Zosano Pharma CEO passes baton down to successor; James Sapirstein takes the helm at AzurRx
→ Two years after Zosano Pharma reported positive Phase III data for its microneedle patch system for delivering an old migraine drug — setting up a campaign to file an NDA — the company has brought on Steven Lo to the helm as president and CEO. Lo will be succeeding John Walker, who is retiring after 48 years in the healthcare industry. Walker will remain as the chairman of the board of directors. Lo most recently served as the CCO at Puma Biotechnology, where he helped with the launch of the company’s first product, Nerlynx — whose Q1 sales fell uncomfortably short of Wall Street estimates. In addition, Lo was the CCO of Corcept Therapeutics, where he led the establishment of their first product, Korlym, a treatment for Cushing’s syndrome. Earlier in his career, Lo held stints at Genentech and AstraZeneca. Lo’s appointment comes a few weeks after the company welcomed Dushyant Pathak as SVP of business development.
→ Gastrointestinal disease-focused AzurRx BioPharma has a new face running the company after CEO Thijs Spoor announced his resignation. James Sapirstein is joining the company as the new CEO after a stint in the same position at ContraVir Pharmaceuticals (now Hepion Pharmaceuticals). Sapirstein has participated in 23 product launches and he’ll bring this experience to help with the company’s lead product candidate, MS1819-SD — a recombinant lipase for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Prior to ContraVir, Sapirstein served as the CEO of Alliqua Therapeutics, the founding CEO of Tobira Therapeutics and as EVP, metabolic endocrinology at Serono Laboratories. His other stints include roles at Gilead Sciences and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Spoor will remain on the company’s board of directors.
→ CRO Pharm-Olam has tapped Robert Davie to succeed David Grange — who has been with the company since April 2017 — as CEO. Grange will remain a director and vice chairman of the company’s board of directors. Davie brings experience from his time as vice president and general manager, global clinical development at Covance, where he managed the oversight of clinical operations in 60 countries with more than 6,000 employees under his guidance. Prior to his time at Covance, Davie served at Procter & Gamble in OTC Healthcare. Before jumping into biotech, Davie focused on the study of GI physiology, including metal ion transport and the transport of bile acids in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
→ At the same time that it presented new data for two of its clinical studies, Precision Diabetes has tapped Eric Button to the helm as CEO. Button is the current president of NeoMark Ventures and has previously served as head of diagnostics at Metabolon. Some of his other stints include SVP of new product strategy at True Health Diagnostics and as president and founder of both GlycoMark and Amplistar.
→ Cancer testing startup Grail — which had a top exec change up, when then CEO Jennifer Cook stepped down for family health reasons and left the company in the hands of Hans Bishop — has named Matthew Young as COO and CFO. Young joins the company from Jazz Pharmaceuticals, where he served as EVP and CFO. Prior to his time at Jazz, Young hed positions at Barclays Capital, Citigroup Global Markets and Lehman Brothers.
→ AEON Biopharma — a company focused on the therapeutic toxin market — has recruited Chris Carr as CFO and Scott Akamine as general counsel. Carr most recently served as CFO, EVP of finance and IT and board member of Dendreon Pharmaceuticals. Prior to that, he held stints at Abbott Laboratories, PerkinElmer and Genzyme. Akamine jumps over after a stint as vice president and associate general counsel at CoreLogic. Before that, Akamine worked at Incipio, Allergan and the law firm Latham & Watkins.
→ Ophthalmic pharmaceutical company Aerie Pharmaceuticals — focused on the treatment of patients with open-angle glaucoma and other retinal diseases — has brought a new face aboard with the appointment of Charlene Davis as vice president and chief compliance officer. Davis makes the jump after a stint at Sun Pharmaceutical Industries.
→ American BriVision — focused on the development of therapies in oncology/hematology, CNS and ophthalmology — has welcomed Chihliang “Andy” An as CFO. An joins from a stint as managing director of the investment team at Yinyai Investment in Hong Kong. Prior to his time at Yinyai, An served as a senior director of sales and operations at Goertek and as a consultant and director of finance at BioKey. In addition, he’s also held stint at Flextronics, Chardan Capital and Optoplex.
→ Cue Biopharma — working on injectable biologics to selectively engage and modulate targeted T cells within the body — has named Anish Suri president in addition to his current role as CSO of the company. Prior to joining the company in July 2018, Suri held stints at Janssen Pharmaceutical, Bristol-Myers Squibb and was assistant professor of pathology and immunology at Washington University School of Medicine. In addition to Suri’s appointment, the company plans to bring in a number of new hires through 2020 in light of the recent clearance of the company’s lead drug candidate, CUE-101, into clinical development.
→ Cancer-focused TCR² Therapeutics has welcomed Angela Justice to the company as chief people officer. Justice hails from Surgery Partners, where she served as EVP and chief human resources officer. Prior to that, she served as senior director of global medical affairs, as well as the chief learning officer at Biogen, where she created and led a centralized learning organization supporting 14,000 people across all departments and geographies. Her other stints include roles at EMD Serono, the National MS Society and as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company.
