Sanofi's BD chief heads to Owkin as CBO; Roche re­lies on its bench for Thomas Schi­neck­er’s di­ag­nos­tics re­place­ment

Al­ban de La Sablière

Up un­til re­cent­ly, Al­ban de La Sablière was Sanofi’s chief deal­mak­er, re­port­ing di­rect­ly to CEO Paul Hud­son with­out of­fi­cial­ly be­ing a C-suite ex­ec­u­tive.

That’s now changed with de La Sablière’s newest po­si­tion at a much small­er French biotech, Sanofi part­ner Owkin. And to top it off, it’s his first job in the C-suite.

Tues­day was his first day as the chief busi­ness of­fi­cer at Owkin, a now-transat­lantic biotech with of­fices in both France and the US. Its em­pha­sis in AI and a con­cept called “fed­er­at­ed learn­ing” earned a $270 mil­lion in­vest­ment from the Big Phar­ma last year, with an eye to im­prov­ing its odds in clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. The com­pa­ny has now inked oth­er AI deals with oth­er Big Phar­ma com­pa­nies such as Bris­tol My­ers Squibb.

A lit­tle in­tro­spec­tion went a long way to­ward de La Sablière get­ting on board with Owkin.

“Per­son­al­ly, I was very hap­py at Sanofi,” de La Sablière tells End­points News. “But I was think­ing about maybe hav­ing more di­rect im­pact. And I had dis­cus­sions about what I could do with the rest of my life with the CEO and founder. And he told me, ‘Well, why don’t you join us?’”

De La Sablière’s back­ground is not in bio­phar­ma — it’s in bank­ing. The for­mer BD chief spent close to two decades at Mor­gan Stan­ley as a man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and M&A ad­vi­sor be­fore ven­tur­ing over to Sanofi in 2016. As for what he learned, it’s not just M&A or deal mak­ing skills. Part of his ex­pe­ri­ence, sit­ting on com­mit­tees in look­ing at phar­ma com­pa­nies at Mor­gan Stan­ley and ad­vis­ing on ac­qui­si­tions, is that “even when you’re not an ex­pert, you get a very good view of what it takes to de­vel­op a drug. Or in terms of what, what can go wrong, which is at least 30% of a job — is know­ing what can go wrong.”

De La Sablière con­tin­ued: “When you sign a big deal, you know, that deal is just a vi­sion and a con­tract, and then you have a du­ty to im­ple­ment it. And there’s gonna be a lot of twists and turns, be­cause you’re plan­ning for 10 years, and you can’t put 10 years in the con­tract.”

And based off what he has learned, he thinks it can ap­ply well to where Owkin is right now as a grow­ing com­pa­ny. But in his first days at his new role, the new ex­ec­u­tive not­ed that there are some de­ci­sions that have to be made pret­ty quick­ly.

“One thing — which is re­al­ly top of mind — is how do we se­cure, iden­ti­fy as­sets which are out there to be in-li­censed? We have a very spe­cif­ic, dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed point of view, or ex­per­tise — which is, you know, our AI and da­ta set,” the ex­ec­u­tive said, adding that he plans on bring­ing in as­sets for both Owkin and with part­ners.

Ex­pect a bunch of BD and M&A deals with de La Sablière at Owkin — and with the biotech piv­ot­ing from con­sult­ing to start­ing to build out its own IP.

Paul Schloess­er

Matt Sause

→ Now that Thomas Schi­neck­er is all set to take charge at Roche next year, the Swiss phar­ma gi­ant says that his in-house suc­ces­sor as CEO of Roche Di­ag­nos­tics, Matt Sause, will start on Jan. 1, 2023. The 45-year-old Sause joined Roche 20 years ago as a se­nior mol­e­c­u­lar ac­count man­ag­er, and he would lat­er be­come pres­i­dent of coun­try op­er­a­tions in Pe­ru and Ko­rea, and VP and life­cy­cle leader for Tecen­triq at Genen­tech. He took a short break from Roche as SVP and head of glob­al com­mer­cial prod­uct strat­e­gy at Gilead be­fore re­turn­ing to run Roche Di­ag­nos­tics’ North Amer­i­ca re­gion in No­vem­ber 2019, the ti­tle he holds for just a while longer. In Ju­ly, Roche an­nounced that CEO Sev­erin Schwan would step down and that Schi­neck­er would take the top spot on March 15, 2023.

