Sier­ra On­col­o­gy brings on for­mer Aim­mune CEO to the helm; Flag­ship woos ex-No­var­tis ex­ec Fab­rice Chouraqui

Stephen Dil­ly

Mo­melo­tinib-fo­cused Sier­ra On­col­o­gy, which launched a Phase III tri­al in No­vem­ber for myelofi­bro­sis pa­tients, has made Stephen Dil­ly its pres­i­dent and CEO, ef­fec­tive June 1. Dil­ly was pre­vi­ous­ly the CEO at Aim­mune from 2014 un­til what was billed as his re­tire­ment in 2018, but now he’s back at the helm of an­oth­er com­pa­ny and is al­so a mem­ber of Sier­ra’s board of di­rec­tors. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, the sea­soned vet has held posts at Genen­tech, Ch­i­ron and GSK.

Mean­while, Velox­is Phar­ma­ceu­tics CEO Craig Col­lard was al­so named to Van­cou­ver-based Sier­ra’s board.

→ Fab­rice Chouraqui has added a new ti­tle to his ré­sumé. Af­ter steadi­ly ris­ing through the ranks and jour­ney­ing the globe to nab a top job as pres­i­dent of US phar­ma for the Basel-based No­var­tis, Chouraqui has hit the ex­it to head a hy­brid po­si­tion as a CEO-part­ner at Flag­ship. In his new po­si­tion, he’ll take a shot at lead­ing Cel­lar­i­ty — one of the VC’s lat­est par­a­digm-chang­ing com­pa­nies mold­ed on a ground­break­ing mod­el that as­pires to de­liv­er a new plat­form to the world of drug R&D. He’s chang­ing a top ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tion in a glob­al or­ga­ni­za­tion su­per­vis­ing thou­sands of staffers for a role run­ning a team of 50 en­gaged in deep sci­ence that mar­ries new in­sights in­to cel­lu­lar bi­ol­o­gy and AI in Cam­bridge, MA. And he’s com­mit­ted to a dual role as ven­ture part­ner, con­tribut­ing his own ideas to shap­ing the strat­e­gy and ex­e­cu­tion at Flag­ship.

Peg­gy Sotiropoulu

→ Celyad, the Bel­gian biotech now mak­ing a low-pro­file run for off-the-shelf CAR-T suc­cess along­side more promi­nent peers like Cel­lec­tis, Servi­er and Al­lo­gene, has pro­mot­ed Peg­gy Sotiropoulou to head of R&D. Sotiropoulou joined the com­pa­ny in 2017 and pre­vi­ous­ly served as di­rec­tor of R&D.

Just a lit­tle more than a month since tak­ing over as the lat­est CEO to helm Im­munomedics, Harout Se­mer­jian is ex­it­ing the com­pa­ny af­ter be­ing con­front­ed by “lo­gis­ti­cal” ob­sta­cles thrown up by the pan­dem­ic that made it im­pos­si­ble for him to move from Lon­don to car­ry out the job. And he’s get­ting a lit­tle over a mil­lion dol­lars in cash plus perks to grease the skids on the way out. Se­mer­jian, a long­time No­var­tis ex­ec who jumped to Ipsen for a 3-year stint as head of com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions, took the biotech job on April 16, grab­bing a salary of $675,000 a year, a bonus equal to a min­i­mum of 70% of that fig­ure, stock op­tions and a $225,000 bud­get for mov­ing from Ipsen to New Jer­sey. Now Be­hzad Ag­haz­adeh is back in charge and he’s in no hur­ry to restart their head­hunt­ing op­er­a­tion for a new CEO. That, says the com­pa­ny, will have to wait un­til the pan­dem­ic is over.

Yil­maz Mahshid

Swedish biotech Medi­vir will wel­come Yil­maz Mahshid as CEO in the fall, suc­ceed­ing Uli Hack­sell, who had been at the helm since Oc­to­ber 2018. Hack­sell will stay on as a mem­ber of Medi­vir’s board. Mahshid has been the CFO at an­oth­er Swedish com­pa­ny, Pled­Phar­ma, since De­cem­ber 2017. Be­fore Pled­Phar­ma, Mahshid was at In­dus­tri­fonden as in­vest­ment man­ag­er and con­troller.

