Biotech Movers and Shakers Aug 20

Movers and Shakers

This past week’s roundup of Movers and Shakers in the biotech industry started with a surprise. Gilead Sciences' new(ish) chief medical officer was leaving the company six months after taking over the position.

Andrew Cheng, who has been with Gilead since 1999, took over the role of CMO in March following Norbert Bischofberger’s decision to step down from the company. Cheng will remain at Gilead until September 7 to help with the transition of his duties, the company said. Gilead did not name a replacement for Cheng at this time. The company did not elaborate on what role Cheng was leaving Gilead to take.

Novartis – Novartis also continues to wrangle with some fallout from ethics scandals and a contract with a close associate of Donald Trump that has been likened as a “pay-to-play scheme.” To address that, Swiss pharma giant Novartis tapped Siemens veteran Klaus Moosmayer for the role of chief ethics, risk and compliance officer. Moosmayer succeeds Shannon Thyme Klinger who was recently appointed to the role of group general counsel after Felix R. Ehrat resigned from the company following revelations about the $1.2 million deal the company signed with Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

Allergan – Allergan poached Pfizer’s oncology division chief medical officer to serve as the Irish company’s CMO. Charles Hugh-Jones will begin with the Ireland-based company later this month. Hugh-Jones accepted the Allergan role 16 months after taking on the CMO spot for Pfizer’s oncology division, according to reports. Prior to his stint with Pfizer, Hugh-Jones spent six years with Sanofi.

Evecxia, Inc. – North Carolina-based Evecxia, Inc. named John Kaiser as chief executive officer and interim chairman of the board. Kaiser, who most recently served as interim CEO of Cerecor Inc., has been working with the company’s management team and board since March 2018. Before Cerecor, Kaiser served as CEO of Denysias Bioscience, chief business officer at ACADIA Pharmaceuticals and also held several senior roles at Eli Lilly. Upon taking the helm of the company, Kaiser said Evecxia, a spinout from Duke University, is poised to accelerate the development of the company’s product candidate EVX-101, a slow-release formulation of 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) and low-dose carbidopa. The drug is being developed as a first-line adjunctive treatment in depressed patients responding inadequately to conventional antidepressants.

Terumo BCT -- Antoinette Gawin will take over the helm of Lakewood, Colo.-based Terumo BCT. Gawin, currently the company’s global commercial head, will take over the role of president and chief executive officer following the retirement of David Perez. Gawin will assume the role of president on Oct. 1 and take over as CEO on April 1, 2019, at the beginning of the company’s next fiscal year. Gawin joined Terumo BCT in 2016. Prior to Terumo BCT, Antoinette served in leadership roles at Baxter overseeing global market access, commercial excellence and strategy. Before her time with Baxter, Gawin held leadership positions at several GE subsidiaries, including GE Healthcare Technologies, GE Industrial and Power Systems, GE Information Services and GE Corporate.

Sphere Fluidics – Tris Vaughan joined the scientific advisory board of U.K.-based Sphere Fluidics. The Cambridge company develops and manufactures Cyto-Mine, an automated platform which integrates screening, sorting, isolation and clone verification. Vaughan is currently the vice president of R&D antibody discovery and protein engineering at MedImmune, AstraZeneca’s R&D arm. Prior to MedImmune, Vaughan was also a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto and a graduate of the University of Leeds Genetics Department. The company said Vaughan’s appointment to the SAB will strengthen the company’s biopharmaceutical discovery and cell line development.

Concept Life Sciences – Sarah Harris was named business development officer for the East Coast of the United States at U.K.-based Concept Life Sciences. A former scientist at Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Harris will work with David Halverson, head of sales in the U.S. and Jon Vu, her West Coast counterpart. Prior to Concept, Harris was national business development director for Fidelta, a pre-clinical discovery services company.

AIM Pharma -- Tobias Larsson Agervald was named chief medical officer of Sweden-based A1M Pharma. He will assume the position on Dec. 1. Agervald will be responsible for the company’s overall medical strategy as well as designing, implementing and conducting A1M Pharma’s clinical development programs. Most recently Agervald held the position of senior medical director at Astellas Pharma Global Clinical Development in the Netherlands.

D2 Consulting – St. Charles, Mo.-based D2 Consulting named Cheryl Nagowski as senior director of federal markets. She brings more than 15 years’ experience overseeing federal procurements, the company said. Nagowski most recently provided advisory support to pharmaceutical and medical device companies as a consultant. Prior to that consulting role, Nagowski managed national and regional payer contracting for Genentech.

Imara, Inc. – Cambridge, Mass.-based Imara, Inc. named Kevin B. Johnson as it head of regulatory and quality. Johnson joins Imara from Sucampo Pharmaceuticals and Vtesse, Inc., where he served as vice president and global head of regulatory and quality, and head of global regulatory affairs, respectively. He also served as head of global regulatory affairs for rare diseases and gene therapies at GlaxoSmithKline.

Centrexion Therapeutics – Centrexion, a company focused on the development of non-opioid pain relievers, tapped Dan Mendelson for its board of directors. Mendelson served as associate director for health at the Office of Management and Budget as part of the Clinton administration. Mendelson is currently an advisor to Avalere Health, a group which he founded in 2000 and later sold to Inovalon Holdings. 

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