Pierre Beau­rang hits the ground run­ning at his 3rd start­up; Mike Grey poach­es Astel­las deal­mak­er to head pro­tein degra­da­tion play­er

Pierre Beau­rang

As Ni­trome Bio­sciences — a biotech found­ed in 2017 to fo­cus on a class of en­zymes called ni­trases — re­brands to Ni­trase Ther­a­peu­tics, the com­pa­ny is al­so bring­ing on a new CEO: Pierre Beau­rang.

In Ni­trase’s state­ment ear­li­er this week an­nounc­ing its new CEO, the biotech said that the founder and now-for­mer CEO — Irene Gris­wold-Pren­ner — will stay on with Ni­trase as the new CSO. And this new ap­point­ment comes in tan­dem with the biotech’s Se­ries A ex­pan­sion, where Bris­tol My­ers Squibb be­came an in­vestor along­side Ab­b­Vie and Sofinno­va Part­ners, bring­ing the to­tal amount raised to $45 mil­lion.

If you rec­og­nize Beau­rang’s name, you may re­mem­ber him as the for­mer CBO at Nurix — and as one of the found­ing team mem­bers at Five Prime Ther­a­peu­tics two decades ago.

Irene Gris­wold-Pren­ner

Beau­rang first start­ed in the bio sphere at Boston Uni­ver­si­ty, where he grad­u­at­ed with his bach­e­lor’s and mas­ter’s in bi­ol­o­gy and biotech­nol­o­gy — be­fore mov­ing to UC-Berke­ley to earn a PhD in mol­e­c­u­lar and cell bi­ol­o­gy.

Af­ter Berke­ley, he was a part of the team that found­ed Five Prime back in 2001 — where he spent the next 16 years work­ing up to ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. And he was on­ly in that po­si­tion for less than a year be­fore go­ing over to Nurix.

When we spoke with Beau­rang, he told us that he took the po­si­tion at Ni­trase for three rea­sons: be­cause of the op­por­tu­ni­ty it pro­vid­ed; be­cause it fit his 3 per­son­al “Ps” that he looks for in op­por­tu­ni­ties — peo­ple, plat­form, and pipeline; and be­cause it felt like Nurix and Five Prime.

“One of the feel­ings I felt when I was ap­proached about this op­por­tu­ni­ty is that it re­mind­ed me very much of what Nurix was when I joined that com­pa­ny sev­en years ago. At Ni­trase, to say we’re the lead­ers in ni­trase ther­a­peu­tics? That’s — that’s true. When I joined Nurix, at that time, we were say­ing we were the lead­ers in lig­ase ther­a­peu­tics, and that was true at that time,” Beau­rang said.

“And we want­ed to own that space, just like we are own­ing the space in net­works or build­ings. And so there were a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties there. And again, the same thing — the peo­ple, the plat­form, the ear­ly pipelines — all those things were kind of aligned with them­selves,” Beau­rang added. “And that takes me back to what we did at Five Prime in the very ear­ly days, again, hav­ing the right peo­ple, build­ing a plat­form that can fill the pipeline, those three el­e­ments.”

Since Beau­rang came on board at Ni­trase two months ago, he has had a few ob­jec­tives to kick off his time as CEO — from ex­pand­ing Ni­trase’s R&D in dif­fer­ent ther­a­peu­tic ar­eas to hir­ing on more em­ploy­ees and po­si­tion­ing the com­pa­ny for po­ten­tial part­ner­ships.

The San Fran­cis­co biotech has a lead pro­gram po­ten­tial­ly for Parkin­son’s dis­ease, tar­get­ing a ni­trase for the pop­u­lar synu­cle­in tar­get — which, ac­cord­ing to Beau­rang, formed the ba­sis of Ni­trase’s plat­form. The team is al­so look­ing at di­ver­si­fy­ing its pipeline in­to on­col­o­gy, fi­brot­ic dis­eases and im­munol­o­gy.

And since the com­pa­ny has on­ly 17 or so em­ploy­ees, the num­ber of em­ploy­ees will change, de­pend­ing on what part­ner­ships or oth­er projects Ni­trase takes on. As for more specifics? You’ll have to wait for those.

Paul Schloess­er


Per­ci­val Bar­ret­to-Ko

→ Back in Jan­u­ary, Plex­i­um put more cash in the hop­per with a $35 mil­lion Se­ries B and made ex-Am­plyx CEO Mike Grey chair­man. The San Diego pro­tein degra­da­tion biotech has poached Per­ci­val Bar­ret­to-Ko from Astel­las to be pres­i­dent and CEO, suc­ceed­ing Swamy Vi­jayan and end­ing a 16-year run at the Japan­ese phar­ma. A mere nine months ago, Bar­ret­to-Ko took the CBO job at Astel­las af­ter three years as pres­i­dent of Astel­las US. This marks the sec­ond straight week that a pro­tein degra­da­tion com­pa­ny based in San Diego has named a chief ex­ec­u­tive fol­low­ing the ap­point­ment of Bio­Th­eryX CEO Philippe Drou­et.