Ni­ma Farzan is tak­ing over as CEO of San Diego pre­ci­sion on­col­o­gy play­er Kin­nate Bio­phar­ma, re­plac­ing Stephen Kaldor, who has been ap­point­ed chair­man. Farzan had been pres­i­dent and CEO of Pax­Vax from 2011-19 and is cur­rent­ly a board mem­ber at Keros Ther­a­peu­tics. Pri­or to Pax­Vax, Farzan was with No­var­tis in nu­mer­ous ca­pac­i­ties, in­clud­ing VP of US mar­ket­ing in the vac­cines & di­ag­nos­tics di­vi­sion.

Ex-Pfiz­er ex­ec Mark Schney­er will step up to the plate in the new­ly-cre­at­ed role of SVP, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and CBO at Aca­dia Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, which re­vealed pos­i­tive Nu­plazid da­ta in De­cem­ber and a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­si­ty this month on tar­get­ing mus­carinic M1 re­cep­tors. Schney­er was at Pfiz­er for nine years, most re­cent­ly as their VP, busi­ness and cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment for the Up­john di­vi­sion.

→ New­ly op­er­at­ing Lari­mar Ther­a­peu­tics — cre­at­ed from a merg­er be­tween Chon­dr­i­al Ther­a­peu­tics and Zaf­genhas en­list­ed some new faces in­to its ranks. Joseph Tru­itt has been named chair of the board of di­rec­tors, Nan­cy Ruiz as CMO and Michael Celano as CFO. Tru­itt for­mer­ly served as CEO of Achillion Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. Ruiz joins the com­pa­ny from Pro­long Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, where she served as VP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and head of drug safe­ty, while Celano most re­cent­ly served as CFO and COO at Re­cro Phar­ma.

Savi­ta Bernal has joined the ranks as CBO of French mi­cro­bio­me biotech MaaT Phar­ma, which racked up €18 mil­lion in Se­ries B fi­nanc­ing in Feb­ru­ary. Be­fore her ap­point­ment at the Ly­on-based biotech, Bernal spent 7 years at an­oth­er Ly­on-based com­pa­ny, Ado­cia, where she was di­rec­tor of strate­gic mar­ket­ing and cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment.

William De­laney

An­oth­er lead­er­ship tran­si­tion is un­fold­ing at South San Fran­cis­co-based As­sem­bly Bio­sciences, where Gilead vet William De­laney is re­plac­ing the re­tir­ing Richard Colon­no as CSO, vi­rol­o­gy, ef­fec­tive June 1. Colon­no now moves in­to a se­nior ad­vi­so­ry role. The Gilead con­nec­tions are strong, as As­sem­bly CEO John McHutchi­son spent 9 years at the big biotech, where he was CSO and head of R&D. De­laney spent 20 years at Gilead, start­ing as a re­search sci­en­tist in vi­rol­o­gy and ris­ing to ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, bi­ol­o­gy.

Biodesy has un­veiled a new name this week: Blue­light Ther­a­peu­tics. The South San Fran­cis­co biotech al­so has a new CSO: Mark Gal­lop, a board mem­ber since 2018. An ex­ec­u­tive-in-res­i­dence at 5AM Ven­ture Part­ners, Gal­lop co-found­ed Rube­do Life Sci­ences, Nurix (where he was al­so CSO) and Xeno­Port (where he was al­so SVP of re­search).

→ Af­ter spend­ing a lit­tle over a year at Ap­plied Ther­a­peu­tics, CFO Mark Vi­g­no­la is hit­ting the ex­it. Charles (Chuck) Sil­ber­stein has been named as his suc­ces­sor and head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. Sil­ber­stein joins the com­pa­ny from re­cent­ly ac­quired Al­ler­gan, where he served as SVP of cor­po­rate busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. In ad­di­tion, Sil­ber­stein has served posts at Gold­man Sachs As­set Man­age­ment and JP Mor­gan As­set Man­age­ment.

→ Nathan Jor­gensen is head­ed to Cam­bridge, MA-based Vor Bio­phar­ma to be CFO. Be­fore go­ing to Vor, which en­gi­neers hematopoi­et­ic stem cells (eHSCs) to treat can­cer, Jor­gensen was most re­cent­ly with the Qatar In­vest­ment Au­thor­i­ty in a se­nior man­age­ment po­si­tion. Oth­er stops for Jor­gensen in the fi­nan­cial in­dus­try have in­clud­ed Calam­os In­vest­ments and Stifel Nico­laus.