As­sem­bly Bio­sciences is wav­ing good­bye to its CEO John McHutchi­son as he heads to­wards re­tire­ment af­ter a three-year stint with the com­pa­ny. Seiz­ing the reins will be cur­rent pres­i­dent and COO Ja­son Okaza­ki. The for­mer Gilead vet is tak­ing over dur­ing some tur­bu­lent times as the com­pa­ny threw in the tow­el on its HBV drug and laid off 30% of its staffers back in Ju­ly. Okaza­ki joined As­sem­bly Bio as chief le­gal and busi­ness of­fi­cer in 2020 and was pro­mot­ed to COO in 2021.

Alex Mar­tin

→ In June, David de Graaf stepped aside as CEO of Abcuro, which has its lead as­set — an an­ti-KL­RG1 an­ti­body named ABC008 — in ear­ly-stage tri­als for in­clu­sion body myosi­tis. Now a strate­gic ad­vi­sor, de Graaf’s suc­ces­sor is Alex Mar­tin, the for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive at Realm Ther­a­peu­tics who had been run­ning the show at Centes­sa sub Pal­la­dio Bio­sciences. Centes­sa hit a huge pot­hole af­ter Memo­r­i­al Day, scrap­ping its lead drug lix­i­vap­tan in an abrupt about-face when el­e­vat­ed liv­er en­zymes in one pa­tient forced the biotech’s hand, a prob­lem that be­fell KalVista ear­li­er this week. The hos­pi­tal­iza­tion oc­curred in the open-la­bel ALERT study af­ter Centes­sa had just start­ed dos­ing in the Phase III AC­TION study of the Pal­la­dio drug in Feb­ru­ary. A $42 mil­lion “Se­ries A-1” in Jan­u­ary 2021 gave Abcuro enough cash run­way to last for two years, so we’ll see if an­oth­er raise is up­com­ing un­der Mar­tin’s lead­er­ship.

Grace Colón

Grace Colón, the CEO of In­Car­da Ther­a­peu­tics since 2013, “in­tends to pur­sue oth­er lead­er­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties with­in the life sci­ence space” and has hand­ed the keys to Robert Lisic­ki. Every­one from Doug Man­ion to Fabio Catal­di has found their next land­ing spot af­ter Are­na Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals was sold to Pfiz­er, and you can add Lisic­ki to the list af­ter serv­ing as Are­na’s chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer from March 2018 un­til the deal closed in March. The for­mer CCO of Dai­ichi Sankyo’s US car­dio­vas­cu­lar and on­col­o­gy ar­eas, Lisic­ki has al­so been a gen­er­al man­ag­er at Am­gen and Re­gen­eron.

Steven Lo

Zosano Phar­ma went bel­ly-up sev­er­al months ago, and its CEO Steven Lo has moved on to an­oth­er gig with wet age-re­lat­ed mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion biotech Val­i­tor. Lo re­places Wes­ley Jack­son, who’s now pres­i­dent and CSO, and Kyle LaHu­cik got a chance to speak with both when the UC Berke­ley spin­out un­veiled a $28 mil­lion Se­ries B round this week.

Fortress Biotech’s gout and chron­ic kid­ney dis­ease sub­sidiary Uri­ca Ther­a­peu­tics has poached Jay Kran­zler from Pfiz­er as chair­man and CEO. Kran­zler was the phar­ma gi­ant’s VP and glob­al head of ex­ter­nal R&D in­no­va­tion and world­wide R&D strate­gic in­vest­ments; he’s al­so found­ed and helmed Cy­press Bio­science, which was sold to Ramius and Roy­al­ty Phar­ma back in 2010. One oth­er Uri­ca tid­bit: Stan­ford’s Vibeke Strand now has a seat on the board of di­rec­tors.

