BioSpace Movers & Shakers, Aug. 14

Movers and Shakers

Omega Therapeutics – Roger Sawhney was named chief financial officer of Cambridge, Mass.-based Omega Therapeutics. Sawhney brings 25 years of financial and strategic expertise to Omega, with vast experience ranging from global investments in healthcare sectors to business and strategy development in the biopharma industry. Most recently, Sawhney served at KKR & Co. as Director of its healthcare investment platform in the Americas, where his work focused on investments across private and growth equity in the healthcare sector. Earlier, he held the role of Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Strategy for Novartis AG, as well as Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Business Development for Outcome Health, a privately-funded leader in the digital health space.

Anika Therapeutics – Michael Levitz was named CFO and Treasurer of Anika Therapeutics, Inc. He succeeds Sylvia Cheung, who will continue with the company in an advisory capacity for a period following the succession effective date to assist with a smooth transition. Prior to joining Anika, Levitz served as Senior Vice President, CFO and Treasurer of Insulet Corporation. Prior to Insulet, from 2009 to 2015 he was the Senior Vice President, CFO and Treasurer of Analogic Corporation, a global provider of medical guidance, diagnostic imaging and threat detection equipment. Previously, during his seven years with Hologic, Inc. and Cytyc Corporation Levitz served in various capacities including Corporate Controller.

Jasper Therapeutics – Redwood City, Calif.-based Jasper Therapeutics named Kevin N. Heller as Executive Vice President of Research & Development. In this newly created role, Heller will lead the Company’s clinical and research functions and oversee clinical development, clinical strategy and operations, medical affairs and early research and development activities. Before joining Jasper, Heller was Chief Medical Officer at NextCure, Inc. Prior to that, he was Vice President, Head of Antibody Clinical Development at Incyte, overseeing immunotherapy clinical development strategies for multiple antibody programs. He joined Incyte from AstraZeneca, where he was Senior Medical Director, overseeing global medicines development in oncology. Heller began working in the biopharma industry at Bristol Myers Squibb, where he held positions of increasing responsibility and leadership, most recently serving as Global Lead Oncology, Search, Evaluation and Diligence, where he was responsible for leading a team matrix across disciplines during due diligence and preparing recommendations for possible acquisitions.

T2RF -- The TANGO2 Research Foundation, funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, hired its first executive director, Ann Geffen. Geffen joins the Foundation from an extensive and all-encompassing nonprofit background. Previously, she worked for several national nonprofit organizations including March of Dimes, American Heart Association and American Lung Association.

Eidos Therapeutics – Bay Area-based Eidos Therapeutics, Inc. added two new independent directors to its board of directors; Suzanne Sawochka Hooper, the former executive vice president and general counsel of Jazz Pharmaceuticals, and Duke Rohlen, the chief executive officer and managing partner of Ajax Health. Hooper and Rohlen will replace departing board members Rajeev Shah and Eric Aguiar. As executive vice president and general counsel at Jazz Pharmaceuticals from March 2012 through February 2019, Hooper played an active role in the management and strategic development of the company during a period of substantial growth. Prior to joining Jazz, Hooper was a partner in the Cooley LLP law firm. Hooper has been a member of the Board of Directors of NGM Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. since 2018. Rohlen is a serial entrepreneur who has led five medical technology companies and brings expertise in business-building and cardiovascular marketing to the Eidos board. Before founding Ajax Health, he co-founded and served as the chairman and CEO of EPIX Therapeutics, which was acquired by Medtronic in 2019. He also co-founded and served as CEO of Spirox, which was acquired by Entellus in 2017; and CV Ingenuity, which was acquired by Covidien in 2013.

Avacta Group – U.K.-based Avacta Group appointed Neil Bell as its chief development officer. Bell will be responsible for late-stage pre-clinical and early clinical development of Avacta’s pipeline of pre|CISION pro-drugs and Affimer immunotherapies. Most recently, Bell held the role of Senior Vice President, Head of Global Clinical Operations at Autolus, a U.K. cell and gene therapy company backed by Syncona. The early part of his career was spent in clinical development at Eisai and Pfizer before becoming Therapeutic Area Head for Gastroenterology and Neurology at Ipsen. He also held roles as Head of Global Clinical Operations for Teva Pharmaceuticals and Head of Clinical Operations for Daiichi Sankyo.

Pharnext SA – Adrian Hepner was named Chief Medical Officer of Paris-based Pharnext SA. Hepner joins Pharnext with over 30 years of clinical practice and industry experience in biomedical research, clinical drug development and medical affairs. Prior to joining Pharnext, he served as Executive Vice President and CMO at Eagle Pharmaceuticals. Before that, Hepner’s roles included Vice President of Clinical Research at Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Vice President of Clinical Research and Medical Affairs at BioDelivery Sciences International (BDSI) and Senior Medical Director at UCB BioSciences, Inc. He started his career as the Director of the Inpatient Unit and Clinical Research at Clinica Emanu-El in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Karuna Therapeutics – Boston-based Karuna Therapeutics named Laurie Olson to its board of directors. Olson will be part of the nominating and corporate governance committee. Olson most recently served as the Executive Vice President, Strategy and Commercial Operations at Pfizer until 2018. Olson served as a member of Pfizer’s Portfolio Strategy and Investment Committee as well as the Pfizer Board of Directors’ Science and Technology Committee, where she was accountable for informing therapeutic area strategies and the utilization of new technologies and analytic methods to drive R&D and commercial productivity. She also was a member of the Business Development, Disclosure, Diversity, and Compliance Committees.

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