Aaron Cox

→ Paul Hoelsch­er has an­nounced his re­tire­ment as CFO of Hori­zon Ther­a­peu­tics, which is turn­ing to one of their own to suc­ceed him. Hoelsch­er steps aside on May 16, 2022, in fa­vor of Aaron Cox, a Hori­zon staffer since 2016 who earns the ti­tle of EVP, fi­nance un­til he takes over. A for­mer ex­ec at BMO Cap­i­tal Mar­kets, Cox had been SVP of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment the last four years at the Dublin-based biotech that bought As­traZeneca spin­off Viela Bio and its neu­romyelitis op­ti­ca spec­trum dis­or­der (NMOSD) drug Up­liz­na for $3 bil­lion in Feb­ru­ary. Hoelsch­er will re­main with Hori­zon in an ad­vi­so­ry role un­til May 2023.

An­drew Drech­sler

→ On the sub­ject of CFO re­tire­ments, there’s an­oth­er one tak­ing place at Proven­tion Bio as An­drew Drech­sler has de­cid­ed to hang up the cleats af­ter four years on the job and al­most 30 years in the busi­ness over­all. Proven­tion Bio has al­ready lined up Alex­ion’s Thier­ry Chauche to take over as fi­nance chief on Dec. 1, and Drech­sler will stay un­til mid-2002 as a spe­cial ad­vi­sor to CEO Ash­leigh Palmer. Chauche was pre­vi­ous­ly the head of strate­gic fi­nan­cial plan­ning and analy­sis at Alex­ion, which is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a con­sis­tent drain in tal­ent fol­low­ing the sale to As­traZeneca. Ear­li­er, Chauche was VP of FP&A at In­ter­cept and has a Big Phar­ma back­ground at No­var­tis and Bris­tol My­ers Squibb.

Fabi­an Tenen­baum

Fabi­an Tenen­baum has in­formed Peer Re­view that he has been ap­point­ed CEO of Is­raeli im­muno-on­col­o­gy start­up Nectin Ther­a­peu­tics as it de­vel­ops a pipeline that in­cludes AD­Cs, CAR-T and CAR-NK cell ther­a­pies. Tenen­baum, the for­mer CEO of Bellerophon Ther­a­peu­tics, has al­so been CBO and CFO of An­te­rios Ther­a­peu­tics, which was sold to Al­ler­gan for $90 mil­lion up­front at the start of 2016.

An­ni­ka Muskan­tor

→ It hasn’t been peach­es and cream at all for On­copep­tides late­ly — a cou­ple weeks ago its mul­ti­ple myelo­ma drug Pepax­to got yanked from the US mar­ket, which in turn pum­meled the stock. A week ear­li­er, CFO An­ders Mar­tin-Löf re­signed for per­son­al rea­sons af­ter three years on the job, and the Stock­holm biotech has turned to An­ni­ka Muskan­tor to suc­ceed him in an in­ter­im ca­pac­i­ty be­gin­ning Mon­day. Muskan­tor, most re­cent­ly the fi­nance chief at Stock­holm-based Frisq, has been an in­ter­im group CFO be­fore at Sci­en­ta Omi­cron and So­bi, among oth­er com­pa­nies.

Stew­art Camp­bell

→ Last week Ipsen CBO Philippe Lopes-Fer­nan­des gave our Nicole De­Feud­is an in­side look at the com­pa­ny in the year since he took the job, and now Ipsen has giv­en Stew­art Camp­bell a dif­fer­ent role: EVP and pres­i­dent of North Amer­i­ca. Just this year, Camp­bell joined CEO David Loew’s squad as SVP and fran­chise head of on­col­o­gy fol­low­ing a 15-year run at Roche/Genen­tech that saw him take on a col­lage of roles work­ing with such block­busters as Rit­ux­an and Kad­cy­la, end­ing with his time as life­cy­cle leader, glob­al prod­uct strat­e­gy.

Stephanie Brown

→ Swiss-based San­thera has been rid­ing the strug­gle bus for awhile, punc­tu­at­ed by a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in its staff af­ter scrap­ping a Duchenne mus­cu­lar dy­s­tro­phy pro­gram in Oc­to­ber 2020. But hit­ting the pri­ma­ry end­point with an­oth­er Duchenne drug, va­morolone, in a Phase IIb study has giv­en San­thera rea­son for op­ti­mism, and Stephanie Brown will be pres­i­dent, North Amer­i­ca start­ing Dec. 1. Brown’s ca­reer is a ver­i­ta­ble Big Phar­ma sam­pler, tak­ing on lead­er­ship po­si­tions at Take­da, Bio­gen, Mer­ck and Genen­tech. She will jump to San­thera next month af­ter clos­ing out her tenure as Ipsen’s SVP and head of the rare dis­eases fran­chise, North Amer­i­ca.

