BioSpace Movers & Shakers, April 30
Treeline Biosciences -- Josh Bilenker, Eli Lilly’s former head of cancer R&D, and Novartis vet Jeff Engelman teamed up to form Treeline Biosciences. The new company will prioritize known molecular targets in oncology that are considered too difficult to drug. In an announcement on LinkedIn, the startup said its efforts will incorporate both established and emerging technologies, across disciplines, including biology (big data genetics, CRISPR, cell biology), chemistry (covalent modifiers, molecular glues, degraders, allosteric approaches), structural biology (Cryo-EM, NMR, X-ray crystallography) and computation (in silico docking, molecular dynamics, machine learning/AI). The company will be based in Watertown, Mass.
Vaxart, Inc. – David Wheadon was appointed to the board of directors of Bay Area-based Vaxart, Inc. Most recently Wheadon served as Senior Vice President, Global Regulatory Affairs, Patient Safety and Quality Assurance at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. Prior to AstraZeneca, he held senior regulatory and clinical development leadership positions at Abbott, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).
Sutro Biopharma – Chief Scientific Officer Trevor Hallem was promoted to president of Research at Bay Area-based Sutro Biopharma, Inc. Hallam will also continue his role as CSO. Hallam has served as Sutro's CSO since December 2010. Prior to Sutro, Hallam was Executive Vice President of Research & Development at Palatin Technologies, Inc., and held several senior management positions in various pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca PLC, SmithKline & French Laboratories, Ltd., Glaxo Group Research Ltd., Roche Research and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer.
Orasis Pharmaceuticals – Paul Smith was named president and chief operating officer of Israel-based Orasis. Prior to Orasis, Smith was the vice president and business unit head for U.S. Eye Care pharmaceutical portfolio at Novartis. Previously, he served as executive vice president of global commercial operations for TearLab, after spending 12 years at Alcon.
Surface Oncology – Cambridge, Mass.-based Surface Oncology strengthened its leadership team with several appointments. Henry Rath was named chief business officer and Alison O’Neill was promoted to CMO. Jessica Fees was also named chief financial officer. Prior to joining Surface, Rath worked at TScan Therapeutics, Seres Therapeutics, Amgen, Catabasis and Baxter Biopharmaceuticals. He began his career with roles in the banking and consulting industries, focusing on biotechnology with Oppenheimer & Co. and LEK Consulting. O’Neill joined Surface in 2018. She previously served as senior vice president of clinical development. Before joining Surface, O’Neill held leadership roles in clinical research and development at Radius Health, Synta Pharmaceuticals and at Sanofi in the global oncology division. Fees has been with Surface since 2014, most recently holding the role of senior vice president of finance. Prior to Surface, she served as president of Glide Consulting and held senior positions at Aileron Therapeutics and Tokai Pharmaceuticals.
Repertoire -- Susan Hockfield, President Emerita of MIT was appointed to the board of directors of Repertoire Immune Medicines. Hockfield is Professor of Neuroscience and President Emerita at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She served as MIT’s sixteenth president from 2004 to 2012 and was the first woman and the first life scientist to lead MIT. She is also a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. Prior to joining MIT, she was at Yale University as the William Edward Gilbert Professor of Neurobiology and Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences from 1998 to 2002 and Provost from 2002 to 2004.
Q-State Biosciences – Q-State added three new members to its leadership team. Graham Dempsey was appointed CSO and head of Research and Development; Jim Jacobson was appointed Senior Vice President and General Counsel; and Chris Watt joins the company as CFO. Dempsey joined Q-State as a senior scientist at the company’s inception in 2014. Jacobson previously served as General Counsel and Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer at Aptus Health, a life sciences technology subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. Earlier in his career, Jacobson worked for the Clinton White House health care task force. Most recently, Watt served as Senior Vice President and Head of Finance at Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals. Before that, Watt spent 10 years in various finance leadership roles at Biogen.