→ For­mer J&J ex­ec Seema Ku­mar is don­ning the CEO cap at Deer­field Man­age­ment af­fil­i­ate Cure, a health­care in­no­va­tion cam­pus in NYC. Ku­mar’s near­ly two-decade tenure at J&J cul­mi­nat­ed in her role as glob­al head of the of­fice of in­no­va­tion, glob­al health and sci­en­tif­ic en­gage­ment. Pri­or to her gig at J&J, Ku­mar was the chief of staff and chief com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer at MIT’s White­head In­sti­tute, hav­ing a hand in the Hu­man Genome Project and the cre­ation and launch of the Broad In­sti­tute.

Luke Walk­er

Luke Walk­er has split from Seagen, tak­ing the CMO job at Har­poon Ther­a­peu­tics af­ter the June 1 res­ig­na­tion of his pre­de­ces­sor, Na­tal­ie Sacks. Walk­er was the glob­al de­vel­op­ment lead for Tukysa, the ty­ro­sine ki­nase in­hibitor ap­proved for ad­vanced HER2-pos­i­tive breast can­cer with chemo, and had been VP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment since Feb­ru­ary. As Har­poon comes to grips with the re­cent dis­con­tin­u­a­tion of HPN424, the will-they-won’t-they be­tween Mer­ck and Seagen on an M&A deal has cooled sub­stan­tial­ly, with Bloomberg re­port­ing that the two com­pa­nies are at an im­passe on a price.

Tanya Fis­ch­er

→ Rip­ping a page from GSK’s book by push­ing ahead with the “New Bio­haven” now that Pfiz­er has tak­en con­trol of the mi­graine fran­chise, Vlad Coric has $248 mil­lion to work with and a pair of new­com­ers on staff. Ex-Agios CSO Bruce Car, a 19-year Bris­tol My­ers vet­er­an, has signed on as chief sci­en­tist, and Tanya Fis­ch­er takes the dual roles of chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer and head of trans­la­tion­al med­i­cine. A Bris­tol My­ers alum in her own right, Fis­ch­er was VP, CNS and com­ple­ment clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment for Al­ny­lam since Jan­u­ary 2020. And as they piv­ot to neu­ro­science and rare dis­ease, Coric pro­mot­ed SVP of neu­rol­o­gy Ir­fan Qureshi — a Bio­haven ex­ec since 2017 — to CMO.

Robin Walk­er

→ Cap­tur­ing our at­ten­tion as one of the End­points 11 this year — and with ex-Pfiz­er CEO Ian Read in place as chair­man — Areteia Ther­a­peu­tics has in­stalled Er­ic Brad­ford as CMO and Robin Walk­er as chief le­gal of­fi­cer and cor­po­rate sec­re­tary. Brad­ford, an 18-year GSK vet, was VP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and then chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer of Ae­glea Bio­Ther­a­peu­tics, while Walk­er had held the roles of chief le­gal of­fi­cer, chief com­pli­ance of­fi­cer & cor­po­rate sec­re­tary at Goldfinch Bio since No­vem­ber 2020. Areteia came out blaz­ing in Ju­ly with a $350 mil­lion raise and is de­vel­op­ing its lead drug dex­pramipex­ole for eosinophilic asth­ma.

Mar­tin Stahl

Greg Ver­dine has nabbed a 25-year Roche alum as his new chief sci­en­tist at GSK fun­gi part­ner LifeM­ine Ther­a­peu­tics, which struck gold with a $175 mil­lion Se­ries C in March. Mar­tin Stahl may be leav­ing the Swiss phar­ma, but he’s stay­ing in Basel at LifeM­ine’s Eu­ro­pean of­fices, break­ing away from Roche af­ter near­ly four years as glob­al head of lead dis­cov­ery. LifeM­ine has al­so ap­point­ed Louis Pla­m­on­don as head of CMC af­ter hold­ing the same post at Con­stel­la­tion Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. His ear­li­er ré­sumé is dot­ted with lead­er­ship po­si­tions at such com­pa­nies as Tetraphase, Karyopharm and Ver­tex.