Vick­ie Reed

→ Ac­cord­ing to an SEC fil­ing Mon­day, both COO Daniel Fa­ga and CMO Joseph Lev­eque are out at Mi­rati, while chief ac­count­ing of­fi­cer Vick­ie Reed has stepped in­to the role of CFO. Af­ter his Fer­Gene flame­out, David Meek will now re­tool his lead­er­ship a month and a half in­to his tenure as CEO, shep­herd­ing Mi­rati through an NDA slat­ed for Q4 with a KRAS in­hibitor that it hopes can put a dent in Am­gen’s Lumakras in non-small cell lung can­cer. Mi­rati al­so took the wraps off pos­i­tive colon can­cer da­ta for that same drug, ada­gra­sib, in Sep­tem­ber.

→ On Dec. 3, Er­ic Mur­phy will walk away as CSO of Ni­ma Farzan’s can­cer biotech Kin­nate Bio­phar­ma “to pur­sue a new op­por­tu­ni­ty.” This isn’t good­bye com­plete­ly for Mur­phy, who stays on as a mem­ber of the sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board at the Cal­i­for­nia-based de­vel­op­er of small mol­e­cule ki­nase in­hibitors. Af­ter a whop­ping $276 mil­lion IPO at the tail end of the 2020 gold rush, Kin­nate es­tab­lished a sub­sidiary in Shang­hai with the as­sis­tance of Or­biMed and Fore­site Cap­i­tal in May.

Jielun Zhu

→ Fresh off a new al­liance with Sinopharm, Shang­hai-based I-Mab has shift­ed CFO Jielun Zhu to chief strat­e­gy of­fi­cer and named John Long as fi­nance lead in his stead. Zhu, the CFO since Au­gust 2018, steered I-Mab to an IPO that cracked the $100 mil­lion mark in Jan­u­ary 2020, the first Chi­nese biotech to hit Nas­daq since Saman­tha Du’s Zai Lab in 2017. Long will be­come part of I-Mab’s board of di­rec­tors and has pre­vi­ous­ly been SVP of fi­nance at WuXi AppTec.

→ San Diego-based Aca­dia — forced by the FDA to re­assess its sN­DA for Nu­plazid af­ter the agency sad­dled the neu­ro biotech with a CRL in April — has pro­mot­ed Bren­dan Tee­han to EVP, COO, head of com­mer­cial. Tee­han has swift­ly climbed the lad­der here af­ter join­ing Aca­dia in 2018 as VP, com­mer­cial in­sights, an­a­lyt­ics & op­er­a­tions; since Jan­u­ary he had held the ti­tle of chief in­sights and an­a­lyt­ics of­fi­cer. The J&J and Am­gen vet al­so logged two years as VP, provider so­lu­tions at Tesaro.

Marc Rudoltz

Tan­go in the night: Un­der the lead­er­ship of Bar­bara We­ber, pre­ci­sion on­col­o­gy play­er Tan­go Ther­a­peu­tics found a dance part­ner to light up the biotech ball­room in April, re­verse merg­ing with Box­er Cap­i­tal’s blank-check com­pa­ny BCTG Ac­qui­si­tion Corp. Tan­go has now tapped Marc Rudoltz as CMO and Doug Bar­ry as gen­er­al coun­sel to shore up the lead­er­ship. Rudoltz is a No­var­tis vet in clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment (with Gleevec and Tasigna) who has held the CMO job on an in­ter­im ba­sis at Wind­MIL Ther­a­peu­tics, De­ci­phera Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Con­stel­la­tion Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. Bar­ry was pre­vi­ous­ly VP of cor­po­rate law at Alex­ion.

Christo­pher Lea­mon

→ As ra­dio­phar­ma con­tin­ues to siz­zle, Fu­sion Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals — a Cana­di­an biotech in the space that burst on­to Nas­daq with a $212.5 mil­lion IPO last sum­mer — has se­lect­ed Christo­pher Lea­mon as CSO. Lea­mon was VP of re­search and lat­er pres­i­dent of En­do­cyte, the ra­dio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal play­er No­var­tis bought in 2018 for $2.1 bil­lion. And just be­fore he took this gig at Fu­sion, Lea­mon served as No­var­tis’ ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, ra­di­oli­gand drug dis­cov­ery. Er­ic Bu­rak, Fu­sion’s on­ly oth­er chief sci­en­tist since its launch, will now shift to chief tech­nol­o­gy of­fi­cer.

Joel Bar­rish

Roche im­munol­o­gy and neu­rol­o­gy part­ner Jnana Ther­a­peu­tics has bumped up its co-founder Joel Bar­rish to pres­i­dent and CSO. A 27-year vet­er­an of Bris­tol My­ers, Bar­rish helped found Jnana af­ter a short stay as CSO of Achillion, and he’s al­so on the sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board at Ko­jin Ther­a­peu­tics, led by new CEO Lu­ba Green­wood. The Stu­art Schreiber-found­ed Jnana, fo­cused on solute car­ri­er (SLC) trans­porters, en­joyed a $50 mil­lion Se­ries B haul in Au­gust that was head­lined by RA Cap­i­tal.

