Tetraphase deal done, La Jol­la Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal taps Lar­ry Ed­wards as CEO; Long­time Eli Lil­ly ex­ec Michael Over­dorf heads to An­nex­on as CBO

Lar­ry Ed­wards

→ As La Jol­la Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal closed on their ac­qui­si­tion of Tetraphase on Wednes­day, the San Diego biotech al­so an­nounced that they’re tak­ing the pres­i­dent and CEO right along with them as Lar­ry Ed­wards steps in. Ed­wards, who had a 15-year run at Mer­ck and was a glob­al mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor for the phar­ma gi­ant, spent the last year at the helm at Tetraphase and 5 years over­all in oth­er roles.

Last No­vem­ber, George Tid­marsh walked away as La Jol­la’s top ex­ec “to pur­sue oth­er in­ter­ests” af­ter their drug LJPC-401 flamed out for be­ta tha­lassemia pa­tients and the study (LJ401-BT01) was sum­mar­i­ly scrapped.

An­nex­on, Dou­glas Love’s Bay Area biotech that joined the IPO craze this month with a $100 mil­lion raise, has a new CBO in Eli Lil­ly vet Michael Over­dorf. Leav­ing Lil­ly af­ter more than 19 years, Over­dorf had been the phar­ma gi­ant’s VP, cor­po­rate busi­ness de­vel­op­ment the last 2 years, and be­fore tak­ing that on, he was their VP, cor­po­rate strat­e­gy & busi­ness trans­for­ma­tion. He al­so co-found­ed and was the chair­man and CEO of In­nosight be­fore mov­ing on to Lil­ly.

→ Dutch clin­i­cal on­col­o­gy biotech Merus, which changed CEOs in De­cem­ber, has wel­comed Big Phar­ma vet An­drew Joe as their CMO. Joe helped co-de­vel­op Lib­tayo with Re­gen­eron while he led Sanofi’s im­muno-on­col­o­gy pro­gram, and he al­so led the new in­di­ca­tions de­vel­op­ment team at Mer­ck for Keytru­da, help­ing nab ap­provals for Mi­crosatel­lite In­sta­bil­i­ty-High (MSI-H) can­cer and cer­vi­cal can­cer. Joe al­so spent time as med­ical di­rec­tor for No­var­tis and Roche.

Patrick Bur­nett

Patrick Bur­nett has been tapped as CMO of Fra­zier-backed im­muno-der­ma­tol­ogy bio­phar­ma Ar­cutis Ther­a­peu­tics, which se­cured an up­sized $159 mil­lion IPO in Jan­u­ary. Bur­nett jumps to Ar­cutis from Ver­ri­ca Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, where he was CMO the last 2 years. A for­mer glob­al pro­gram med­ical di­rec­tor at No­var­tis, Bur­nett was as­so­ciate VP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, der­ma­tol­ogy and rheuma­tol­ogy at Sun Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, shep­herd­ing the BLA for Ilumya in pa­tients with pso­ri­a­sis in the US and Eu­rope.

→ Top­ping up their IPO at $298 mil­lion in June, Avid­i­ty Bio­sciences has se­lect­ed Jae Kim as CMO. Be­fore mov­ing to Avid­i­ty, a play­er in oligonu­cleotide-based ther­a­pies to fight mus­cle dis­or­ders, Kim spent 4 years at Al­ny­lam as VP of clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and was al­so clin­i­cal re­search head and chair of the clin­i­cal tri­al re­view board. Pri­or to Al­ny­lam, he was ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, clin­i­cal re­search at MyoKar­dia and glob­al de­vel­op­ment leader at Am­gen.

Paul Liz­zul has signed on at San Diego-based Anap­tys Bio as their CMO. Be­fore he joined the drug de­vel­op­er, whose an­ti-IL-33 an­ti­body etokimab struck out for eczema in No­vem­ber, Liz­zul had been glob­al de­vel­op­ment lead for in­flam­ma­tion at Am­gen, and be­fore that, the CMO of Si­en­na Bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and se­nior med­ical di­rec­tor at Kythera Bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

Gad Berdugo

Part­nered with Al­ler­gan on the BRIL­LIANCE tri­al that treat­ed its first pa­tient for a rare ge­net­ic mu­ta­tion that caus­es blind­ness with in vi­vo CRISPR, gene edit­ing pi­o­neer Ed­i­tas Med­i­cine has brought on Gad Berdugo as CBO. Berdugo had been co-founder, CEO and a board mem­ber at Epi­Vax On­col­o­gy be­fore join­ing the CRISPR biotech, which saw a slew of de­par­tures that cul­mi­nat­ed in CEO Ka­trine Bosley sud­den­ly part­ing ways in Jan­u­ary 2019. Berdugo was al­so EVP and CFO at Im­mune Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

→ Stock­holm-based Moberg Phar­ma, putting an em­pha­sis on their nail fun­gus treat­ment MOB-015 with Phase III stud­ies un­der­way, has called up­on Cindy Wong to be CMO. Wong comes from Merz Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals GmbH, where she was VP and head of glob­al clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. She al­so has pre­vi­ous CMO ex­pe­ri­ence at Q-Med/Gal­der­ma.