Jen Beachell

Saman­tha Truex’s Up­stream Bio has pro­mot­ed Jen Beachell to COO and called up­on Mersedeh Mi­rali­ak­bari to be SVP, reg­u­la­to­ry and qual­i­ty. Orig­i­nal­ly jump­ing on board as chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer, Beachell had led com­mer­cial strat­e­gy for Mo­men­ta and was then VP of glob­al com­mer­cial strat­e­gy, au­toan­ti­body dis­ease area for Janssen when the J&J buy­out closed. Mi­rali­ak­bari’s reg­u­la­to­ry back­ground in­cludes posts at As­traZeneca, Te­va, J&J and, since 2018, Nabri­va Ther­a­peu­tics. Up­stream de­buted with a $200 mil­lion Se­ries A with the one-time Astel­las mon­o­clon­al an­ti­body UPB-101 in the spot­light to treat asth­ma and oth­er in­flam­ma­to­ry dis­eases. Mar­cel­la Rud­dy, Ian Pa­vord and Michael Wech­sler will al­so chime in as clin­i­cal ad­vi­sors.

Dana Piz­zu­ti

→ En­docrine dis­ease biotech Cri­net­ics has se­lect­ed Dana Piz­zu­ti as chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer. Piz­zu­ti jug­gled the roles of CMO and SVP, de­vel­op­ment op­er­a­tions at As­cendis Phar­ma, a biotech that helped ush­er in an era of big rais­es af­ter pos­i­tive da­ta read­outs in March with a $500 mil­lion of­fer­ing. She al­so brings reg­u­la­to­ry ex­pe­ri­ence from J&J, Gilead, Rigel and Ther­a­vance Bio­phar­ma.

→  Mean­while, the Cri­net­ics spin­out Ra­dio­net­ics On­col­o­gy has en­list­ed Umesh Gan­gad­har­math as SVP, tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions. Gan­gad­har­math had been COO of Op­ti­mal Trac­ers, end­ing a nine-year run over­all at the ra­dio­phar­ma shop.

Scott Schobel

→ Go­ing af­ter Hunt­ing­ton’s and spin­ocere­bel­lar atax­ia types 3 and 1 with its lead pro­gram VO659 un­der new chief ex­ec­u­tive Mic­ah Mack­i­son, Dan­ish biotech Vi­co Ther­a­peu­tics has picked up Scott Schobel as CMO. To con­clude his nine years at Roche, Schobel was clin­i­cal sci­ence leader for its Hunt­ing­ton’s can­di­date tomin­ersen and Alzheimer’s drug gan­tenerum­ab, which has got­ten its sec­ond wind (or third, or fourth) thanks to de­vel­op­ments like Bio­gen and Ei­sai’s pos­i­tive Phase III re­sults for lecanemab last week.

Jee­gar Pa­tel

Evom­mune has been mak­ing sev­er­al key hires, and this week is no dif­fer­ent at the in­flam­ma­to­ry dis­ease biotech with Jee­gar Pa­tel com­ing in as CSO. As Kad­mon’s SVP, re­search and non­clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, Pa­tel’s work with the chron­ic graft-ver­sus-host dis­ease drug Rezurock pro­pelled it to an FDA ap­proval in Ju­ly 2021, set­ting the stage for some M&A ac­tion with Sanofi in a $1.9 bil­lion deal a cou­ple months lat­er. Evom­mune has al­so added CFO Kyle Carv­er and chief cor­po­rate strat­e­gy and le­gal of­ficer Greg Moss to the squad this year.

