Top sci­en­tist Thor Voigt vaults to CMO role at Boehringer In­gel­heim; Cel­gene's Scott Smith tapped as pres­i­dent at BioAt­la

Thor Voigt

Boehringer In­gel­heim has pro­mot­ed one of its top sci­en­tists to the chief med­ical of­fi­cer’s job, giv­ing Thor Voigt a big voice in the com­pa­ny as it grows its R&D or­ga­ni­za­tion.

The pri­vate Ger­man com­pa­ny put out the word at the be­gin­ning of the week that Voigt will be tak­ing the place of Christo­pher Cor­si­co, who is leav­ing the bio­phar­ma com­pa­ny af­ter 20 years. Voigt has been a staffer for 26 years.

The change­up comes as Boehringer fol­lows through with an am­bi­tious ex­pan­sion of R&D af­ter pledg­ing to get 15 new drugs to an ap­proval over the next 7 years — a con­sid­er­able chal­lenge for any com­pa­ny in drug de­vel­op­ment.

Boehringer has about 8,000 staffers in its re­search group, and ear­li­er this week snapped up an up­start in the on­colyt­ic virus are­na with their $244 mil­lion deal to ac­quire Vi­raTher­a­peu­tics.

Scott Smith

Scott Smith has emerged just as sud­den­ly as he was oust­ed at Cel­gene. The for­mer biotech COO has joined San Diego-based BioAt­la as pres­i­dent, claim­ing a num­ber of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in “busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and part­ner­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, new prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and ex­e­cu­tion” of plans to ad­vance the com­pa­ny’s con­di­tion­al­ly ac­tive bi­o­log­ic an­ti­body plat­form world­wide.

→ Der­ma­tol­ogy spe­cial­ist Bio­Phar­mX $BP­MX has tapped David Tier­ney as CEO to shep­herd its ac­ne treat­ment in­to Phase III. Tier­ney — chief ex­ec­u­tive at Icon Bio­science un­til its re­cent merg­er with Eye­Point Phar­ma — suc­ceeds co-founder An­ja Kram­mer, who will keep her ti­tles of pres­i­dent and cor­po­rate sec­re­tary.

An­drew Cheng spent close to 20 years at Gilead, end­ing as its chief med­ical of­fi­cer af­ter play­ing a key role in de­vel­op­ing a string of block­busters. Now, af­ter mak­ing a re­cent ex­it at Gilead in an ex­o­dus of top ex­ecs, he’s sur­faced at the helm of an up­start biotech with plans to play a dis­rup­tive role in the bur­geon­ing NASH field. Cheng is the new CEO of Akero Ther­a­peu­tics, and his re­cruit­ment was im­por­tant enough for the still-small com­pa­ny to de­cide to switch its head­quar­ters from the hot hub in Cam­bridge, MA to trendy San Fran­cis­co. And start­up CEO Jonathon Young will now switch to the COO’s job.

Sanofi and Bay­er are swap­ping out two top ex­ecs, trig­ger­ing a re­or­ga­ni­za­tion at the French phar­ma com­pa­ny that will al­low for a clos­er fo­cus on Chi­na. Ste­fan Oel­rich is leav­ing his job at Sanofi as head of the di­a­betes and car­dio op­er­a­tion, head­ed back to Bay­er as the new chief of its phar­ma group, where he be­gan his ca­reer. Sanofi, mean­while, re­cruit­ed Bay­er’s Di­eter Weinand — who Oel­rich is re­plac­ing — and as­signed him to the of­fice in Bridge­wa­ter, NJ, where he’ll run a new pri­ma­ry care unit that com­bines di­a­betes/car­dio and their “Es­tab­lished Prod­ucts” group.

Sanofi is al­so carv­ing out a new group called “Chi­na and emerg­ing mar­kets” and as­sign­ing it to Olivi­er Charmeil, who will be in charge. Chi­na has grown swift­ly in­to Sanofi’s sec­ond largest mar­ket, and they want to add an em­pha­sis here.

