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Pfizer reshuffles top ranks with Albert Bourla as COO; Intra-cellular nabs Novartis vet Andrew Satlin as CMO

Albert Bourla

Pfizer has promoted its Innovative Health chief Albert Bourla to the new role of chief operating officer, where he’s been given a special mandate to oversee the day-to-day activity around product development, sales and strategy. This has been interpreted as CEO Ian Read’s way of anointing his successor, although that is far from certain. The move, which becomes official on January 1, triggered a reshuffle in the top ranks at Pfizer. John Young, who heads Pfizer Essential Health, takes Bourla’s old job, while Angela Hwang succeeds Young.

→ New York-based Intra-Cellular Therapies has brought on Andrew Satlin as chief medical officer. The biotech specializing in central nervous system disorders managed to raise $150 million early October partly to fund the pre-launch and commercial activities for lumateperone, their lead drug in schizophrenia, claiming that safety concerns brought up in March have been cleared. That’s great timing for Satlin to join, they say, as the Novartis vet brings insight from being the global head of medicine creation strategy, neurology business group at Eisai.

→ Dual Flagship Pioneering and Alexion vet Jeremy Springhorn has taken on the chief business officer role at Cambridge, MA based Syros Therapeutics. As one of the inventors of Soliris, Spinghorn will be responsible for business development and strategic planning across the biotech’s $SYRS wide-ranged pipeline.

MacroGenics $MGNX, the biotech developing monoclonal antibody-based therapeutics that just out-licensed a PD-1 checkpoint drug to Incyte, has named J&J retiree Jay Siegel to its board of directors. Siegel spent the first two decades of his career as a regulator with the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research before joining the Big Pharma in 2003, eventually taking up R&D and regulatory affairs roles.

→ In a boost to their consulting practice, contract research organization Parexel has recruited three regulatory/drug development staffers as their new vice presidents: Robert Iser, VP of regulatory consulting service; Bob (Bhardwaj) Desai, VP of consulting, technical (oncology); and Chang Lee, VP of consulting, APAC. Together, the trio brings experience from the FDA and industry giants such Pfizer and AbbVie — key selling points as the CRO tries to prove it has much to offer outside the lab.

Bayer’s $BAYN head of consumer health Erica Mann is departing next March, and the company has tapped a longtime Nestlé executive to fill her shoes. Heiko Schipper, who led the infant nutrition division while serving as deputy executive vice president of Nestlé, will also join Bayer’s board of management.

Tony de Fougerolles, formerly chief scientific officer at Ablynx, is the new CEO of Oxford, UK-based Evox Therapeutics. He takes over from co-founder Per Lundin, who will now focus on being COO. The young biotech aims to create a platform technology utilizing exosomes — “foundational transporters in the human body” — to create biotherapeutics, and figures it could use some help from de Fougerolles, who has also helped advance pipelines for Moderna and Alnylam.

Eugene Kennedy has been promoted from VP of clinical and medical affairs to chief medical officer at NewLink Genetics $NLNK, the biotech best known for its IDO inhibitor that has garnered (though sometimes lost) interest from big partners. His new role is an expansion of his previous job, involving the start of enrollment into NewLink’s pivotal trial of indoximod combos for advanced melanoma.

→ The small crew at Mustang Bio has found a new member in Brian Achenbach, their new VP of finance and corporate controller who will assume responsibilities previously held by interim CFO David Horin. His finance and accounting expertise, last exercised at Amerigen after stints at ConvaTec and Mylan, will be needed as the tiny biotech tries to tackle giants in the CAR-T field.

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Mike Burgess is leaving Big Pharma behind and becoming president of research and development at Canada’s Turnstone Biologics, where he will lead all R&D activities. The role builds upon Burgess’ experience at BMS heading translational research and cancer development, after stints at Roche and Eli Lilly. In a statement, Burgess expressed confidence in the oncolytic contender’s two-in-one cancer vaccine, which got a boost from AbbVie just last month: “Turnstone Biologics is uniquely positioned to deliver breakthrough viral-based immunotherapies for patients with cancer. … I look forward to working closely with Turnstone’s experienced team and founders, who are driven by science and innovation, to bring these breakthrough medicines to patients.”

→ The Medicines Company $MDCO has brought Pfizer vet Geno Germano onto its board. Germano most recently was president of Intrexon but left after a short stint. Chairman Fredric Eshelman, meanwhile, is being bumped up to executive chairman.

CRISPR Therapeutics announced that Michael Tomsicek, formerly of medical implant manufacturer Abiomed and Merck-acquired pharma Cubist, will become its CFO. The news came on the same day the Swiss gene editing company $CRSP said it will team up with CureVac to develop improved Cas9 mRNA constructs for in vivo gene editing, together with its joint venture Casebia.



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