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.

Big Phar­ma's Twit­ter ex­o­dus; Mer­ck wa­gers $1.35B on buy­out; $3.5M gene ther­a­py; 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.

As you start planning for #JPM23, we hope you will consider joining Endpoints News for our live and virtual events. For those who are celebrating Thanksgiving, we hope you are enjoying the long weekend with loved ones. And if you’re not — we’ll see you next week!

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Paul Perreault, CSL Behring CEO

CSL lands FDA ap­proval for he­mo­phil­ia B gene ther­a­py, sets $3.5M list price

The FDA has approved the world’s first gene therapy for hemophilia B, ushering into the market a treatment that’s historic in both what it promises to do and how much it will cost.

CSL will be marketing the drug, Hemgenix, at a list price of $3.5 million — which sets a new record for the most expensive single-use gene therapy in the US.

In a statement provided to Endpoints News, the Australian company noted that the current costs of treating people with moderate to severe hemophilia B can be significant over a lifetime. By some estimates, healthcare systems could spend more than $20 million per person.

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Elon Musk (GDA via AP Images)

Biggest drug com­pa­nies halt­ed Twit­ter ad buys af­ter Lil­ly in­sulin spoof

Almost all of the drug industry’s biggest advertisers cut their spending on Twitter to zero or near-zero over the last two weeks amid worries about impersonation of their brands by pranksters and the future of the social media company.

Among 18 of the biggest pharmaceutical advertisers in the US market, 12 cut their Twitter ad spending to nothing for the week beginning Nov. 14, according to Pathmatics, which tracks data on prescription drug ad spending as well as general corporate advertising. The list of drugmakers cutting spending to zero includes Merck, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer and others.

Rob Davis, Merck CEO

Up­dat­ed: No Seagen here: 'Do more' means a small $1.35B pur­chase of Ima­go for Mer­ck

Merck is making an acquisition, the Big Pharma announced before Monday’s opening bell. No, Seagen is not entering the fold, as had been speculated for quarters.

Folding under Merck’s wings will be Pfizer-backed Imago BioSciences. For nearly a year, Merck CEO Rob Davis has been saying the pharma giant needs to “do more” on the business development front after its 2021 $11.5 billion acquisition of Acceleron.

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Alzheimer’s drug bites the dust; Re­struc­ture, re­struc­ture, re­struc­ture; Land­mark di­a­betes OK; 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.

Being in the news business can give one a warped sense of time — it feels like quite a while since we published some of these stories below. But next Saturday’s Endpoints Weekly will definitely be shorter, as we take off Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving. We will still have the abbreviated edition in your inbox at the usual time.

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Image: Shutterstock

MIT re­searchers re­veal DNA "Paste" tech be­hind lat­est gene edit­ing start­up

MIT scientists have developed a tool that they say can insert large gene sequences where they want in the genome.

In a paper published Thursday in Nature Biotechnology, MIT fellows Omar Abudayyeh, Jonathan Gootenberg and colleagues detail a technology they call PASTE, which they say can potentially be used to insert long strands of DNA and treat genetic diseases caused by many different mutations, such as cystic fibrosis and Leber congenital amaurosis, a rare eye disorder that causes blindness.

J&J's Spra­va­to pulls a PhI­II win against Sero­quel XR in treat­ment-re­sis­tant de­pres­sion

A day before Thanksgiving, J&J’s Janssen has a new cut of Phase III Spravato data to be grateful for.

The pharma giant announced on Wednesday that its nasal spray, also known as esketamine, beat extended-release quetiapine, previously sold by AstraZeneca as Seroquel XR, in treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Of 676 adults, a significantly higher number of patients on Spravato were able to achieve remission and avoid relapse after 32 weeks, according to J&J.

Dermavant Sciences' first consumer TV ad for its Vtama psoriasis med shows people ready for a new topical treatment.

Roivant’s Der­ma­vant de­buts first-ever TV com­mer­cial for pso­ri­a­sis cream Vta­ma

Dermavant Sciences has been marketing its first product, psoriasis med Vtama, to dermatologists for months, but on Tuesday it rolled out its first consumer campaign. The debut DTC effort including a streaming TV commercial encourages patients to a “Topical Uprising” in a nod to Vtama being a topical cream.

In the new commercial, a swell of people discards scarves and jacket coverings, gathering in the street to converge on a pharmacy to demand a steroid-free prescription. A moment of levity follows when a pharmacist says, “You know you can just talk to your doctor, right?” The gathered crowds collectively says, “Oh.”

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FDA preps for DMD drug gener­ics as Sarep­ta has yet to fin­ish its con­fir­ma­to­ry tri­al

The FDA typically releases guidance to help generic drug manufacturers develop new copycats of small molecule drugs, oftentimes in preparation for a brand name product’s patents or exclusivity to expire.

This week, FDA released such bioequivalence guidance for any generic drugmakers looking to take on Sarepta’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) drug Exondys 51 (eteplirsen), even though the drug’s sponsor has yet to convert the accelerated approval to a full approval, showing clinical benefit.