Adri­an Kil­coyne

Robert Hariri’s Celu­lar­i­ty, now hitch­ing its wag­on to al­lo­gene­ic cell ther­a­pies, has tapped Adri­an Kil­coyne as CMO. Kil­coyne splits from Hu­mani­gen, where he held the same role for a year and a half, and he was the lym­phoma pro­gram lead at Cel­gene be­fore jump­ing over to As­traZeneca in 2019, even­tu­al­ly serv­ing as the phar­ma gi­ant’s VP of glob­al on­col­o­gy ev­i­dence gen­er­a­tion and ex­ter­nal al­liances a year lat­er. Celu­lar­i­ty al­so pro­mot­ed John Haines to se­nior EVP, gen­er­al man­ag­er and chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer, and Brad Glover to Haines’ old job as COO. Back when SPACs were re­al­ly cook­ing (and hey, they’re try­ing to el­bow their way back in­to the con­ver­sa­tion in the case of Es­trel­la Bio­phar­ma this week), Celu­lar­i­ty linked arms with GX Ac­qui­si­tion Corp. in a $138 mil­lion merg­er.

An­dreas Busch

Ab­sci CEO Sean Mc­Clain had to make deep job cuts in an Au­gust re­org, but he’s made a se­nior lead­er­ship move by re­cruit­ing ex-Shire CMO and head of R&D An­dreas Busch as chief in­no­va­tion of­fi­cer.  Busch is a 10-year Bay­er vet who had been CSO, chief in­no­va­tion of­fi­cer and head of the In­no­va­tion Cen­ter at Cy­cle­ri­on Ther­a­peu­tics. In a state­ment that es­chewed the usu­al cook­ie-cut­ter lan­guage but didn’t spec­i­fy the num­ber of lay­offs at Ab­sci, Mc­Clain said, “I al­ways knew that cre­at­ing the im­pos­si­ble was go­ing to be hard — how­ev­er, part­ing ways with tal­ent­ed friends and col­leagues is even hard­er.”

Cere­vance is help­ing Mer­ck give it an­oth­er try with Alzheimer’s and en­list­ing Ot­tavio Vi­to­lo as CMO. The for­mer head of neu­ro­mus­cu­lar clin­i­cal re­search at Pfiz­er, Vi­to­lo was pre­vi­ous­ly the med­ical chief and glob­al head of R&D for Al­cy­one Ther­a­peu­tics, while oth­er stops in­clude Ho­mol­o­gy Med­i­cines (VP, clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment) and Rel­ma­da Ther­a­peu­tics (head of R&D and CMO). This Alzheimer’s recla­ma­tion project comes four years af­ter Mer­ck stuck a fork in its BACE drug verube­ce­s­tat.

Kevin Nor­rett

→ Now led by ex-Sier­ra On­col­o­gy chief Stephen Dil­ly, en­zyme en­gi­neer­ing out­fit Codex­is has brought in a fa­mil­iar face as COO. Genen­tech alum Kevin Nor­rett spent the last two years as CBO of Sier­ra, which GSK pur­chased for $1.9 bil­lion in April, and he had a year­long stint as chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer of An­gion Bio­med­ica. On top of that, Codex­is is bol­ster­ing its board of di­rec­tors by pulling up a chair for Re­silience CEO Rahul Singhvi.

Anne Sul­li­van

→ Tar­get­ing such neu­ro in­di­ca­tions as Hunt­ing­ton’s dis­ease and ALS with its lead can­di­date pri­do­pi­dine, Prile­nia has wel­comed Anne Sul­li­van as CBO. Sul­li­van was the busi­ness chief for Rodin Ther­a­peu­tics when Alk­er­mes bought the biotech in 2019, and she’s been a cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment ex­ec for Sea Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Sunovion Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. Prile­nia gave it­self some fi­nan­cial wig­gle room in No­vem­ber 2021 with a $43 mil­lion Se­ries B raise.

→ T cell ther­a­py-fo­cused Blue­Sphere Bio has pro­mot­ed Keir Loia­cono to the role of CEO. Loia­cono had just joined the com­pa­ny last year as CBO. Pri­or to his role at Blue­Sphere, Loia­cono was VP of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and gen­er­al coun­sel of On­coSec Med­ical. Loia­cono has al­so served at Ad­vax­is and Oraphar­ma and sits on the board of Epi­Ax­is Ther­a­peu­tics.