Ju­lia Gre­go­ry

Ju­lia Gre­go­ry is the new ex­ec­u­tive chair at Cavion, the start­up backed by Eli Lil­ly and No­var­tis to cre­ate ther­a­pies for rare neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­eases by mod­u­lat­ing the T-type cal­ci­um chan­nel. A sea­soned biotech board di­rec­tor, Gre­go­ry had served as CEO of Five Prime, EVP at Con­tra­Fect and CFO at Lex­i­con be­fore mak­ing a move to con­sult­ing.

→ Ex­pe­ri­enced com­mer­cial ex­ec Paul Firu­ta has jumped ship from uniQure to be­come COO of Achillion. In ad­di­tion to prep­ping the biotech’s com­ple­ment fac­tor D pro­grams for Phase III reg­is­tra­tional tri­als, he will have a key role in the po­ten­tial launch of these rare dis­ease drugs — some­thing he’s had plen­ty of prac­tice in. Firu­ta is the sec­ond C-suite mem­ber Achillion CEO Joseph Tru­itt has poached from uniQure, join­ing CMO Steven Ze­lenkofske.

Pavel Pisa

→ Cam­bridge, UK-based Crescen­do Bi­o­log­ics has re­cruit­ed Roche vet Pavel Pisa to over­see its pipeline of T cell en­hanc­ing ther­a­pies. As the for­mer head of trans­la­tion­al med­i­cine at the phar­ma gi­ant, Pisa reg­u­lar­ly han­dled first-in-hu­man stud­ies and had a front-row seat to their ear­ly ef­forts in im­munother­a­py — check­ing all the box­es for Crescen­do ex­ecs keen on push­ing their on­col­o­gy pro­grams in­to the clin­ic.

Detlev Bin­iszkiewicz and Scott Chap­pel met at Sur­face On­col­o­gy, steer­ing the im­muno-on­col­o­gy up­start to­geth­er through a slate of pre­clin­i­cal pro­grams and a re­cent IPO. The ex­pe­ri­ence bring­ing an idea to life cap­ti­vat­ed both Bin­iszkiewicz — a Big Phar­ma vet — and Chap­pel, who held a streak of biotech ex­ec roles be­fore co-found­ing Sur­face. As the At­las-backed biotech got on track for hu­man stud­ies, both be­gan itch­ing to do it again. Now, af­ter a brief spell apart, they are back in the same of­fice as part of a larg­er team of “en­tre­pre­neur­ial en­gines” at MPM Cap­i­tal, scout­ing new in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and tak­ing op­er­a­tional roles in biotechs ven­tures.

→ In an ef­fort to es­tab­lish a big­ger pres­ence in Asia, France’s Pox­el has formed a Japan­ese sub­sidiary and poached a vet­er­an ex­ec from Janssen to run the op­er­a­tion. Takashi Kaneko, a vet­er­an staffer of multi­na­tion­al phar­ma com­pa­nies in Japan, will serve as pres­i­dent of Pox­el KK with the ad­di­tion­al ti­tle se­nior vice pres­i­dent, med­ical. He will dive right in­to Pox­el’s on­go­ing clin­i­cal and mar­ket ac­cess plans for di­a­betes drug imeglim­in, work­ing close­ly with new part­ners at Sum­it­o­mo Dainip­pon.

Medi­vir $MVIR has ap­point­ed Lin­da Basse as CMO, hand­ing her the reins over a broad port­fo­lio of can­cer drugs. Be­fore join­ing the Stock­holm-based biotech, Basse has served as med­ical di­rec­tor at Den­mark’s Zealand Phar­ma and Gen­mab.

→ On a hunt for phar­ma com­pa­nies in­ter­est­ed in its drug de­liv­ery tech, Travec­ta Ther­a­peu­tics has en­list­ed Dou­glas Hicks for some deal­mak­ing ex­per­tise. As chief busi­ness of­fi­cer, Hicks will help de­vise the cor­po­rate strat­e­gy and scout part­ner­ships where Travec­ta’s plat­form, which en­ables trans­port of small mol­e­cules across the blood-brain bar­ri­er and blood-reti­na bar­ri­er, can come in­to play. Most re­cent­ly, he was in charge of the BD de­part­ment of the con­tract de­vel­op­ment and man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­ny iBio.