Sta­cy Price

→ Boston hear­ing loss biotech Ak­ou­os has named Sta­cy Price as chief tech­ni­cal of­fi­cer, its first ma­jor hire since ex-Spark CMO Kathy Reape joined Man­ny Si­mons’ team in ear­ly May as chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer. Price es­capes the dra­ma at Zio­pharm On­col­o­gy — now un­der new man­age­ment af­ter the ac­tivist at­tack brouha­ha — where she was SVP of tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions. While with Shire, Price led phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal de­vel­op­ment op­er­a­tions and was in charge of CMC pro­gram man­age­ment.

→ Blend­ing to­geth­er with K5 Ther­a­peu­tics and gath­er­ing up a Se­ries A in Ju­ly co-led by No­vo Hold­ings and Sofinno­va Part­ners, Dan­ish neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease com­pa­ny Mu­na Ther­a­peu­tics has pegged Niels Plath as CSO. Plath had been a main­stay at a fa­mil­iar Dan­ish name, clos­ing out 16 years at Lund­beck as act­ing head of glob­al re­search and VP for neu­ro­science. Mu­na has its sights set on small mol­e­cule drugs for such dis­eases as Alzheimer’s, fron­totem­po­ral de­men­tia and Parkin­son’s.

Scott Gi­a­co­bel­lo

→ It didn’t take long for Los An­ge­les-based can­cer out­fit Aa­di Bio­science to resur­face in Peer Re­view, nam­ing Scott Gi­a­co­bel­lo CFO af­ter the ap­point­ment of CMO Loret­ta Itri last week. A for­mer fi­nance ex­ec for sev­en years at Al­ler­gan, Gi­a­co­bel­lo spent the last four years as CFO of GW Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, the mak­er of the cannabi­noid Epid­i­olex that Jazz Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals scooped up in a $7.2 buy­out in Feb­ru­ary. Gi­a­co­bel­lo’s first day at Aa­di is Nov. 28.

→ J&J vet Frank Wie­gand has leapfrogged to Ox­ford-based Beck­ley Psytech, which re­ceived $80 mil­lion in Se­ries B fund­ing this sum­mer, as CMO. Be­fore piv­ot­ing to Beck­ley, which is de­vel­op­ing ther­a­pies de­rived from psilo­cy­bin and “toad ven­om” for se­vere headaches and treat­ment-re­sis­tant de­pres­sion, Wie­gand spent more than 20 years with J&J, round­ing out his time at the phar­ma gi­ant as VP, glob­al med­ical af­fairs in neu­ro­science.

Greg MacMichael

→ Hous­ton neu­ro start­up Coya Ther­a­peu­tics is build­ing out its lead­er­ship ros­ter fur­ther by wel­com­ing Adri­an Hep­n­er as CMO and Greg MacMichael as chief tech­ni­cal of­fi­cer. Hep­n­er jumps to Coya from his dou­ble du­ty at Pharnext as CMO and head of R&D, and he spent his pre­vi­ous five years as the med­ical chief of Ea­gle Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. An Eli Lil­ly and No­var­tis alum, MacMichael held the same ti­tle at Cas­tle Creek Bio­sciences and has been a man­u­fac­tur­ing ex­ec with Ax­o­vant, Nan­tK­west and Rock­et Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

→ Gene, we hard­ly knew ye: Gene Mack seemed like he just took the CFO job 10 min­utes ago at Coya, but he’s al­ready had a change of heart and has be­come fi­nance chief at Im­cyse, a Bel­gian biotech de­vel­op­ing syn­thet­ic pep­tides called Imo­topes which is part­ner­ing with Pfiz­er on rheuma­toid arthri­tis ther­a­pies. Mack was pre­vi­ous­ly CFO at On­coIm­mune and its spin­out On­coC4.

David Kao

→ A tri­ad of new ex­ecs is hop­ing to strike the right chord at San Diego-based In­hi­brx, which rolled out re­sults in Oc­to­ber for its al­pha-1 an­tit­rypsin de­fi­cien­cy drug IN­BRX-101. Eli Lil­ly vet David Mat­ly (chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer) climbs aboard af­ter four years at No­var­tis On­col­o­gy, and in his fi­nal year he was the glob­al leader of the MDS/AML port­fo­lio. David Kao (VP of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs) owns reg­u­la­to­ry ex­pe­ri­ence from Roche, Dai­ichi Sankyo and Re­cep­tos/Cel­gene and was re­cent­ly de­vel­op­ment pro­gram lead (im­muno­science) at Bris­tol My­ers. And af­ter 12 years at Sanofi Gen­zyme, Jack Tsai (VP of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment) had a year-long stay as Take­da’s on­col­o­gy and cell ther­a­py new prod­uct busi­ness de­vel­op­ment lead be­fore tak­ing on this role.