Antios Therapeutics – Katie Laessig was named Senior Vice President of Global Regulatory Affairs, and Karen Fusaro was named Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations at Antios Therapeutics, Inc. Before joining Antios, Laessig served as Vice President, Therapeutic Strategy of Strategic Drug Development at IQVIA. Prior to that, she was SVP, Regulatory Affairs, Medical Safety and Quality Assurance at RRD International, LLC. From 1999 to 2015. Laessig served in multiple roles of increasing responsibility at the FDA. Prior to Antios, Fusaro held several positions of increasing responsibility at Melinta Therapeutics where she oversaw all clinical, regulatory and pharmacovigilance activities for four antibiotic programs. Before that, she was responsible for clinical operations and clinical project management at The Medicines Company. Additional experience included managing roles at Novartis and managing roles at GlaxoSmithKline.
Wesana Health – Israel Mirsky was named chief strategy officer of Chicago-based Wesana. Most recently, Mirsky led global technology and emerging platforms at OMD and before that, he led the global Intel business for OMD. Mirsky also headed performance and social products for Omnicom’s marketing technology unit Annalect, and built out the emerging media and technology practice and cross-channel analytics teams for global PR firm Porter Novelli.
Immuneering Corporation – Laurie Keating, chief legal officer of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, was appointed to Immuneering’s board of directors. Prior to joining Alnylam, Keating served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Takeda. Before Millennium, Keating was co-founder and the first chief executive officer of Hydra Biosciences, Inc. Keating is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council.
PAVmed – Debbie White was appointed to the board of directors of New York-based PAVmed, a medtech company. White currently serves on the board of directors of Howden Joinery Group PLC. She recently served as a strategic consultant to Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd.
VistaGen Therapeutics – Joanne Curley, chief development officer at Vera Therapeutics, was appointed to the VistaGen Board of Directors. Prior to joining Vera, Curley spent 15 years with Gilead Sciences. Before Gilead, Curley worked as an aerosol formulation scientist and subsequently as a project leader at Nektar Therapeutics.
Cortland Biomedical – Cortland added three new members to its leadership team. Kevin Blatt has been appointed senior manufacturing engineer and will help to support the operations team at Cortland. For seven years, Kevin has been an influential team member for the Cortland Industrial group with a prominent engineering role in custom braided and cabled synthetic products. He will now transition to Cortland Biomedical. Ed Tierney and Remington Scott both join the company as process engineers supporting the new product development engineering team. Tierney spent 20+ years in the medical device market. He is an engineering professional with over 30 years of experience in the high-performance synthetic fiber industry. Scott began his career with The American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists. Prior to joining Cortland, he held the role of Patent Examiner for the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
High Purity New England – Michael Quesenberry was appointed chief scientific officer. Prior to joining the HPNE team, Quesenberry served in various roles at Avaxia, Xencor, and Werewolf Therapeutics, BMS, Pfizer, Lonza, and Pall Life Sciences.
Alydia Health – Paul Praino joined the company as vice president of Sales. Praino joins Alydia Health after serving as Global Vice President of Sales at Intersect ENT.
Medicenna Therapeutics – Kevin Moulder was named chief scientific officer of Medicenna. Moulder brings over 30 years of experience in drug discovery and development in the fields of protein design, antibody technology, immuno-oncology, inflammation and autoimmune disease. He most recently held leadership roles at PolyProx Therapeutics Ltd. and Tusk Therapeutics. Before that, he held roles in companies like Biogen, GSK, F-Star Therapeutics and Domantis.
Xenter, Inc. – James R. Tobin was appointed to the board of directors of Utah-based Xenter. Prior to joining Xenter, Tobin served as president and CEO of Boston Scientific from March 1999 to July 2009. Before this role, Tobin served as President and CEO of Biogen Inc. and before that was an executive with Baxter International, where he became president and Chief Operating Officer.
Turbine – U.K.-based Turbine appointed Mark Velleca as chairman of the company board of directors. Gordon Mills and Klaus Hoeflich joined the company’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).
Aligos Therapeutics – James Scopa was appointed to the board of directors of Bay Area-based Aligos Therapeutics. Scopa currently serves as a member of the Investment Advisory Committee and Advisory Board of One Ventures, an Australia-based venture capital firm. He also holds board positions with several biotechnology companies, including Neuron 23 Inc., DiCE Molecules, Blade Therapeutics, Inc., and Adverum Biotechnologies, Inc. Previously, Scopa served as a Managing Director of MPM Capital.