Bayer Poaches GSK's Christine Roth as Others Shuffle the Executive Deck

Executives Walking

Bayer poached GlaxoSmithKline executive Christine Roth as its new head of the Oncology Strategic Business Unit at its pharmaceuticals division. Roth joins the German life sciences giant on March 1 and will be based in New Jersey. 

At GSK, Roth had been overseeing the company's oncology programs as senior vice president and head of the company's Global Oncology Therapy unit. GSK has not made a public announcement about the departure of Roth, who has served in the position since December of 2017. She also spent a little more than four years with GSK from 2010 to 2015 in different oncology roles. 

Prior to Roth's latest role with GSK, she was the breast cancer leader at Novartis. Before GSK, Roth held several leadership roles at Bristol Myers Squibb.

At Bayer, Roth succeeds Robert LaCaze, who is leaving the company to pursue additional career opportunities.

"I feel privileged to join Bayer at a time where new exciting paths are taken to develop and bring transformative therapies to patients," Roth said in a statement. "I look forward to being part of making a difference for cancer patients and their families worldwide."

Stefan Oelrich, president of Bayer's Pharmaceuticals Division, said Roth's experience and leadership capabilities will "lift us to the next level" as it launches its late-stage oncology pipeline.

Bayer isn't the only company to announce changes to its leadership team this morning. 

Editas Dismisses CMO

In a brief filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Editas Medicine announced the termination of Chief Medical Officer Lisa Michaels. No information was provided in the filing regarding her dismissal, but it was immediately effective. 

The company noted that Michaels, who previously spent more than a decade at Bayer, is eligible for severance benefits under her employment agreement.  

Editas Medicine is beginning a search for the replacement of its CMO. Shares of Editas are down more than 13% in premarket trading. 

Sandrock Finds Another Board Appointment

Alfred Sandrock, the former head of R&D at Biogen, found a role as the second board of directors one week after he was appointed to the board of directors at Voyager Therapeutics. This morning, Bay Area-based Verge Genomics announced Sandrock has joined its board of directors. Sandrock, who guided numerous new therapeutics for approval at Biogen, joins Verge as it prepares to drive its lead program, a novel lipid kinase inhibitor for ALS treatment, into the clinic later this year. 

Verge has built an end-to-end drug discovery and development platform, featuring what the company calls one of the field's largest and most comprehensive proprietary patient genomics datasets in neuroscience.

Vedere Bio II Taps Former Finch Therapeutics Executive, Martina Schinke

Former Finch Therapeutics executive Martina Schinke has joined Vedere Bio II, Inc. as vice president and program leader. Schinke will be responsible for driving and expanding the company's pipeline of next-generation ocular therapies. Vedere is developing proprietary optogenetics and photoswitch technologies and novel adeno associated virus capsids to restore vision in all patients with vision loss due to photoreceptor cell death.

At Finch, Schinke held the role of vice president of Program Management & Leadership. In that position, she oversaw the development of biological drugs aimed at restoring microbiome functionality in Autism Spectrum Disorder and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Prior to Finch, she led program management for bluebird bio's oncology franchise and before that, was with the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research for more than a decade in roles of increasing responsibility.

Merck KGaA Reshuffles Life Sciences Business

Christos Ross, the head of Integrated Supply Chain Operations for Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is retiring from the company as it undertakes an organizational transformation of its life sciences business in order to strengthen its CDMO business and accelerate growth. He will be succeeded by Ivan Donzelot.

As Ross exits, Merck KGaA noted that Dirk Lange will head up its new Life Sciences Services business, and Andrew Bulpin will lead its Process Solutions business unit. The company's Science and Lab Solutions business will be led by Jean-Charles Wirth, who is currently head of Applied Solutions.

Takeda Shuffles Some Executives

Julie Kim, who came to Takeda from Shire, is taking over as president of the company's U.S. operations after spending three years leading Takeda's plasma-derived therapies division. Kim replaces Ramona Sequeira, who is taking a new position within the company as head of a new division dubbed "global portfolio," the Boston Business Journal reported

Giles Platford will take over for Kim as head of the plasma-derived therapies division. Platford currently serves as the president of Takeda's Europe and Canada unit. In addition to those moves, Takeda announced that Gabriele Ricci will become the chief data and technology officer. Ricci currently serves as head of IT for the plasma-derived therapies division. 

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