→ As Idera Phar­ma $IDRA con­sol­i­dates all of its op­er­a­tions in Ex­ton, PA, long­time CFO Louis Ar­cu­di will not be mov­ing with the rest of the team. His res­ig­na­tion will lead to the pro­mo­tion of John Kir­by, cur­rent­ly VP of fi­nance and pre­vi­ous­ly VP of ac­count­ing. That’s not all: Idera has hired Bryant Lim as gen­er­al coun­sel, SVP and sec­re­tary of the board of di­rec­tors. Lim’s re­cent stint at IDO drug de­vel­op­er In­cyte, com­bined with his pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence with Vi­roPhar­ma’s piv­ot to com­mer­cial­iza­tion, con­vinced Idera ex­ecs that he is an ide­al ex­ec to have on their side while they look to get an OK on tilso­tolimod.

→ Fol­low­ing a dec­o­rat­ed ca­reer that spanned gigs at Astel­las, Onyx, Genen­tech, Eli Lil­ly and most re­cent­ly Aege­ri­on, Jef­frey Bloss has land­ed his lat­est job at Tarve­da Ther­a­peu­tics. The CMO’s ap­point­ment comes on the heels of an­nounce­ments that Tarve­da is start­ing mid-stage stud­ies for two of its minia­ture drug con­ju­gates dubbed Pen­tarins. He will be work­ing with two oth­er new hires: Steven Ham­burg­er, VP of reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs, and Lau­ra Mei, VP of clin­i­cal op­er­a­tions.

David Grys­ka is set to re­tire from In­cyte $IN­CY at the end of this year, trig­ger­ing a search for a new CFO.

Roy Baynes Mer­ck’s CMO and of­ten the face for its Keytru­da fran­chise — has joined the board of Atara Bio­ther­a­peu­tics, which re­cent­ly inked an­oth­er col­lab­o­ra­tion deal with a star in­ves­ti­ga­tor at Memo­r­i­al Sloan Ket­ter­ing to beef up its pipeline of off-the-shelf T cell im­munother­a­pies.

As­traZeneca trum­pets the 'mo­men­tous' da­ta they found for Tagris­so in an ad­ju­vant set­ting for NSCLC — but many of the ex­perts aren’t cheer­ing along

AstraZeneca is rolling out the big guns this evening to provide a salute to their ADAURA data on Tagrisso at ASCO.

Cancer R&D chief José Baselga calls the disease-free survival data for their drug in an adjuvant setting of early stage, epidermal growth factor receptor-mutated NSCLC patients following surgery “momentous.” Roy Herbst, the principal investigator out of Yale, calls it “transformative.”

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Ab­b­Vie wins an ap­proval in uter­ine fi­broid-as­so­ci­at­ed heavy bleed­ing. Are ri­vals My­ovant and Ob­sE­va far be­hind?

Women expel on average about 2 to 3 tablespoons of blood during their time of the month. But with uterine fibroids, heavy bleeding is typical — a third of a cup or more. Drugmakers have been working on oral therapies to try and stem the flow, and as expected, AbbVie and their partners at Neurocrine Biosciences are the first to make it across the finish line.

Known chemically as elagolix, the drug is already approved as a treatment for endometriosis under the brand name Orilissa. It targets the GnRH receptor to decrease the production of estrogen and progesterone.

Sanofi brings in 4 new ex­ec­u­tives in con­tin­ued shake-up, as vac­cines and con­sumer health chief head out the door

In the middle of Sanofi’s multi-pronged race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, David Loew, the head of their sprawling vaccines unit, is leaving – part of the final flurry of moves in the French giant’ months-long corporate shuffle that will give them new-look leadership under new CEO Paul Hudson.

The company also said today that Alan Main, the head of their consumer healthcare unit, is out, and they named 4 executives to fill new or newly vacated positions, 3 of whom come from both outside both Sanofi and from Pharma.

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Pablo Legorreta, founder and CEO of Royalty Pharma AG, speaks at the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Cap­i­tal­iz­ing Pablo: The world’s biggest drug roy­al­ty buy­er is go­ing pub­lic. And the low-key CEO di­vulges a few se­crets along the way

Pablo Legorreta is one of the most influential players in biopharma you likely never heard of.