Fi­nal­ly, San­ford Burn­ham Pre­bys Med­ical Dis­cov­ery In­sti­tute pres­i­dent Kris­ti­ina Vuori has been added to In­hi­brx’s board of di­rec­tors.

Jen­nifer Mi­nai-Azary

→ Philadel­phia-based women’s can­cer biotech Con­text Ther­a­peu­tics has an­nounced two up­dates to its C-suite. Jen­nifer Mi­nai-Azary has tak­en over as CFO this month, and back in April, ex-Te­va as­so­ciate gen­er­al coun­sel Alex Lev­it was ap­point­ed chief le­gal of­fi­cer. Most re­cent­ly, Mi­nai-Azary served as CFO at Mil­len­do Ther­a­peu­tics, and Lev­it was VP, deputy gen­er­al coun­sel and as­sis­tant cor­po­rate sec­re­tary of Opti­Nose.

Kia Mote­sharei

→ One of the biotechs tack­ling the rid­dle wrapped in a mys­tery in­side of an enig­ma known as NASH, Penn­syl­va­nia-based Madri­gal Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has re­cruit­ed Stephen Dodge as glob­al head of med­ical af­fairs and Kia Mote­sharei as SVP, busi­ness & cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment. Dodge worked in med­ical af­fairs at Mer­ck, No­vo Nordisk and No­var­tis, chang­ing course here af­ter two years at In­ter­cept that con­clud­ed as cholesta­sis pro­gram head. Mote­sharei just had a quick stay at an­oth­er com­pa­ny out of Penn­syl­va­nia, NeuBase Ther­a­peu­tics, as chief busi­ness and strat­e­gy of­fi­cer. The ex-Gen­fit CFO has al­so been a busi­ness de­vel­op­ment ex­ec at EMD Serono and Akcea.

Livi­ja De­ban

Livi­ja De­ban has been pro­mot­ed to CSO at Prokar­i­um, a mi­cro­bial im­munother­a­py biotech out of Lon­don with a lead pro­gram that tar­gets non-mus­cle in­va­sive blad­der can­cer. De­ban, a Prokar­i­um ex­ec since 2018, pre­vi­ous­ly got el­e­vat­ed to VP of re­search in 2020 from her orig­i­nal post — VP of im­munol­o­gy and on­col­o­gy. Kris­ten Al­bright re­ceived the ul­ti­mate pro­mo­tion in Ju­ly at Prokar­i­um, vault­ing to CEO af­ter a year as COO.

Ted Danse

Ted Danse has hit the ground run­ning as head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment at Seat­tle pres­by­opia biotech Vi­s­us Ther­a­peu­tics, which bagged a $36 mil­lion Se­ries A in March. Danse, an Al­ler­gan and Scher­ing-Plough alum, is the ex-CEO of ISTA Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Neu­rotech. Else­where at Vi­s­us, SV Health In­vestors ven­ture part­ner David Guy­er has been named chair­man of the board af­ter serv­ing as an ad­vi­sor since the com­pa­ny was found­ed in 2019.

→ CD­MO AGC Bi­o­log­ics has re­cruit­ed Jean-Bap­tiste Ag­nus as CBO. Ag­nus hails from Aji­nomo­to Bio-Phar­ma Ser­vices. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, Ag­nus has served at No­vasep and Isochem.

Bri­an John­son is mak­ing his way back to No­van to take back the man­tle of his for­mer job as CCO. John­son’s been busy since he part­ed ways with the com­pa­ny in 2018, busy work­ing stints at Two Hearts Group, UCB and Gal­der­ma. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, John­son for­mer­ly served at Re­vian, No­var­tis, Or­tho Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and Medicis.

→ Pa­lo Al­to, CA-based 180 Life Sci­ences has reeled in Quan Vu as COO/CBO. Vu hops aboard with ex­pe­ri­ence from his times at LS As­so­ci­ates, Baleena Bio­science, Opi­ant Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, An­them and Am­gen.

→ Hail to the vic­tors: Lo­cat­ed west of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan, Stra­ta On­col­o­gy — a start­up that cap­tured a $90 mil­lion Se­ries C this sum­mer with the help of Mer­ck and Pfiz­er — has wel­comed Jen­nifer Reyn­t­jes as chief peo­ple of­fi­cer. Reyn­t­jes, who be­gan her ca­reer at Gen­er­al Mo­tors, comes from the an­i­mal health world af­ter a year and a half as chief hu­man re­sources of­fi­cer for Mis­sion Vet­eri­nary Part­ners.

