Peer Review

Sun BioPharma founder Michael Cullen steps up; SemaThera settles on permanent CEO; OncoSec nabs Kellie Malloy Foerter from Syneos

Michael Cullen (LinkedIn)

David Kaysen is stepping down from Sun BioPharma after three years in the president and CEO office, handing the reins to executive chairman and founder Michael Cullen. His departure is nothing against him, the company notes, but a result of “the need for cost reductions to focus further spending on the current Phase 1a/1b clinical trial in the front-line combination study of SBP-101 with gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel for the treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer.”

→ Montreal-based SemaThera is ready to hire a permanent CEO, and it has tapped a veteran Garth Cumberlidge for the role. He is tasked with shepherding the company’s anti-SEMA3A therapies into the clinic, starting with programs in diabetic macular edema and other degenerative retinopathies.

→ Having learned the ropes in the past few months, Chris Cargill is now the official executive vice president and CFO at Sosei, leading the global corporate finance functions for the Tokyo-headquartered company. Cargill first joined Sosei in 2017 after a decade-long run as an investment banker at JP Morgan.

Kellie Malloy Foerter (LinkedIn)

OncoSec has turned to the CRO world to hire its chief clinical development officer, poaching InVentiv vet Kellie Malloy Foerter from Syneos Health. Brought in for her track record in clinical trial design, execution and analysis, Malloy Foerter’s priority will be to spearhead an ongoing Phase IIb study testing OncoSec’d IL-12 agent with Merck’s Keytruda in melanoma patients who have failed prior anti-PD-1 treatment. She is also responsible for the rest of the pipeline, including a second combo trial in breast cancer.

Glenn Goddard is the new CFO at gene editing pioneer Intellia Therapeutics $NTLA. Still on the long ramp up to first-in-human studies of its CRISPR-Cas9-enabled therapeutics, Intellia wants Goddard to flex some of the muscles he developed in leading Agios from an early-stage research company to a commercial-ready organization as the principal financial officer. Goddard, who most recently served as CFO of Generation Bio, will also oversee IT and facilities.

→ Just a month after installing Natalie Sacks as CMO, Harpoon Therapeutics is adding two new execs to its C-suite. Former investment banker Georgia Erbez is taking up the CFO post following similar stints at Zosano Pharma, Asterias Biotherapeutics and Raptor Pharmaceuticals. Meanwhile, Holger Wesche has been promoted from SVP of research — a title he held for the past three years — to CSO.

→ San Mateo, CA-based startup CuraSen has named Gabriel Vargas as CMO, tasked with developing a stealthy pipeline that’s designed to tackle some tough neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The biotech vets who run CuraSen like Vargas’ work at Amgen, where he managed the preclinical and early development portion of the neuroscience portfolio.

→ Ready to turn a new page after a dramatic breakup with its ex-CEO, Rockwell Medical $RMTI is wrapping the year with the appointment of a new CFO. Angus Smith joins from Pernix Therapeutics, with business development as well as finance experience under his belt.   

Inscripta, the startup best known for discovering an alternative CRISPR enzyme to Cas9, has hired Jason Gammack from Qiagen to market its research tools as its first chief commercial officer.

Veloxis Pharmaceuticals has given a formal promotion to Ira Duarte, who’s been filling in as CFO after Morten Marott departed following a 5-month stint.

→ Anticipating late-stage results for its lead bone cell therapy, Belgium’s Bone Therapeutics has tapped Linda Lebon — formerly of argenx and Quintiles, among others — as chief regulatory officer with a mandate to find the regulatory pathway for this and other programs through to commercialization.

→ Just a few days after admitting to a troubling financial situation, Synergy Pharmaceuticals $SYGP announces that its longtime executive chairman is out. Gary Jacob, who was credited for co-inventing Synergy’s sole asset Trulance, will be replaced by Melvin Spigelman.


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