Siob­han Nolan Mangi­ni

NGM Bio, which re­leased pos­i­tive da­ta in Feb­ru­ary in­volv­ing the use of aldafer­min in NASH pa­tients, will bring in Siob­han Nolan Mangi­ni as CFO, ef­fec­tive Ju­ly 13. Be­fore ar­riv­ing at NGM this sum­mer, Nolan Mangi­ni had been pres­i­dent and CFO of an­oth­er San Fran­cis­co-based com­pa­ny, Cast­light Health. She be­gan her Cast­light tenure in 2012 as di­rec­tor, strat­e­gy & busi­ness de­vel­op­ment.

Su­san Knud­son is mak­ing her way to San Diego-based re­gen­er­a­tive med­i­cine de­vel­op­er His­to­gen, where she will be­come EVP and CFO. She had held the same ti­tles at Pfenex since Feb­ru­ary 2018. Knud­son has al­so been the CFO of Neo­thet­ics and the se­nior di­rec­tor of fi­nance and ad­min­is­tra­tion at Av­era Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

Bel­gian biotech Hy­loris Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, which cor­ralled a $15 mil­lion fund­ing round in late April, has se­lect­ed Patrick Jean­mart as CFO. Jean­mart jumps to Hy­loris from De­groof Pe­ter­cam In­vest­ment Bank, where he was their glob­al head of health­care. From 2007-18, he was al­so the CFO at Celyad.

Da­mon Sil­vestry has signed on at San Diego biotech Prog­en­i­ty to be their COO. Be­fore start­ing at Prog­en­i­ty, which de­vel­ops mol­e­c­u­lar test­ing prod­ucts, Sil­vestry spent 5 years at Nat­era, where he was SVP, op­er­a­tions and peo­ple, and 3 years at Mira­ca Life Sci­ences, where he end­ed his tenure as SVP of op­er­a­tions.

Gregg Mc­Connell

→ Next-gen T cell play­er TCR² Ther­a­peu­tics has added some new faces to its lead­er­ship team. The Cam­bridge, Mass­a­chu­setts-based com­pa­ny wel­comed Gregg Mc­Connell as head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and Viera Muzithras as VP of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs. Mc­Connell hails from Blue­Rock Ther­a­peu­tics, where he served as VP and head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment un­til its ac­qui­si­tion by Bay­er. Pre­vi­ous­ly, Mc­Connell has served in roles at Pfiz­er. Muzithras steps in from Bris­tol My­ers Squibb (for­mer­ly Cel­gene), serv­ing as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of glob­al reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs. Pri­or to that, Muzithras was se­nior di­rec­tor of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs and glob­al reg­u­la­to­ry di­rec­tor at No­var­tis.

→ Just days af­ter lin­ing up $145 mil­lion to pay for their first for­ay in­to the clin­ic, the Rally­bio team is go­ing back to Alex­ion for their lat­est hire. They’ve re­cruit­ed Róisín Arm­strong, who will head the de­vel­op­ment of RLYB211, a plas­ma-de­rived hy­per­im­mune glob­u­lin in de­vel­op­ment for the pre­ven­tion of fe­tal and neona­tal al­loim­mune throm­bo­cy­tope­nia. Arm­strong served as VP and glob­al med­i­cine team leader at Alex­ion.

Salt Lake City bio­phar­ma El­e­var Ther­a­peu­tics, with its lead can­di­dates rivo­ceranib (ap­a­tinib) and Apealea fo­cused on treat­ing can­cers, has called up­on Mark Gelder to be glob­al head of med­ical af­fairs. Gelder, who has spent time with Pfiz­er, Wyeth and Bay­er, was the CMO at Pier­ian Bio­sciences, Ac­celo­vance and Heron Ther­a­peu­tics.

Mol­ly Harp­er

New York-based Rel­ma­da Ther­a­peu­tics, which tar­gets CNS dis­eases, has brought on Mol­ly Harp­er as EVP of op­er­a­tions. Harp­er start­ed out as one of the ini­tial em­ploy­ees with Akcea Ther­a­peu­tics as their VP, com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment, even­tu­al­ly be­com­ing SVP and glob­al fran­chise gen­er­al man­ag­er.