Over the last 24 years, Legorreta’s Royalty Pharma group has become, by its own reckoning, the biggest buyer of drug royalties in the world. The CEO and founder has bought up a stake in a lengthy list of the world’s biggest drug franchises, spending $18 billion in the process — $2.2 billion last year alone. And he’s become one of the best-paid execs in the industry, reaping $28 million from the cash flow last year while reserving 20% of the cash flow, less expenses, for himself.

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

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.

David Chang, Allogene CEO (Jeff Rumans)

Head­ed to PhII: Al­lo­gene CEO David Chang com­pletes a pos­i­tive ear­ly snap­shot of their off-the-shelf CAR-T pi­o­neer

Allogene CEO David Chang has completed the upbeat first portrait of the biotech’s off-the-shelf CAR-T contender ALLO-501 at virtual ASCO today, keeping all eyes on a drug that will now try to go on to replace the first-wave personalized pioneers he helped create.

The overall response rate outlined in Allogene’s abstract for treatment-resistant patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma slipped a little from the leadup, but if you narrow the patient profile to treatment-naïve patients — removing the 3 who had previous CAR-T therapy who didn’t respond, leaving 16 — the ORR lands at 75% with a 44% complete response rate. And 9 of the 12 responders remained in response at the data cutoff, offering a glimpse on durability that still has a long way to go before it can be completely nailed down.

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Look­ing to move past an R&D fi­as­co, Ipsen poach­es their new CEO from Sanofi

Ipsen has turned to another Paris-based biopharma company for its next CEO.

Sanofi Pasteur chief David Loew — who’s been leading one of the most advanced efforts to develop vaccines for Covid-19 — is making the journey to Ipsen, 5 months after David Meek jumped ship to run a startup in late-stage development.

Loew arrives as Ipsen works to get back on track with their rare bone disease drug palovarotene, picked up in the $1.3 billion Clementia buyout, which was slammed with a partial hold after researchers observed cases of “early growth plate closure” in patients under the age of 14. But they are pushing ahead with the over-14 crowd after writing down slightly more than half of its initial development.

Fabrice Chouraqui, Cellarity CEO-partner (LinkedIn)

Drug de­vel­op­er, Big Phar­ma com­mer­cial ex­ec, now an up­start biotech chief — Fab­rice Chouraqui is ready to try some­thing new as a ‘CEO-part­ner’ at Flag­ship

Fabrice Chouraqui’s career has taken some big twists along his life journey. He got his PharmD at Université Paris Descartes and jumped into the drug development game for a bit. Then he took a sharp turn and went back to school to get his MBA at Insead before returning to pharma on the commercial side.

Twenty years later, 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 exited in another career switch. And now he’s headed into a hybrid position as a CEO-partner at Flagship, where he’ll take a shot at leading Cellarity — one of the VC’s latest paradigm-changing companies of the groundbreaking model that aspires to deliver a new platform to the world of drug R&D.

Dan O'Day, Gilead CEO (Andrew Harnik, AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Gilead leas­es part­ner rights to TIG­IT, PD-1 in a $2B deal with Ar­cus. Now comes the hard part

Gilead CEO Dan O’Day has brokered his way to a PD-1 and lined up a front row seat in the TIGIT arena, inking a deal worth close to $2 billion to align the big biotech closely with Terry Rosen’s Arcus. And $375 million of that comes upfront, with cash for the buy-in plus equity, along with $400 million for R&D and $1.22 billion in reserve to cover opt-in payments and milestones..

Hotly rumored for weeks, the 2 players have formalized a 10-year alliance that starts with rights to the PD-1, zimberelimab. O’Day also has first dibs on TIGIT and 2 other leading programs, agreeing to an opt-in fee ranging from $200 million to $275 million on each. There’s $500 million in potential TIGIT milestones on US regulatory events — likely capped by an approval — if Gilead partners on it and the stars align on the data. And there’s another $150 million opt-in payments for the rest of the Arcus pipeline.

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