Jinky Ang Rossel­li

BioCryst has pro­mot­ed Jinky Ang Rossel­li to the po­si­tion of chief da­ta and in­sights of­fi­cer. Rossel­li joined the NC-based com­pa­ny in 2015 as VP of glob­al busi­ness analy­sis and op­er­a­tions. She made her way over to BioCryst from Unit­ed Ther­a­peu­tics, where she led the glob­al busi­ness in­tel­li­gence and in­sight team. Pri­or to that, Rossel­li was with Tale­cris Bio­ther­a­peu­tics (now Gri­fols) and No­var­tis.

Bet­ter Ther­a­peu­tics is wel­com­ing aboard Thi­a­go Li­cias de Oliveira as chief peo­ple of­fi­cer. de Oliveira most re­cent­ly served as head of glob­al tal­ent man­age­ment for J&J Med­ical De­vices.

→ Surf’s up: Steven Spec­tor, who spent al­most 20 years as gen­er­al coun­sel at Are­na Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals from 2001-20, has signed on at ex-Are­na sub Long­board Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals in the same ca­pac­i­ty. Af­ter his de­par­ture from Are­na, Spec­tor worked part-time as a gen­er­al coun­sel and ad­vi­sor for not just Long­board, but Dy­navax and Galec­to as well. Mak­ing its de­but with a $56 mil­lion round in Oc­to­ber 2020, Long­board ven­tured off to Nas­daq in March through an $80 mil­lion IPO.

Alexan­der Bas­t­ian

→ Over in The Nether­lands, AM-Phar­ma has ap­point­ed Alexan­der Bas­t­ian as VP, val­ue and mar­ket ac­cess. Bas­t­ian held the same po­si­tion at Gala­pa­gos, which has im­plod­ed im­pres­sive­ly af­ter the fil­go­tinib fail with Gilead, be­fore mak­ing the leap to AM-Phar­ma. Back in Sep­tem­ber, AM-Phar­ma part­nered with Tokyo-based Ky­owa Kirin for ex­clu­sive de­vel­op­ment and com­mer­cial­iza­tion rights in Japan for its kid­ney drug, ilo­fo­tase al­fa.

→ While grab­bing a cool $275 mil­lion to help launch star­tups, Mis­sion Bio­Cap­i­tal has signed on Mike Tay­lor as op­er­at­ing part­ner and Steve Tre­gay as co-man­ag­ing part­ner. Tay­lor comes with ex­pe­ri­ence from his times at Pfiz­er, En­sem­ble Ther­a­peu­tics and De­ci­phera Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals un­der his belt; while Tre­gay for­mer­ly served at No­var­tis and FOR­MA Ther­a­peu­tics.

Dave John­son

Brion Mur­ray has been ap­point­ed SVP of re­search at Lengo Ther­a­peu­tics, led by first-year CEO Enoch Kar­iu­ki. Be­fore join­ing the San Diego-based Lengo, Mur­ray was VP, can­cer bi­ol­o­gy and trans­la­tion­al re­search at Turn­ing Point Ther­a­peu­tics. He has al­so served as a re­search fel­low at Pfiz­er.

Speak­ing of Lengo, its chair­man Dave John­son has been added to the board of di­rec­tors at gly­co-im­munol­o­gy biotech Palleon Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, which racked up a nine-fig­ure Se­ries B last year to pro­pel its lead can­di­date — a en­zy­mat­ic sialo­gly­can de­grad­er — to­ward the clin­ic. John­son, the ex-CEO of Velos­Bio and Ac­er­ta Phar­ma, al­so chairs the board at Au­ra Bio­sciences.

Sheri Mc­Coy

→ If Laronde CEO Diego Mi­ralles start­ed singing the cho­rus of “We’re In the Mon­ey” af­ter the Flag­ship com­pa­ny’s gi­gan­tic $440 mil­lion Se­ries B in Au­gust, Peer Re­view wouldn’t be­grudge him. This week Sheri Mc­Coy and Pablo Cagnoni have been elect­ed to the board of di­rec­tors at Laronde, which is mak­ing a play at end­less RNA (eR­NA). Mc­Coy de­vot­ed 30 years to J&J and was the phar­ma gi­ant’s vice chair be­fore be­com­ing CEO of Avon, while Cagnoni has helmed Ru­bius Ther­a­peu­tics since 2018.

→ Long­time Gen­zyme vet Richard Dou­glas, who has been on the board at Max­Cyte since 2018, has now been ap­point­ed chair­man. Dou­glas, a board mem­ber at No­vavax, serves as an ad­vi­sor at Red­Sky Part­ners and is chair­man of Aldeyra Ther­a­peu­tics.

