from Les Davies, who served as CEO, Vy­gon UK and VP for the UK/North Amer­i­can re­gion. Ciriel­lo pre­vi­ous­ly served as co-founder and man­ag­ing part­ner at Clear­wa­ter Or­gan­ic Farms.

→ Af­ter re­gain­ing two liv­er dis­ease drugs from Shire and mak­ing its pub­lic de­but with a $67.3 mil­lion IPO, Mirum Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has pro­mot­ed SVP, fi­nance of com­mu­ni­ca­tions Ian Clements to CFO. Clements joined the com­pa­ny in May 2019 af­ter a stint as VP of in­vestor re­la­tions at Der­mi­ra. He pre­vi­ous­ly worked with To­bi­ra, Avanir Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Se­quenom and The Trout Group.

Scott Holmes Dis­arm

Dis­arm Ther­a­peu­tics — in­cu­bat­ed out of At­las Ven­ture’s Cam­bridge, MA hatch­ing grounds and led by for­mer CEO of En­zy­vant Alvin Shihhas wel­comed Scott Holmes as CFO. Holmes joins the com­pa­ny af­ter a stint as CFO at Kiadis Phar­ma, where he led the ac­qui­si­tion of Cy­toSen Ther­a­peu­tics. Be­fore that, Holmes served at Keryx Bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and AM­AG Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

→ Af­ter sign­ing off on €120 mil­lion deal to pur­chase Ex­pe­deon AG‘s pro­teomics and im­munol­o­gy busi­ness last No­vem­ber, Ab­cam has ap­point­ed Michael Bal­dock as CFO and board mem­ber. Bal­dock has tak­en the role af­ter a stint as a found­ing part­ner at On­dra Part­ners, where he ad­vised Ab­cam for sev­er­al years. Bal­dock’s pre­vi­ous­ly worked with HS­BC, Lazard, Bent­ley Health Care, and SG War­burg.

→ Eye-fo­cused Avel­li­no Labs has named Chris Lehman as CFO. Lehman ar­rives at the com­pa­ny as it pre­pares to make its pub­lic de­but on the Ko­re­an stock ex­change. Most re­cent­ly, Lehman served in the same po­si­tion at Eu­re­ka Ther­a­peu­tics. Lehman’s pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence in­cludes roles at Co­herus Bio­sciences, Quin­tiles and Genen­cor In­ter­na­tion­al (ac­quired by DuPont de Nemours).

→ While prepar­ing for the po­ten­tial ap­proval of their Mul­ti­Stem cell ther­a­py Ather­sys has tapped Ivor Macleod as CFO. Macleod served as CFO and CCO of Ei­sai be­fore mak­ing the leap over to Ather­sys. Pri­or to that, he held roles at Mer­ck, Hoff­man-La Roche, and Boehringer Mannheim Ther­a­peu­tics.

→ Wall Street new­bie BioN­Tech — which ob­tained a €50 mil­lion (around $55 mil­lion) loan from the Eu­ro­pean In­vest­ment Bank last month — has ap­point­ed Ryan Richard­son as CSO and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor. Richard­son joined the com­pa­ny in 2018 as SVP, cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment & strat­e­gy. Be­fore that, Richard­son was at JP Mor­gan in Lon­don.

→ French life sci­ence VC Sofinno­va Part­ners has pro­mot­ed Michael Krel to part­ner in its in­dus­tri­al biotech­nol­o­gy team. Pre­vi­ous­ly, he served as prin­ci­pal on the team, fo­cus­ing on ear­ly-stage deals in Eu­rope and North Amer­i­ca. Krel joined the com­pa­ny as a se­nior as­so­ciate in 2013.

Rac­quel Brack­en Ven­rock

Ven­rock has pro­mot­ed two mem­bers of their tech team to the po­si­tion of part­ner — Ethan Ba­tras­ki and Rac­quel Brack­en. Ba­tras­ki joined the com­pa­ny in 2017 af­ter stints at Face­book, Box and Ya­hoo! Brack­en hopped over to Ven­rock in 2016,  af­ter serv­ing as CEO of Fed­er­a­tion Bio, lead­ing a Se­ries B round for Cyteir and a stint at Clo­vis On­col­o­gy. In ad­di­tion, the com­pa­ny wel­comed Todd Gra­ham to the tech team as VP in Pa­lo Al­to. Gra­ham makes the leap over to Ven­rock from Cis­co.