Bri­an Dow has been named CFO of breast can­cer-fo­cused Agen­dia. Pri­or to join­ing the Cal­i­for­nia pre­ci­sion on­col­o­gy play­er, Dow held the CFO post for 4 years at Pulse Bio­sciences, steer­ing the com­pa­ny through its ear­ly-stage IPO, and was briefly the CFO at Prog­y­ny. He al­so had a 5-year tenure as VP and prin­ci­pal ac­count­ing of­fi­cer at Pa­cif­ic Bio­sciences.

Ivan Zhu

→ Scor­ing $104 mil­lion in Jan­u­ary as the first Chi­nese biotech since Zai Lab to hit Nas­daq, and now search­ing for a US part­ner, Shang­hai-based I-Mab has made Ivan Yifei Zhu their chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer. Zhu, the ex-CCO of BeiGene, was pre­vi­ous­ly Qilu Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Group’s VP and GM of the sales di­vi­sion. He al­so spent more than 20 years at Chi­nese J&J sub­sidiary Xi’an Janssen.

→ Ex-Helsinn pres­i­dent and CEO William Mann has a new gig as chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer at Pitts­burgh-based NeuBase Ther­a­peu­tics, a next-gen­er­a­tion an­ti­sense oligonu­cleotide (ASO) play­er us­ing its PA­TrOL plat­form to tar­get rare ge­net­ic dis­eases. Mann, who kicked off his ca­reer at No­var­tis and was their di­rec­tor of glob­al busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and li­cens­ing, was at the helm at Helsinn from 2009-18. Be­fore Helsinn, he was a busi­ness de­vel­op­ment ex­ec at Sap­phire Ther­a­peu­tics.

Kim­ber­ly Vanover

En­grail Ther­a­peu­tics, which launched in mid-June with a $32 mil­lion Se­ries A thanks to Nan Fung Life Sci­ences, is fill­ing out its team with Kim­ber­ly Vanover as CSO and Eve Tay­lor as VP, clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. Vanover and Tay­lor both hail from In­tra-Cel­lu­lar Ther­a­pies: Vanover was SVP, ear­ly stage clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and trans­la­tion­al med­i­cine among oth­er roles over 13 years, and Tay­lor was a se­nior di­rec­tor in clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. Stephen Cun­ning­ham, Vanover’s pre­de­ces­sor who was al­so EVP, de­vel­op­ment, will tran­si­tion to the role of chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer.

Con­cur­rent with those ap­point­ments, Tony Ho has been elect­ed to En­grail’s board of di­rec­tors, bring­ing the to­tal on their board to 5. He has been EVP of R&D at CRISPR Ther­a­peu­tics the last 3 years.

An­toine Awad

→ Cam­bridge, MA-based Syn­log­ic has pro­mot­ed An­toine Awad to chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer af­ter join­ing the com­pa­ny in 2018 as head of tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions. Be­fore Syn­log­ic, Awad was SVP of CMC and op­er­a­tions at Abpro Ther­a­peu­tics and L.E.A.F. Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. On an­oth­er Syn­log­ic note, An­drew Marsh has been named head of de­vel­op­ment op­er­a­tions af­ter lead­ing clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Ra Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. Marsh has al­so worked in clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Tetraphase and Zio­pharm On­col­o­gy.

David Binga­man is on board as VP, glob­al clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment at Swiss eye drop de­vel­op­er Oculis af­ter 9 years at PanOp­ti­ca, where he was se­nior di­rec­tor and head of reti­na de­vel­op­ment. From 1998-2011, Binga­man had a se­ries of roles at Al­con Re­search, the for­mer eye-care di­vi­sion of No­var­tis, among them as­so­ciate di­rec­tor of reti­na R&D.