Seth Fis­ch­er

→ Back in Oc­to­ber, Es­pe­ri­on an­nounced that it would cut 40% of its staff due to bud­get con­cerns over the course of the month and there’s al­so been a change at the top. On the brighter side of things, the biotech has an­nounced the ap­point­ment of Seth Fis­ch­er to its board of di­rec­tors. Fis­ch­er, a J&J alum, al­so serves as a board mem­ber for Ag­ile Ther­a­peu­tics, Spec­trum Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Mar­i­nus Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

→ J&J alum Tom Graney is the lat­est mem­ber of the board of di­rec­tors at Cam­bridge, UK start­up Mo­gri­fy, which just brought in CSO Louise Modis last month. Graney, the cur­rent CFO at Ox­u­ri­on, al­so held that role at Iron­wood, Ver­tex and Gen­er­a­tion Bio.

Mon­i­ca Shaw

→ Graney is on the board of An­drea Pfeifer-led AC Im­mune, which is chaired by Co­di­ak CEO Doug Williams and al­so in­cludes Carl June and Evotec CEO Wern­er Lan­thaler — and has grown fur­ther with the ad­di­tions of Mon­i­ca Shaw and Moni­ka Bütler. Shaw is Leo Phar­ma’s EVP, head re­gion for Eu­rope, Cana­da and Aus­tralia, and Bütler is an econ­o­mist who’s a board mem­ber with Schindler Group and Hu­ber+Suh­n­er.

Ron Frieson

→ Ane­mia-fo­cused Ake­bia Ther­a­peu­tics has a seat ready for Ron Frieson on the board of di­rec­tors. A for­mer chair­man of the Amer­i­can Kid­ney Fund’s board of trustees, Frieson is COO at Chil­dren’s Health­care of At­lanta.

→ Af­ter nam­ing at­tor­ney Ken Clark to the board of di­rec­tors a month ago, Bob Dug­gan’s Sum­mit Ther­a­peu­tics has ap­point­ed Urte Gayko to the board this week. Gayko worked for Dug­gan in reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs at Phar­ma­cyclics in the 2010s and she’s now the SVP of drug de­vel­op­ment & reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs for Nek­tar.

→ For­mer Bris­tol My­ers and Am­gen R&D ex­ec El­liott Levy has joined the board of di­rec­tors at UK-based Nu­Cana. Back in May, Levy be­came a board mem­ber at Omega Ther­a­peu­tics and he pre­vi­ous­ly chaired the board at Tran­sCel­er­ate Bio­Phar­ma.

Bri­a­Cell Ther­a­peu­tics has wel­comed Jane Gross to its board of di­rec­tors. Gross has pre­vi­ous­ly served as CSO and SVP, re­search and non-clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Apte­vo Ther­a­peu­tics and was VP, ap­plied re­search and non-clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Emer­gent BioSo­lu­tions.

Robin An­drule­vich

Ace­po­dia has re­cruit­ed a cou­ple in­dus­try vet­er­ans to its board of di­rec­tors and sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board. Robin An­drule­vich, who cur­rent­ly serves as EVP and chief peo­ple of­fi­cer at Sana Biotech­nol­o­gy, will join the board of di­rec­tors. For the SAB, Ace­po­dia brings on Eileen High­am, who serves as SVP, head of tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions at In­ter­galac­tic Ther­a­peu­tics.

Adi­al Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals is adding for­mer In­di­v­ior CFO Cary Clai­borne to its board of di­rec­tors. In ad­di­tion to his past role at In­di­v­ior, Clai­borne has served as CFO of Su­cam­po Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Osiris Ther­a­peu­tics.

Kathy La­Porte is tack­ing on an­oth­er board ap­point­ment to her ré­sumé with her lat­est ad­di­tion to 89bio. La­Porte for­mer­ly served as CEO of Nodal­i­ty and cur­rent­ly sits on the boards of Bolt Ther­a­peu­tics, Pre­ci­pio and Phoenix Biotech Ac­qui­si­tion Cor­po­ra­tion.

Pi­o­neer­ing Click Chem­istry in Hu­mans

Reimagining cancer treatments

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020, which is nearly one in six deaths. Recently, we have seen incredible advances in novel cancer therapies such as immune checkpoint inhibitors, cell therapies, and antibody-drug conjugates that have revamped cancer care and improved survival rates for patients.

Despite this significant progress in therapeutic targeting, why are we still seeing such a high mortality rate? The reason is that promising therapies are often limited by their therapeutic index, which is a measure of the effective dose of a drug, relative to its safety. If we could broaden the therapeutic indices of currently available medicines, it would revolutionize cancer treatments. We are still on the quest to find the ultimate cancer medicine – highly effective in several cancer types, safe, and precisely targeted to the tumor site.

Ivan Cheung, Eisai US chairman and CEO

Bio­gen, Ei­sai re­fresh amy­loid hy­poth­e­sis with PhI­II show­ing Alzheimer's med slows cog­ni­tive de­cline

In the first look at Phase III data for lecanemab, Eisai and Biogen’s follow-up Alzheimer’s drug to the embattled Aduhelm launch, results show the drug passed with flying colors on a test looking at memory, problem solving and other dementia metrics.

