BioSpace Movers & Shakers, Aug. 21

Movers and Shakers

Kronos Bio -- Yasir Al-Wakeel was named chief financial officer and head of corporate development at California-based Kronos Bio, Inc. Prior to Kronos, Al-Wakeel was CFO and Strategy Officer at Neon Therapeutics, where he played a key role in the company’s public and private financings as well as its eventual sale to BioNTech. Prior to that, he was CFO and Head of Corporate Development at Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, where he helped shape and execute the company’s refocused business strategy, culminating in a $1 billion asset sale to Ipsen. Before joining Merrimack, Al-Wakeel served in senior roles in equity research and corporate finance at Credit Suisse focused on the biotechnology sector.

Byondis B.V. – Netherlands-based Byondis B.V. tapped Robbert Van Heekeren as its new CFO. Van Heekeren joins Byondis with nearly 25 years of international management experience in corporate and operational finance, most recently as board member and co-owner of Odyssee Mobile and as an independent corporate finance advisor. Previously, Van Heekeren was a management board member, CFO of Kiadis Pharma N.V.; supervisory board member of Proxy Laboratories; and executive director, head global finance & control at Organon, the former pharmaceutical business unit of AkzoNobel, where he worked in various international management positions.

Alveo Technologies – California-based Alveo Technologies appointed Julianne Averill as its new CFO. Ms. Averill brings over 18 years of leadership experience in the life sciences, technology/SaaS and digital health fields as well as has participated in or led over $2B in successful strategic financing and M&A initiatives. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Finance for BlackThorn Therapeutics, driving strategic growth initiatives and investment strategies. Averill has held leadership roles at Manifest MedEx and Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust, where she successfully improved financial operations to support long-term company growth. She also served as an audit manager at Deloitte, working with various Fortune 500 and international entities in the consumer business and life sciences industries.

Bionano Genomics – Alka Chaubey was tapped to serve as the first chief medical officer of Bionano Genomics. Chaubey is well known throughout the molecular diagnostics and cytogenetics communities for her contributions to innovation directed toward improving patient outcomes by making the clinical testing process more efficient and more effective.

Ikena Oncology – Sergio Santillana was named CMO of Boston-based Ikena Oncology, Inc. Santillana, a medical oncologist, will be responsible for leading the clinical development strategy, clinical operations, and regulatory affairs for Ikena’s development pipeline of innovative cancer therapeutics, including the recently announced TEAD inhibitor program targeting the Hippo pathway. Prior to joining Ikena, Santillana provided strategic consultancy services to a variety of life science companies, including Ikena Oncology. Prior to founding his consultancy, Santillana served as CMO at Merrimack Pharmaceuticals and ARIAD Pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining ARIAD, Santillana served in various oncology clinical development leadership roles at Takeda, GlaxoSmithKline and Eli Lilly.

Patient Square Capital – Longtime venture capital veteran Jim Momtazee will serve as managing partner of Patient Square Capital, a new investment firm he launched. Momtazee is a 21-year veteran of KKR, where he helped form its Health Care Industry Group in 2001 and subsequently led the group for over 10 years. Maria Walker will serve as CFO of Patient Square. Walker has extensive experience across private equity and health care, including 17 years at KPMG where she served as a senior partner and a global lead in its private equity practice. 

Liquidia Technologies – North Carolina-based Liquidia Technologies appointed Steven Bariahtaris as interim CFO. He succeeds Richard Katz, who has resigned from his role at Liquidia in order to pursue other opportunities. Liquidia has engaged Spencer Stuart, a global executive search and leadership advisory firm, to conduct the search for a permanent successor. Bariahtaris joins Liquidia with an extensive background in corporate finance and management. Prior to Liquidia, he spent nearly 24 years at Johnson & Johnson serving in several executive roles with increasing responsibility. Most recently, Bariahtaris served as J&J’s Worldwide Vice President, Corporate Internal Audit.

Health Advances – Jeffrey Abraham was named Vice President and Co-Leader of the Health Advances Digital Health and Health IT Practice of Newton, Mass.-based Health Advances. Abraham currently serves on the Scientific Leadership Board for Digital Medicine Society and is a co-chair for the Digital Therapeutics task group as part of National Council of Prescription Drug Program.

MassBio –Abbie Celniker, partner at Third Rock Ventures, will receive the Henri A. Termeer Innovative Leadership Award during The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council’s 2020 State of Possible Conference. The annual award was created to honor individuals who have contributed significantly to the growth and success of the life sciences industry in Massachusetts. Celniker served as MassBio’s chairperson for two years. Before her time at Third Rock, Celniker held R&D roles at large biopharma companies including Genentech, Millennium and Novartis.

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