Amu­nix, which raised $73 mil­lion in a Se­ries A fi­nanc­ing round in March, has named Anne Keane SVP of reg­u­la­to­ry and qual­i­ty. Keane makes the leap to Amu­nix from Lyell Im­munophar­ma, where she was VP of reg­u­la­to­ry.

Fol­low­ing the pass­ing of Michael Wake­lam at the end of March, epi­ge­net­ics ex­pert Wolf Reik has been named act­ing di­rec­tor of the Babra­ham In­sti­tute. Reik has been the head of the In­sti­tute’s epi­ge­net­ics re­search pro­gram since 2008 and as­so­ciate di­rec­tor since 2004.

→ Ox­ford spin­out Evox Ther­a­peu­tics has en­list­ed Mar­tin An­drews as non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. An­drews served as the SVP, rare dis­eases at Glax­o­SmithK­line and pre­vi­ous­ly served as SVP, glob­al vac­cines com­mer­cial at GSK’s vac­cines di­vi­sion.

David Lacey

→ A day be­fore Gilead‘s $2 bil­lion part­ner­ship deal, Ter­ry Rosen’s Ar­cus Bio­sciences ap­point­ed Am­gen vet David Lacey to its board of di­rec­tors. Lacey and Rosen are fa­mil­iar with each oth­er from their days at Am­gen, where Lacey was SVP of dis­cov­ery re­search.

→ Cam­bridge, MA-based An­chi­ano Ther­a­peu­tics has elect­ed Stan Polovets to be chair­man of its board of di­rec­tors. Polovets, the for­mer CEO of the Al­fa-Ac­cess-Ren­o­va (AAR) Con­sor­tium and the co-founder, chair­man and CEO of the Gen­e­sis Prize Foun­da­tion, has been on the board since April.

Ex-Al­ler­gan ex­ec James Hind­man has hopped aboard as a di­rec­tor at Urovant Sci­ences — which in March had Jim Robin­son step in and take over the reins of the com­pa­ny. Dur­ing his ca­reer at Al­ler­gan, Hind­man held var­i­ous roles lead­ing to his post as CFO un­til the com­pa­ny’s $70.5 bil­lion merg­er with Ac­tavis in 2015.

Bain-backed Pfiz­er spin­out Spring­Works Ther­a­peu­tics has wel­comed for­mer Ideaya Bio­sciences ex­ec Julie Ham­ble­ton, to its board of di­rec­tors. Ham­ble­ton joined the board at Arch On­col­o­gy in April. In ad­di­tion, Ham­ble­ton pre­vi­ous­ly served as VP, head of US med­ical at Bris­tol My­ers Squibb.

Joan­na Horobin

iOnc­tura — fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing mol­e­cules tar­get­ing can­cer and fi­bro­sis — has tapped for­mer CEO of Syn­dax Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals Joan­na Horobin as non-ex­ec­u­tive chair of its board.

→ In­flam­ma­to­ry dis­ease-fo­cused Ac­quist Ther­a­peu­tics has added to its board of di­rec­tors, se­lect­ing Thomas Haver­ty and John Red­man. Haver­ty is cur­rent­ly the in­ter­im CMO at Eloxx Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, while Red­man is CEO of Pro­teus Ven­tures.

At the In­flec­tion Point for the Next Gen­er­a­tion of Can­cer Im­munother­a­py

While oncology researchers have long pursued the potential of cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, it was unclear whether these therapies would ever reach patients due to the complexity of manufacturing and costs of development. Fortunately, the recent successful development and regulatory approval of chimeric antigen receptor-engineered T (CAR-T) cells have demonstrated the significant benefit of these therapies to patients.

Stéphane Bancel, Moderna CEO

'This is not go­ing to be good': Mod­er­na CEO Ban­cel warns of a 'ma­te­r­i­al drop' in vac­cine ef­fi­ca­cy as Omi­cron spreads

Even as public health officials remain guarded about their comments on the likelihood Omicron will escape the reach of the currently approved Covid-19 vaccines, there’s growing scientific consensus that we’re facing a variant that threatens to overwhelm the vaccine barricades that have been erected.

Stéphane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, one of the leading mRNA players whose quick vault into the markets with a highly effective vaccine created an instant multibillion-dollar market, added his voice to the rising chorus early Tuesday. According to Bancel, there will be a significant drop in efficacy when the average immune system is confronted by Omicron. The only question now is: How much?