→ As not­ed last week, the Park­er In­sti­tute for Can­cer Im­munother­a­py has tapped John Con­nol­ly as CSO. Con­nol­ly hops aboard af­ter a stint at Tes­sa Ther­a­peu­tics as its CSO.

Kel­lie Mal­loy Fo­ert­er

On­coSec Med­ical — who faced a full-on class ac­tion com­plaint from Al­pha Hold­ings last No­vem­ber — has pro­mot­ed Kel­lie Mal­loy Fo­ert­er to the role of COO. Mal­loy Fo­ert­er pre­vi­ous­ly served as chief clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer and joined the mi­cro­cap biotech in 2018. Pri­or to On­coSec, Mal­loy Fo­ert­er was at Sy­neos Health.

→ San Diego nov­el RNA biotech DTx Phar­ma has cho­sen Bryan Laf­fitte as VP, bi­ol­o­gy. Laf­fitte makes the leap to DTx from In­cep­tion Ther­a­peu­tics, where he served in the same ca­pac­i­ty. Start­ing out as an in­ves­ti­ga­tor in high through­put bi­ol­o­gy for GSK, Laf­fitte logged 13 years at the Ge­nomics In­sti­tute of the No­var­tis Re­search Foun­da­tion, most re­cent­ly as their di­rec­tor, re­gen­er­a­tive med­i­cine.

Joseph Shul­man

→ Not long af­ter grab­bing David Meek­er as their new CEO, Rhythm Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has re­cruit­ed Joseph Shul­man as SVP of tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions. Shul­man was just at Ra Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, re­cent­ly ac­quired by UCB, in the same ca­pac­i­ty and has con­sid­er­able tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions ex­pe­ri­ence at such com­pa­nies as Nov­e­l­ion Ther­a­peu­tics, Zio­pharm On­col­o­gy and Dyax.

→ Waltham, MA CRO and bio­phar­ma ser­vice provider Parex­el has re­in­forced its glob­al reg­u­la­to­ry & ac­cess con­sult­ing team with three new staffers that will be des­ig­nat­ed as tech­ni­cal VPs. Ya­jie Li has been se­nior clin­i­cal re­view­er with the Cen­ter for Drug Eval­u­a­tion (CDE) in Bei­jing and was al­so Janssen’s reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs ther­a­peu­tic area di­rec­tor for in­fec­tious dis­eases & vac­cines. Jorge Ca­marero is a for­mer al­ter­nate mem­ber of the Com­mit­tee for Med­i­c­i­nal Prod­ucts for Hu­man Use (CHMP) at the EMA, and pri­or to that, led the on­col­o­gy area at the Span­ish Agency for Med­i­cines and Med­ical De­vices. Fi­nal­ly, FDA vet Lu­cas Kempf has held sev­er­al roles at the Cen­ter for Drug Eval­u­a­tion and Re­search and the NIH, in­clud­ing the CDER’s act­ing as­so­ciate di­rec­tor, rare dis­eases pro­gram.

Jens Hol­stein

→ Ge­nom­ic di­ag­nos­tics com­pa­ny Ve­r­a­cyte has nabbed Jim Er­linger as their EVP, gen­er­al coun­sel and sec­re­tary. Er­linger was a part­ner for 27 years at Bryan Cave Leighton Pais­ner be­fore be­com­ing EVP and gen­er­al coun­sel at IQVIA from 2012-18. Fur­ther, Ve­r­a­cyte has added Jens Hol­stein, the CFO at Mor­phoSys since 2011, to their board of di­rec­tors.

Heather Adams has joined Turn­ing Point Ther­a­peu­tics as VP of hu­man re­sources, a cou­ple weeks af­ter the San Diego on­col­o­gy com­pa­ny named An­drew Par­tridge EVP and chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer. Be­fore head­ing to Turn­ing Point, which signed a deal ear­li­er in the month with Zai Lab to sell re­potrec­tinib in Greater Chi­na, Adams filled HR roles at Bio­nano Ge­nomics be­fore be­com­ing their chief ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cer.

De­r­i­ca Rice

De­r­i­ca Rice and Paula Price have been elect­ed as in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tors at Bris­tol My­ers Squibb, ef­fec­tive Sept. 1. Cur­rent­ly a board mem­ber at the Walt Dis­ney Com­pa­ny, Rice’s tenure at Eli Lil­ly spanned more than 25 years, a good por­tion of that as EVP of glob­al ser­vices and CFO. Price is a for­mer EVP and CFO at Ma­cy’s, where she’s still an ad­vi­sor.