Graeme Field­er

→ A pair of ex­ecs has been pro­mot­ed at Avi­ado­Bio, a Lon­don gene ther­a­py play­er that un­sealed an $80 mil­lion Se­ries A round in De­cem­ber 2021. COO Graeme Field­er had been head of op­er­a­tions for two years, and he took on sev­er­al cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment roles at Au­dentes from 2015-20. Chief tech­ni­cal of­fi­cer Alex Bloom was brought in­to the fold as SVP of tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions just be­fore the Se­ries A was an­nounced; he had pre­vi­ous­ly been in charge of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs and qual­i­ty as­sur­ance at Gy­ro­scope.

→ Try­ing to as­suage the FDA’s con­cerns about its mi­cro­bio­me ther­a­py MaaT013 that’s still on clin­i­cal hold in the US, French biotech MaaT Phar­ma has lined up Nathalie Cor­vaïa as CSO. Cor­vaïa had led im­muno-on­col­o­gy re­search at The Pierre Fab­re Im­munol­o­gy Cen­ter and was pre­vi­ous­ly the in­sti­tute’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and re­search di­rec­tor.

An­nick De­schoolmester

→ Com­pet­ing with the afore­men­tioned KalVista in the hered­i­tary an­gioede­ma space, Swiss biotech Phar­varis has up­grad­ed An­nick De­schoolmeester to chief hu­man re­sources of­fi­cer. De­schoolmeester joined Phar­varis as head of HR last year from Take­da, where she was head of glob­al learn­ing and tal­ent man­age­ment af­ter a gig as the Japan­ese phar­ma’s HR busi­ness leader, plas­ma de­rived ther­a­pies. She’s al­so been a hu­man re­sources ex­ec at Al­ler­gan.

→ Dublin-based Trin­i­ty Biotech has reeled in Aris Keked­jian as CEO and chair­man. Keked­jian suc­ceeds Ro­nan O’Caoimh, who will re­main on the com­pa­ny’s board. Most re­cent­ly, Keked­jian served as pres­i­dent and CEO of Ic­ahn En­ter­pris­es. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, Keked­jian had a three decade-long stint at Gen­er­al Elec­tric and has held roles at Xe­rox, Fin­serv and XPO Lo­gis­tics.

Suzanne Zoumaras

→ San Diego pro­tein degra­da­tion out­fit Plex­i­um, which clinched a deal with Ab­b­Vie in April for $35 mil­lion up­front af­ter team­ing up with Am­gen on “mol­e­c­u­lar glues” near­ly three months ear­li­er, has named Suzanne Zoumaras as head of hu­man re­sources. Zoumaras, the co-founder of Hu­man Cap­i­tal Re­source Part­ners, was chief hu­man cap­i­tal of­fi­cer at Are­na Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals from 2019-21.

→ Stay­ing in the pro­tein degra­da­tion space, Arv­inas has plucked Paul McIn­ul­ty from Bris­tol My­ers, nam­ing him SVP, reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs. McIn­ul­ty climbed through the reg­u­la­to­ry ranks at Cel­gene, and af­ter the buy­out, he was Bris­tol My­ers’ VP, ther­a­peu­tic head, hema­tol­ogy and pre­ci­sion med­i­cines reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs. In Ju­ly 2021, Pfiz­er re­upped its al­liance with Arv­inas by plunk­ing down $1 bil­lion with the po­ten­tial for an­oth­er $1.4 bil­lion in mile­stones.

Fra­zier Life Sci­ences has ap­point­ed Jan Møller Mikkelsen as a se­nior ad­vi­sor. Mikkelsen has been pres­i­dent and CEO of As­cendis Phar­ma since he found­ed the com­pa­ny in 2007, and he’s chair­man of the board at Hum­ming­bird Bio­science.