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 124,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Philip Dormitzer, new GSK global head of vaccines R&D

Glax­o­SmithK­line poach­es Pfiz­er's vi­ral vac­cines lead in rush to cap­i­tal­ize on fu­ture of mR­NA

GlaxoSmithKline has appointed Philip Dormitzer, formerly chief scientific officer of Pfizer’s viral vaccines unit, as its newest global head of vaccines R&D, looking to leverage one of the leading minds behind Pfizer and BioNTech’s RNA collaboration that led to Covid-19 jab Comirnaty, the British drug giant said Tuesday.

Dormitzer had been with Pfizer for a little more than six years, joining up after a seven-year stint with Novartis, where he reached the role of US head of research and head of global virology for the company’s vaccines and diagnostics unit.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 124,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

In­tro­duc­ing End­points Stu­dio, a new way to ad­ver­tise with End­points-craft­ed brand­ing cam­paigns

Since our start in 2016, Endpoints has grown fast while executing our mission to cover biopharma’s most critical developments for industry pros worldwide. As readership has grown, our advertising business has too. Endpoints advertising partners support the mission and engage their desired audiences through announcements on our email and web platforms, brand recognition in our event coverage and sponsorships of Endpoints daily and weekly reports.

With on­ly burns to show in gene ther­a­py, Astel­las inks deal with AAV spe­cial­ist Dyno in push for a bet­ter cap­sid

On the hunt for a better AAV capsid for gene therapy, Eric Kelsic’s Dyno Therapeutics has set itself apart with its focus on machine learning to help speed discovery. Now, Japanese drugmaker Astellas — fresh off a slate of gene therapy burns — is taking a bet on Dyno as it looks to the future.

Astellas and Dyno will work together as part of an R&D pact to develop next-gen AAV vectors for gene therapy using Dyno’s CapsidMap platform directed at skeletal and cardiac muscle, the companies said Wednesday. Under the terms of the deal, Dyno will design AAV capsids for gene therapy, while Astellas will be responsible for conducting preclinical, clinical and commercialization activities for gene therapy product candidates using the capsids.

As first Omi­cron case in US crops up, re­searchers won­der: which an­ti­bod­ies, vac­cines will hold up?

As Covid-19 drug and vaccine developers race to figure out which of their products might be hampered by the new variant, the CDC on Wednesday afternoon announced the first confirmed case of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) in the US, found in San Francisco.

The unidentified individual was a traveler who returned from South Africa on Nov. 22, 2021, was fully vaccinated, and had mild symptoms that the CDC described as improving. All close contacts have been contacted and have tested negative, the centers said.

Mod­er­na los­es lat­est bat­tle in key vac­cine de­liv­ery patent fight as fed­er­al ap­peal falls flat

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Wednesday rejected Moderna’s attempt to overturn key patents related to the delivery vehicle for its Covid-19 vaccine after the biotech sought to preempt a potentially risky infringement lawsuit.

For years, Moderna has been battling a tiny Pennsylvania biotech known as Arbutus over patents for a technology required to deliver its mRNA drugs and vaccines, known as lipid nanoparticles or LNP. Moderna is concerned there’s a substantial risk that Arbutus will assert the ’069 patent in an infringement suit targeting Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, particularly as Arbutus has boasted of its patent protection and refused to grant a covenant not to sue Moderna.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 124,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Lan Huang, BeyondSpring CEO

Months af­ter shock­ing in­vestors with lung can­cer win, Be­yond­Spring's lead drug hits road­block at the FDA

BeyondSpring shocked investors in early August after its once-marginal lead drug suddenly showed a lot of promise in a common form of lung cancer. With hopes high, the FDA has now slammed the door on that drug in another indication — does that spell bad news for BeyondSpring’s Cinderella story?

The FDA issued BeyondSpring a complete response letter for its plinabulin in combination with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, effectively shutting down the drug’s immediate chances at a marketing approval, the biotech said Wednesday.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 124,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

What's fair? New ICER re­port shows pay­ers gen­er­al­ly en­sur­ing fair ac­cess to drugs

The nonprofit Institute for Clinical and Economic Review on Wednesday released a new report highlighting the ways in which payers are generally ensuring fair access to prescription drugs, even when based on a set of criteria set by the nonprofit.

While noting the lack of transparency hindered the report’s results, ICER said that the “great majority” of payer policies in the formularies evaluated are structured in a way to support many key elements of how ICER defines “fair access.”