Hematopoi­et­ic stem cell-fo­cused Vor con­tin­ues to ex­pand its board of di­rec­tors, let­ting in David Lub­n­er af­ter Daniel­la Beck­man joined a cou­ple weeks ago. Lub­n­er had been EVP and CFO of Ra Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and pri­or to that, he spent near­ly 10 years as SVP and CFO of Tetraphase.

Paula Brown Stafford

Paula Brown Stafford has ex­pand­ed her role at Mor­risville, NC biotech No­van and is now chair of the board in ad­di­tion to lead­ing the com­pa­ny as pres­i­dent and CEO since Feb­ru­ary. Stafford has sat on the board the last 3 years. Along­side this an­nounce­ment, Robert In­gram is re­tir­ing as No­van’s ex­ec­u­tive chair­man, but will stay on as a board mem­ber.

In­cyte EVP and GM, North Amer­i­ca Bar­ry Flan­nel­ly has made his way to the board of di­rec­tors at Pro­tara Ther­a­peu­tics, which got the FDA seal of ap­proval in May with IV choline chlo­ride for in­testi­nal fail­ure-as­so­ci­at­ed liv­er dis­ease (IFALD). Scott Braun­stein re­signed from Pro­tara’s board to con­cen­trate on his role as CEO at Mar­i­nus Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, leav­ing the door open for Flan­nel­ly to re­place him.

→ Aus­tralian drug de­vel­op­er Ki­RA Biotech has ap­point­ed Michael Grissinger as an in­de­pen­dent chair of its board of di­rec­tors. Grissinger spent more than 2 decades at J&J in a num­ber of ex­ec­u­tive posts, the lat­est of which was VP, M&A op­er­a­tions, di­vesti­tures, and im­munol­o­gy busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. It was in that role that he was in­volved in the 2017 Acte­lion buy­out.

Wayne Fred­er­ick

For­ma Ther­a­peu­tics has elect­ed Wayne Fred­er­ick to serve on the com­pa­ny’s board of di­rec­tors. Fred­er­ick comes to the Wa­ter­ton, MA-based biotech from Howard Uni­ver­si­ty, where he cur­rent­ly serves as pres­i­dent.

Michael David­son is now on the board of di­rec­tors at New Jer­sey-based cell ther­a­py play­er Cal­adrius Bio­sciences. David­son found­ed and is the CSO at Cor­vidia Ther­a­peu­tics, which was re­cent­ly sold to No­vo Nordisk for $2.1 bil­lion.

OMass Ther­a­peu­tics, which was spun out of Ox­ford in 2016, has named Nathalie Franchi­mont non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. Cur­rent­ly, Franchi­mont serves as VP, head of MS and im­munol­o­gy de­vel­op­ment unit at Bio­gen. Pri­or to her role at Bio­gen, Franchi­mont held var­i­ous po­si­tions at Am­gen.

→ Gene ther­a­py-fo­cused Gene­spire has en­list­ed Jörn Aldag as chair­man of the board. Aldag has been the CEO of HOOKIPA Phar­ma since 2016.

Ar­cus and As­traZeneca part­ner on a high stakes an­ti-TIG­IT/PD-L1 PhI­II can­cer study, look­ing to im­prove on a stan­dard of care

For AstraZeneca, the PACIFIC trial in Stage III non-small cell lung cancer remains one of the big triumphs for AstraZeneca’s oncology R&D group. It not only made their PD-L1 Imfinzi a franchise player with a solid advance in a large niche of the lung cancer market, the study — which continues to offer data on the long-range efficacy of their drug — also helped salve the vicious sting of the failure of the CTLA-4 combo in the MYSTIC study.

Daphne Koller, Getty

Bris­tol My­er­s' Richard Har­g­reaves pays $70M to launch a neu­rode­gen­er­a­tion al­liance with a star play­er in the ma­chine learn­ing world

Bristol Myers Squibb is turning to one of the star upstarts in the machine learning world to go back to the drawing board and come up with the disease models needed to find drugs that can work against two of the toughest targets in the neuro world.

Daphne Koller’s well-funded insitro is getting $70 million in cash and near-term milestones to use their machine learning platform to create induced pluripotent stem cell-derived disease models for ALS and frontotemporal dementia.

Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks at the Rose Garden, May 26, 2020 (Evan Vucci/AP Images)

Eli Lil­ly lines up a block­buster deal for Covid-19 an­ti­body, right af­ter it failed a NI­AID tri­al

Two days after Eli Lilly conceded that its antibody bamlanivimab was a flop in hospitalized Covid-19 patients, the US government is preparing to make it a blockbuster.