Su­sanne Schaf­fert

→ With her days at No­var­tis be­hind her, Suzanne Schaf­fert has picked up an­oth­er board seat, this time at In­cyte. Schaf­fert and John Tsai were let go as part of a high-pro­file re­struc­tur­ing that Vas Narasimhan in­sti­tut­ed at No­var­tis this spring, but she reemerged in Peer Re­view when she be­came a board mem­ber at Ru­bius Ther­a­peu­tics in Ju­ly. Her as­so­ci­a­tion with the Big Phar­ma had dat­ed back to 1995, when she ar­rived as a sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

→ US-Swiss LIL­RB (leuko­cyte im­munoglob­u­lin-like) biotech Im­munOs Ther­a­peu­tics has made room for Joseph Lev­eque on the board of di­rec­tors. Lev­eque is the ex-med­ical chief at Mi­rati and Syn­thorx who’s now the CMO at Medikine, which is de­vel­op­ing an IL-7 mimet­ic named MDK-703.

Daphne Qui­mi

La­lo Flo­res has ex­pand­ed the board of di­rec­tors at Cen­tu­ry Ther­a­peu­tics to eight mem­bers with the ad­di­tions of Am­i­cus CFO Daphne Qui­mi and Hori­zon CEO Tim Wal­bert. They join a board that al­so in­cludes for­mer Kite COO and CFO Cyn­thia Bu­tit­ta, ex-No­var­tis chief Joe Jimenez and Ver­sant’s Car­lo Riz­zu­to.

James Dentzer is head­ed to the board of di­rec­tors at Imunon, the New Jer­sey biotech once known as Cel­sion that’s now led by ex-Mod­er­na com­mer­cial chief Corinne Le Goff.  The for­mer Am­i­cus and Dicer­na CFO has been chief ex­ec­u­tive at Curis since Sep­tem­ber 2018.

→ Sanofi vet and ex-Onx­eo chair Danièle Guy­ot-Ca­parros is re­plac­ing Vi­viane Mon­ges on the board of di­rec­tors at peanut patch de­vel­op­er DBV Tech­nolo­gies. Hu­mani­gen COO and CFO Tim Mor­ris will chair DBV’s au­dit com­mit­tee in Mon­ges’ stead.

→ Dal­las-based Se­cre­tome Ther­a­peu­tics is sad­dling up An­gela Shen with a seat on its board of di­rec­tors. Shen cur­rent­ly serves as VP, strate­gic in­no­va­tion lead­ers at Mass Gen­er­al Brigham. Shen al­so comes with a hefty ré­sumé with stints as CMO of sev­er­al com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Walk­ing Fish, Ar­cel­lx, Nkar­ta, Arv­inas and Tizona. Ear­li­er in her ca­reer, Shen had gigs at No­var­tis, Ex­elix­is and J&J.

PaxMed­ica is wel­com­ing aboard a new face on its board of di­rec­tors with the ap­point­ment of Charles Casa­men­to. This is far from Casa­men­to’s first board ap­point­ment, cur­rent­ly sit­ting on the boards of Eton Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, First Wave Bio­phar­ma and Rel­ma­da Ther­a­peu­tics.

Image courtesy of The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

Pro­tect­ing the glob­al phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­no­va­tion ecosys­tem – what’s at stake?

We are living in a new era of healthcare that is rapidly advancing progress impacting patient outcomes and experiences. We’ve seen a remarkable pace of transformational innovation, applied research, and advanced clinical development over the last decade.

Despite this tremendous progress, there is much more work to be done, and patients are counting on us – now more than ever – to continue that momentum. At the heart of our industry is a focus on developing and delivering medicines for some of the world’s most challenging diseases, including those that have few or no effective treatments today.

End­points 20(+2) un­der 40, 2023; Bio­phar­ma's high­est-paid CEOs; N-of-1 CRISPR sto­ry goes on af­ter tragedy; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

We will be off Monday in observance of Memorial Day — and when we get back, it will be a straight march to ASCO, BIO and more. Enjoy the (long) weekend!

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Rich Horgan (R) with his late brother, Terry

Rich Hor­gan spear­head­ed a gene ther­a­py for his broth­er. The tri­al end­ed in tragedy, but the work con­tin­ues for more pa­tients

Rich Horgan’s quest to create a custom gene therapy for his brother, Terry, ended in tragedy. But Horgan doesn’t believe it’s the end of the story.

