BioSpace Movers and Shakers: April 19

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Cerevance – Boston-based Cerevance tapped AstraZeneca veteran Roland Bürli as head of drug discovery. For the past six years, Bürli has served as head of medicinal chemistry of the neuroscience team at AstraZeneca. There, he significantly influenced the portfolio, which spanned neurodegeneration, neuro-developmental disorders and analgesia. Bürli brings expertise in preclinical drug discovery to Cerevance. He specializes in medicinal and synthetic chemistry, and has a proven track record from hit identification through lead optimization, having led efforts that discovered six pre-clinical candidate molecules, including a program now in Phase II. Before AstraZeneca, Bürli spent five years at BioFocus, leading early-stage and lead optimization projects in neurodegeneration, inflammation and sensory disorders.

Talaris Therapeutics – Formerly known as Regenerex, the Kentucky-based Talaris underwent a rebranding that not only included a name change, but also a new leadership team. Talaris tapped Scott Requadt, who had been part of the investment team at Blackstone Life Sciences, as its new chief executive officer. Before Blackstone, he was director of business development at Transform Pharmaceuticals until its acquisition by Johnson & Johnson. In addition to a new CEO, the company also added to its board of directors and fleshed out its C-suite leadership team. The new executive team hires include:

  • Chief Medical Officer Nancy Krieger, a transplant surgeon by training. Krieger previously served as the clinical lead at Novartis for the FCR001 program, and earlier in her career, was a clinical lead at Bristol-Myers Squibb for the development of transplant drug belatacept.
  • Head of Technical Operations Carlos Yuraszeck joins Talaris from Celgene, where he led Quality, Clinical Production and Supply teams within the company’s cell therapy division.
  • Head of Human Resources Rick Purdy has more than 25 years of HR experience, most recently as Chief Human Resources Officer at ResCare Corporation.
  • Head of New Product Planning Eric Gornstein joins Talaris from Radius Health, where he led commercial insights and analytics efforts.

Arrakis Therapeutics -- Michael Gilman, the chairman of the board for Massachusetts-based Arrakis Therapeutics, has taken over the role of CEO. He most recently served as CEO of Obsidian Therapeutics, where he continues to serve on the board of directors. Gilman also serves on the boards of directors off Novartis Venture Fund and Scholar Rock. He also serves on the scientific advisory board of FutuRx. Gilman is no stranger to helming a company. He held CEO roles at Obsidian, as well as Padlock Therapeutics, a company focused on autoimmune disease that was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2016. Gilman also held roles at Biogen and Stromedix, a company he founded.

Obsidian Therapeutics – With Gilman’s departure from Cambridge, Mass.-based Obsidian, the company named Paul K. Wotton as its new CEO. With a career spanning more than 30 years, Wotten has held numerous leadership roles across the industry. Wotton most recently served as the founding president and CEO of Sigilon Therapeutics, Inc. Prior to Sigilon, Wotton served as president and CEO of Ocata Therapeutics until its acquisition by Astellas Pharma. He also held roles as president and CEO of Antares Pharma as well as CEO of Topigen Pharmaceuticals. Wotton is a named inventor on numerous patents and was the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Regional Winner Life Sciences in 2014. He serves on the boards of directors of Vericel Corporation, Veloxis Pharmaceuticals A/S and Cynata Therapeutics.

AffinivaxFrank Malinoski joined Cambridge, Mass.-based Affinivax head of clinical development and regulatory affairs. Malinoski will lead the development of Affinivax’s MAPS pipeline of vaccines and immunotherapy products. Malinoski is expected to work closely with Astellas, Affinivax’s collaboration partner, to continue to advance the development of its pneumococcal MAPS vaccine, currently in Phase I/II clinical testing, and nosocomial MAPS vaccine. Prior to joining Affinivax, Malinoski held positions of chief medical officer at Liquidia, head of medical & scientific affairs at MedImmune and head of clinical affairs and global business development at Wyeth (Pfizer), as well as senior leadership and consulting positions at several other biopharmaceutical companies.

KSQ Therapeutics – Cambridge, Mass.-based KSQ named Douglas Pagán as chief financial officer. He joins KSQ at a time when the company prepares to advance its first drug programs into the clinic in 2020. Prior to joining KSQ, Pagán was CFO of Paratek Pharmaceuticals, where he played a key role in transforming Paratek from a development stage company to a commercial company. Before Paratek, Pagán served as vice president of finance at Acceleron Pharma Inc. Additionally, KSQ announced the promotion of John Trzupek, head of corporate development and interim CFO, to the role of chief business officer.

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Lygos, Inc. – Bay Area-based Lygos tapped Bryce Dille as Vice President of Finance. He will lead the company’s finance strategy and oversee the accounting, corporate development, investor relations, tax and treasury functions. He previously held senior financial positions at emerging public and private biotechnology companies, including Omada Health and TerraVia (formerly Solazyme), which was acquired by Corbion.

Cejka Executive SearchPaul Esselman, Cejka’s managing director, was promoted to the position of company president. Esselman has more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare executive search industry, and is a recognized national thought leader on healthcare executive leadership development and talent management.

EndeavorsJill Palmer was named senior director of clinical operations at San Antonio, Texas-based Endeavors. Palmer is responsible for directing, managing, and planning for all mental health operations and clinics. Prior to joining Endeavors, she was the clinic director at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Cape Fear Valley.

Transaction Data Systems -- Transaction Data Systems, parent company of the Rx30 and Computer-Rx pharmacy management systems, announced today the addition of Adam Wallace to its executive team as chief technology officer. Wallace brings over 20 years of technology experience to TDS, having held leadership positions with a range of organizations including Oracle, Explorys, BEA, MRI Software, and Flashline.

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