One of the most-watched Alzheimer’s therapies in the clinic, lecanemab met the study’s primary goal on the CDR-SB — Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum of Boxes — giving the biotech the confidence to ask for full approval in the US, EU and Japan by next March 31. The experimental drug reduced clinical decline on the scale by 27% compared to placebo at 18 months, the companies said Tuesday night Eastern time and Wednesday morning in Japan.

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Nooman Haque, head of life sciences and healthcare at Silicon Valley Bank, and John Carroll

I’m head­ed to Lon­don soon for #EU­BIO22. Care to join me?

It was great getting back to a live ESMO conference/webinar in Paris followed by a live pop-up event for the Endpoints 11 in Boston. We’re staying on the road in October with our return for a live/streaming EUBIO22 in London.

Silicon Valley Bank’s Nooman Haque and I are once again jumping back into the thick of it with a slate of virtual and live events on October 12. I’ll get the ball rolling with a virtual fireside chat with Novo Nordisk R&D chief Marcus Schindler, covering their pipeline plans and BD work.

Gilead names 'k­ing­pin­s' in coun­ter­feit HIV med law­suit

Gilead is mounting its counterfeit drug lawsuit, naming two “kingpins” and a complex network of conspirators who allegedly sold imitation bottles of its HIV meds, some of which ended up in US pharmacies.

The pharma giant on Wednesday provided an update on what it called a “large-scale, sophisticated counterfeiting conspiracy,” accusing two new defendants of “leading and orchestrating” a scheme to sell hundreds of millions of dollars in illegitimate drugs posing as meds such as Biktarvy and Descovy.

Vlad Coric, Biohaven CEO (Photo Credit: Andrew Venditti)

As Amy­lyx de­ci­sion waits in the wings, Bio­haven’s ALS drug sinks (again) in plat­form tri­al

The FDA’s decision on Amylyx’s ALS drug is set to come out sometime Thursday. In a space with few drugs, any approval would be a major landmark.

But elsewhere in the ALS field, things are a bit more tepid.

Thursday morning, Biohaven announced that its drug verdiperstat failed its arm of an ALS platform trial led by Massachusetts General Hospital. According to a press release, the drug did not meet its primary endpoint — improvement on an ALS functional status test — or any key secondary endpoints at 24 weeks. The trial had enrolled 167 patients, giving them either verdiperstat or placebo twice a day.

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Tar­sus looks to raise aware­ness of eye­lid mite dis­ease in cam­paign aimed at eye­care spe­cial­ists

Eyelid mite disease may be “gross” but it’s also fairly common, affecting about 25 million people in the US.

Called demodex blepharitis, it’s a well-known condition among eyecare professionals, but they often don’t always realize how common it is. Tarsus Pharmaceuticals wants to change that with a new awareness campaign called “Look at the Lids.”

The campaign and website debut Thursday — just three weeks after Tarsus filed for FDA approval for a drug that treats the disease.

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Marcelo Bigal, Ventus Therapeutics CEO

No­vo Nordisk joins No­var­tis, Roche in NL­RP3 are­na, bet­ting $70M cash on NASH, car­diometa­bol­ic us­es

As a drug target, the NLRP3 inflammasome has drawn serious interest from Big Pharma, inspiring a series of M&A deals from Novartis and Roche on top of venture investments by others. Now Novo Nordisk is jumping on the bandwagon — and the Danish pharma giant is taking the target where it knows best.

Novo Nordisk is getting its NLRP3 inhibitors from Ventus Therapeutics, a Versant-backed startup that set out to make some of the best NLRP3 drugs out there by incorporating new insights into the structure of the target complex.

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Work taking place in the clean rooms at Vor (Credit: Vor)

Vor Bio opts to keep man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tions in-house for de­vel­op­ing stem cell, CAR-T ther­a­pies

While it is not uncommon for a biotech to go down the route of having the product manufactured by a contract organization, one small biotech is looking to keep its card close to its chest.

Vor Biopharma has started manufacturing operations at an in-house facility at its HQ in Cambridge, MA after beginning construction last summer.

According to the biotech, the facility aims to develop Vor’s hematopoietic stem cells (eHSCs) and CAR-T therapies for patients with blood cancers. The site will initially manufacture a clinical supply of its candidate VCAR33allo to support its IND, which is slated to be submitted in the first half of next year. It also plans to transfer the production of VOR33 to the facility. Vor is getting to work quickly as engineering runs for VCAR33allo has started this week.

Aim­ing for fourth nod, Sarep­ta files an­oth­er DMD gene ther­a­py to FDA; Ax­some head­ed to­ward mi­graine re­sub­mis­sion

Sarepta Therapeutics has filed the data needed for an FDA accelerated approval, which would be the biotech’s fourth if granted by the agency.

The biotech has yet to complete confirmatory trials for those first three conditional nods. The filing for its fourth Duchenne muscular dystrophy treatment, disclosed Thursday, is not a surprise. Sarepta said in late-July it would do so after releasing positive results for the Roche-partnered gene therapy.