Terry, a 27-year-old patient with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, died last October just eight days after receiving the therapy in a clinical trial in which he was the only participant. The case raised questions about the safety of certain gene therapies and what would happen to other drug programs under a nonprofit that Horgan created, called Cure Rare Disease.

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Bio­phar­ma's 20 high­est-paid CEOs of 2022, each bring­ing in $20M+ pay­days

Even in a down year for much of the biopharma market, 20 CEOs brought in pay packages valued at more than $20 million, an Endpoints News analysis found.

Endpoints collected data on more than 350 CEO compensation packages, covering a wide range of pharma, biotech, and life sciences companies. All told, the 20 largest earners made over $725 million in 2022 — an average package of $36.4 million. Three brought in paydays over $50 million, and one CEO broke the $100 million mark.

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Mi­rati’s drug sitra­va­tinib flops PhI­II in com­bo with Op­di­vo for cer­tain lung can­cer

Mirati Therapeutics’ path to a second drug approval will likely have to wait. The San Diego biotech company said Wednesday that its investigational lung cancer drug failed a Phase III trial testing it in combination with Bristol Myers Squibb’s Opdivo.

The drug, sitravatinib, and Opdivo weren’t better than the chemo drug docetaxel at keeping patients alive, Mirati said in a press release. The spectrum-selective kinase inhibitor missed the primary goal of overall survival in patients with second- or third-line advanced non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer.

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The 20(+2) un­der 40: Your guide to the next gen­er­a­tion of biotech lead­ers

This year’s list of 20 biotech leaders under the age of 40 includes a huge range of ambitions. Some of our honorees are planning to create the next big drug giant. Others are pushing the bounds of AI. One is working to revolutionize TB testing. All are compelling talents who are still young in age, but already far along in achievement.

And, as in years past, we went over. The 20 are actually 22 because of two double profiles that reflect how important teamwork is in the industry. As one of our honorees, Joe Illingworth of DJS Antibodies, told me in our interview, “It takes a village to raise a biotech.”

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FDA ap­proves Lex­i­con’s heart-fail­ure drug af­ter de­feat in di­a­betes

The FDA on Friday approved Lexicon’s heart failure drug sotagliflozin following a string of setbacks for the pharma company, including an FDA rejection in diabetes and the loss of a development deal with Sanofi.

The dual SGLT1 and SGLT2 inhibitor will be marketed as Inpefa and is a once-daily tablet. It’s been approved to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death and heart failure-related hospitalization or urgent visits in adults with heart failure or type 2 diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, and other cardiovascular risk factors. The label spans the range of left ventricular ejection fraction, including preserved ejection fraction and reduced ejection fraction, as well as patients with or without diabetes, Lexicon said Friday.

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Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sion to re­ceive few­er Pfiz­er-BioN­Tech vac­cine dos­es un­der amend­ed con­tract

The European Commission has made a few changes to its vaccine contract with Pfizer and BioNTech, reducing the dose volume while extending the delivery timeline to cope with “evolving public health needs.”

The Commission previously struck a contract in May 2021 for 900 million doses, with the option to purchase another 900 million. Of those, 450 million were expected to be delivered in 2023, though an amendment now calls for fewer doses. While neither the Commission nor Pfizer and BioNTech have revealed an exact amount, an unnamed source told Reuters that the amendment reduces the remaining expected doses by about a third.

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Teresa Bitetti, Takeda's president of the global oncology business unit

Take­da wins pri­or­i­ty re­view for $400M col­orec­tal can­cer drug, li­censed from Hutchmed in Jan­u­ary

Takeda and Hutchmed scored a priority review Thursday afternoon for a colorectal cancer drug, the companies announced.

The experimental drug in question is fruquintinib, previously approved in China in 2018 to treat metastatic colorectal cancer. Takeda and Hutchmed are aiming to bring fruquintinib to the US and other countries outside China in the same indication, and the FDA set its decision date for Nov. 30 of this year.

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