At­las-backed Dyne Ther­a­peu­tics has brought on Mol­ly White as VP, med­ical com­mu­ni­ca­tions and ad­vo­ca­cy. White pre­vi­ous­ly served as the CEO of My­oton­ic (for­mer­ly My­oton­ic Dy­s­tro­phy Foun­da­tion)

→ For­mer Gilead ex­ec John Mar­tin is hop­ping on­to the board of di­rec­tors at Sarep­ta Ther­a­peu­tics — which se­cured a $1.15 bil­lion DMD deal with Roche last month. Mar­tin served a 20-year tenure as CEO of Gilead.

→ MIT pro­fes­sor Bob Langer — who, along with Dan An­der­son, li­censed siR­NA de­liv­ery tech to Verseau for $50 mil­lion last Oc­to­ber — has joined the sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board at can­cer-fo­cused  Gen­eMed­i­cine.

→ While blue­bird bio be­gins rolling out its $1.8 mil­lion gene ther­a­py Zyte­glo in Eu­rope, the com­pa­ny has tapped for­mer Cel­gene ex­ec Nico­la Hef­fron to head its Eu­ro­pean op­er­a­tions. Hef­fron is suc­ceed­ing An­drew Oben­shain — new ti­tle of “chief of wings” — who is head­ing to the com­pa­ny’s Boston of­fice to join CEO Nick Leschly.

→ Af­ter los­ing their CEO last month, Ipsen — which is grap­pling with an FDA hold on its lead rare dis­ease drug palo­varotenehas tapped for­mer Mer­ck Serono ex­ec Steven Hilde­mann as EVP, chief med­ical of­fi­cer, head of glob­al med­ical af­fairs and phar­ma­covig­i­lance. Dur­ing his time at Mer­ck, Hilde­mann served as CMO and SVP and head of glob­al med­ical af­fairs and pa­tient safe­ty. His pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence spans Mer­ck/Scher­ing Plough, Am­gen and Pfiz­er/Phar­ma­cia.

Fangliang Zhang, AP Images

UP­DAT­ED: Leg­end fetch­es $424 mil­lion, emerges as biggest win­ner yet in pan­dem­ic IPO boom as shares soar

Amid a flurry of splashy pandemic IPOs, a J&J-partnered Chinese biotech has emerged with one of the largest public raises in biotech history.

Legend Biotech, the Nanjing-based CAR-T developer, has raised $424 million on NASDAQ. The biotech had originally filed for a still-hefty $350 million, based on a range of $18-$20, but managed to fetch $23 per share, allowing them to well-eclipse the massive raises from companies like Allogene, Juno, Galapagos, though they’ll still fall a few dollars short of Moderna’s record-setting $600 million raise from 2018.

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As it hap­pened: A bid­ding war for an an­tibi­ot­ic mak­er in a mar­ket that has rav­aged its peers

In a bewildering twist to the long-suffering market for antibiotics — there has actually been a bidding war for an antibiotic company: Tetraphase.

It all started back in March, when the maker of Xerava (an FDA approved therapy for complicated intra-abdominal infections) said it had received an offer from AcelRx for an all-stock deal valued at $14.4 million.

The offer was well-timed. Xerava was approved in 2018, four years after Tetraphase posted its first batch of pivotal trial data, and sales were nowhere near where they needed to be in order for the company to keep its head above water.

Drug man­u­fac­tur­ing gi­ant Lon­za taps Roche/phar­ma ‘rein­ven­tion’ vet as its new CEO

Lonza chairman Albert Baehny took his time headhunting a new CEO for the company, making it absolutely clear he wanted a Big Pharma or biotech CEO with a good long track record in the business for the top spot. In the end, he went with the gold standard, turning to Roche’s ranks to recruit Pierre-Alain Ruffieux for the job.

Ruffieux, a member of the pharma leadership team at Roche, spent close to 5 years at the company. But like a small army of manufacturing execs, he gained much of his experience at the other Big Pharma in Basel, remaining at Novartis for 12 years before expanding his horizons.