→ After analysts were blindsided last month with the surprise exit of Alexion‘s CFO, Paul Clancy — who was being replaced by Aradhana Sarin as strategy and business chief — the company has brought on Tanisha Carino as EVP and chief corporate affairs officer. In addition, she will serve on the company’s executive committee. Prior to jumping on board Alexion, Carino served as the executive director of FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute. Before that, she served in roles at GSK and Avalere Health.
→ Toronto-based Cyclica — offering a drug discovery platform focused on polypharmacology — has announced the appointment of Vern De Biasi as VP, global head of strategic partnerships. Prior to jumping aboard Cyclica, De Biasi held various roles at GSK, including head of emerging platforms, head of digital data and analytics and head of platform technology and science at GSK R&D, Asia in Shanghai.
→ London-based cell therapy player Autolus Therapeutics has made changes to its leadership team. The company announced that Jim Faulkner, SVP, head of product delivery, and Neil Bell, SVP, head of clinical operations, will be hitting the exit. The two will be succeeded by David Brochu and Vishal Mehta, respectively. Brochu previously held the position of vice president of technical operations at Autolus and prior to joining the company held positions at Kedrion, Talecris BioTherapeutics (formerly Bayer Healthcare) and Bayer. Mehta joined Autolus at the beginning of the year from Celgene, where he led the planning and execution of multiple clinical studies for CAR T products in B cell malignancies and multiple myeloma. Prior to Celgene, Mehta had stints at Novartis and ICON.
→ The medical dermatology company Verrica Pharmaceuticals has appointed Eugene Scavola as EVP, technical operations. Most recently, Scavola was a managing partner at PBM Capital Group. In addition, Scavola has served in various positions at Wyeth/Pfizer.
→ Metabolon — focused on, you guessed it, metabolomics — has appointed Karl Bradshaw as VP of biopharma strategy and partnering, who joins the company after a stint as senior director of corporate strategy and development at AstraZeneca. Prior to his time there, Bradshaw was vice president of equity and research at Morgan Stanley.
→ A week prior to winning FDA approval for its topical retinoid cream, trifarotene, in the use of acne — differin maker Galderma made some new additions to its executive team with the appointments of Shire vets Flemming Ornskov as CEO and Thomas Dittrich as CFO. Ornskov assumes the position as CEO from Stuart Raetzman, who is moving to a position on the company’s board. During his time at Shire, Ornskov helped grow the company from a $4 billion revenue business to $15 billion in five years, before the company was acquired by Takeda. Dittrich held the same position of CFO at Shire. In addition to the new execs, the company has welcomed former CEO of Novartis Thomas Ebeling as chairman of its board of directors and former CEO of Avon Products and former vice chairman of Johnson & Johnson, Sheri McCoy as director of the company.
→ In the storm of rapid exits of its top execs, Gilead’s CEO Daniel O’Day has brought on Genentech SVP of early clinical development, Merdad Parsey, on board as the company’s CMO. Parsey made his way to Genentech after a detour as CEO of NASH drug developer 3V Biosciences (now known as Sagimet) for five years. Gilead has seen a clean sweep of its top ranks since CEO John Milligan stepped out alongside chairman John Martin, and not long after others followed suit — CSO John McHutchison left for a new position of CEO at Assembly Biosciences, CMO Andrew Cheng left for the helm at Akero and research chief Norbert Bischofberger left to run his own startup.
→ Hong Kong-listed, Hangzhou-based Ascletis has wooed another top pharma exec from the US to China as it gets ready to show that its R&D team has what it takes to come up with some first-in-class drugs. In taking up the CSO role Handan He is leaving behind a 22-year stint at Novartis, where her last title was global head of computational, biopharmaceutics and translational PK/PD. Her arrival marks another big get for CEO Jinzi Wu, who earlier this year recruited Merck’s top drug developer in China as Ascletis’ CMO. But health and family concerns cut Zhengqing Li’s tenure short, forcing him to depart after only five months. Days ago CFO Lindi Tan also handed in her papers. Ascletis is known domestically for developing and commercializing China’s first home-cultivated hepatitis C drug — with some help from Roche — but has made a point to become a global player, not just in the antiviral space but also cancer and liver diseases.
→ As BioMarin shoots for the first-ever approval of a hemophilia gene therapy — and the multibillion-dollar revenue expected to follow — the company is promoting CSO Lon Cardon to a position where he can help sketch the next rendition of its rare disease portfolio. In the newly created role of chief scientific strategic officer, Cardon will look beyond the research work that he’s been leading for the past two years to “lead cross functional activities to build our leadership position in precision medicine,” according to BioMarin. Cardon held a 9-year tenure at GSK where he was the SVP of alternative discovery and development — lining up a $495 million alliance with Avalon Ventures to bankroll some startups and buy them out if the science stands up to due diligence.
→ Bolt Biotherapeutics — who welcomed their new CEO Randy Schatzman last month — has made three additions to its scientific board of directors: UCSF professor Lawrence Fong, associate director of Yale Cancer Center Roy Herbst and Lipitor inventor Bruce Roth.