The pharma giant reported early Wednesday that it struck a deal to supply the feds with 300,000 vials of the drug at a cost of $375 million — once it gets an EUA stamp from the FDA. And once that 2-month supply deal is done, the government has an option on another 650,000 doses on the same terms — which could potentially add another $812 million.

No­var­tis buys a new gene ther­a­py for vi­sion loss, and this is one pre­clin­i­cal ven­ture that did­n't come cheap

Cyrus Mozayeni got excited when he began to explore the academic work of Ehud Isacoff and John G. Flannery at UC Berkeley.

Together, they were engaged in finding a gene therapy approach to pan-genotypic vision restoration in patients with photoreceptor-based blindness, potentially restoring the vision of a broad group of patients. And they did it by using a vector to deliver the genetic sequence for light sensing proteins.

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Q32 Bio grabs $60M to kick off hu­man stud­ies for next-gen com­ple­ment drugs — with some Covid-19 tweaks along the way

For a company that launched in the early months of the pandemic, Q32 Bio had its fair share of run-ins with the new normals under Covid-19.

The original plan, for instance, was to conduct first-in-human studies of the IL-7 receptor antibody it licensed from Bristol Myers Squibb in the Netherlands. But they realized shortly after that while the country was beginning to open up clinical trials, there were additional restrictions on drugs that tampered with immunological mechanisms.

Hal Barron, GSK R&D chief

GSK's Hal Bar­ron ax­es a once-prized drug from J&J, con­tin­u­ing shift away from res­pi­ra­to­ry

Hal Barron’s revamp of the GlaxoSmithKline pipeline continued yesterday, as the British pharma announced they axed an asthma drug they once promised over $200 million to acquire.

Then led by CEO Andrew Witty and R&D chief Patrick Vallance, GSK picked up the drug, known elegantly as GSK3772847, from J&J in 2016, hoping to expand on the beachhead in asthma they had established the year prior with Breo Ellipta. They promised up to $227 million in upfront payments and milestones.

Konstantin Poukalov

Per­cep­tive re­cruits A-list in­vestors to back its in-house Chi­na start­up with a mam­moth $310M raise

It took two years for Perceptive Advisors to conceive and boot up LianBio, its big bet on a new kind of in-licensing model for China, seeding it with enough cash to set up two anchoring deals with MyoKardia and BridgeBio. The result was a startup that was all ready to go, reaping $310 million just a little over two months after official launch.

Homegrown Chinese biotechs — many of them boasting of US ties and execs with overseas credentials — have been raking in mega-venture rounds in 2020, both from influential local backers and overseas VC firms that have been loading up new cash. As with IPOs, the deal flow might be slower but the amounts are often more staggering. LianBio’s latest round, unusually, is branded both a Series A and crossover.

CMO Merdad Parsey (Gilead)

Gilead hits the brakes on a tri­fec­ta of mid- and late-stage stud­ies for their trou­bled fil­go­tinib pro­gram. It's up to the FDA now

Gilead $GILD execs haven’t decided exactly what to do with filgotinib in the wake of the slapdown at the FDA on their rheumatoid arthritis application, but they’re taking a time out for a slate of studies until they can gain some clarity from the agency. And without encouraging guidance, this drug could clearly be axed from the pipeline.

In their Q3 report out Wednesday afternoon, the company says researchers have “paused” a Phase III study for psoriatic arthritis along with a pair of Phase II trials for ankylosing spondylitis and uveitis. Late-stage studies for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s are continuing, but you can see for yourself how big a hole this leaves in the inflammatory disease pipeline, with obvious implications if the company abandons filgo altogether.

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Patrick Soon-Shiong at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, Jan. 13, 2020 (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Af­ter falling be­hind the lead­ers, dissed by some ex­perts, biotech show­man Patrick Soon-Sh­iong fi­nal­ly gets his Covid-19 vac­cine ready for a tri­al. But can it live up to the hype?

In January, when dozens of scientists rushed to start making a vaccine for the then-novel coronavirus, they were joined by an unlikely compatriot: Patrick Soon-Shiong, the billionaire doctor most famous for making big, controversial promises on cancer research.

Soon-Shiong had spent the last 4 years on his “Cancer Moonshot,” but part of his project meant buying a small Seattle biotech that specialized in making common-cold vectors, called adenoviruses, to train the immune system. The billionaire had been using those vectors for oncology, but the company had also developed vaccine candidates for H1N1, Lassa fever and other viruses. When the outbreak began, he pivoted.

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