Covid-19 roundup: Ab­b­Vie jumps in­to Covid-19 an­ti­body hunt; As­traZeneca shoots for 2B dos­es of Ox­ford vac­cine — with $750M from CEPI, Gavi

Another Big Pharma is entering the Covid-19 antibody hunt.

AbbVie has announced a collaboration with the Netherlands’ Utrecht University and Erasmus Medical Center and the Chinese-Dutch biotech Harbour Biomed to develop a neutralizing antibody that can treat Covid-19. The antibody, called 47D11, was discovered by AbbVie’s three partners, and AbbVie will support early preclinical work, while preparing for later preclinical and clinical development. Researchers described the antibody in Nature Communications last month.

President Donald Trump (left) and Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed (Alex Brandon, AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: White House names fi­nal­ists for Op­er­a­tion Warp Speed — with 5 ex­pect­ed names and one no­table omis­sion

A month after word first broke of the Trump Administration’s plan to rapidly accelerate the development and production of a Covid-19 vaccine, the White House has selected the five vaccine candidates they consider most likely to succeed, The New York Times reported.

Most of the names in the plan, known as Operation Warp Speed, will come as little surprise to those who have watched the last four months of vaccine developments: Moderna, which was the first vaccine to reach humans and is now the furthest along of any US effort; J&J, which has not gone into trials but received around $500 million in funding from BARDA earlier this year; the joint AstraZeneca-Oxford venture which was granted $1.2 billion from BARDA two weeks ago; Pfizer, which has been working with the mRNA biotech BioNTech; and Merck, which just entered the race and expects to put their two vaccine candidates into humans later this year.

Is a pow­er­house Mer­ck team prepar­ing to leap past Roche — and leave Gilead and Bris­tol My­ers be­hind — in the race to TIG­IT dom­i­na­tion?

Roche caused quite a stir at ASCO with its first look at some positive — but not so impressive — data for their combination of Tecentriq with their anti-TIGIT drug tiragolumab. But some analysts believe that Merck is positioned to make a bid — soon — for the lead in the race to a second-wave combo immuno-oncology approach with its own ambitious early-stage program tied to a dominant Keytruda.

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Mer­ck wins a third FDA nod for an­tibi­ot­ic; Mereo tack­les TIG­IT with $70M raise in hand

Merck — one of the last big pharma bastions in the beleaguered field of antibiotic drug development — on Friday said the FDA had signed off on using its combination drug, Recarbrio, with hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia and ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia. The drug could come handy for use in hospitalized patients who are afflicted with Covid-19, who carry a higher risk of contracting secondary bacterial infections. Once SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind Covid-19, infects the airways, it engages the immune system, giving other pathogens free rein to pillage and plunder as they please — the issue is particularly pertinent in patients on ventilators, which in any case are breeding grounds for infectious bacteria.

RA Cap­i­tal, Hill­house join $310M rush to back Ever­est's climb to com­mer­cial heights in Chi­na

Money has never been an issue for Everest Medicines. With an essentially open tab from their founders at C-Bridge Capital, the biotech has gone two and a half years racking up drug after drug, bringing in top exec after top exec, and issuing clinical update after update.

But now other investors want in — and they’re betting big.

Everest is closing its Series C at $310 million. The first $50 million comes from the Jiashan National Economic and Technological Development Zone; the remaining C-2 tranche was led by Janchor Partners, with RA Capital Management and Hillhouse Capital as co-leaders. Decheng Capital, GT Fund, Janus Henderson Investors, Rock Springs Capital, Octagon Investments all joined.

Pfiz­er’s Doug Gior­dano has $500M — and some ad­vice — to of­fer a cer­tain breed of 'break­through' biotech

So let’s say you’re running a cutting-edge, clinical-stage biotech, probably public, but not necessarily so, which could see some big advantages teaming up with some marquee researchers, picking up say $50 million to $75 million dollars in a non-threatening minority equity investment that could take you to the next level.

Doug Giordano might have some thoughts on how that could work out.

The SVP of business development at the pharma giant has helped forge a new fund called the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative. And he has $500 million of Pfizer’s money to put behind 7 to 10 — or so — biotech stocks that fit that general description.

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