BioSpace Movers & Shakers, Dec. 10
As the year comes to an end, biopharma and life sciences companies are strengthening their leadership teams and boards with the latest round of Movers & Shakers.
Praxis Precision Medicines – Boston-based Praxis bolstered its leadership team with the appointment of Megan Sniecinski as chief business officer. Sniecinski was most recently CBO at BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, overseeing corporate development, program management and global supply chain. Previously, she was senior vice president of business operations and program management at PTC Therapeutics. Before PTC, Sniecinski spent more than a decade at Merck serving in a diverse set of operational and strategic roles with increasing responsibility, culminating as director of business development and strategic partnerships at Merck Vaccines.
Olix Pharmaceuticals – Gunther Hartmann was appointed to the Scientific Advisory Board of mCureX Therapeutics, a subsidiary of Korea-based OliX. Hartmann is a leading authority on nucleic acid therapeutics and immunology with over 20 years of experience. Most recently, he served as Director of the Institute of Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Pharmacology with Central Laboratory at the University Hospital of Bonn in Germany. He was previously Professor and Head of the Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Pharmacology Research Center at the University Hospital of Bonn. Hartmann also served as President of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society. In 2014, Hartmann founded Rigontec GmbH, an RNA-based immunotherapy development company, acquired by Merck in 2017.
Kymera Therapeutics – Vijay Sabesan was tapped as Senior Vice President of Technical Operations at Massachusetts-based Kymera. Prior to joining Kymera, he was Senior Vice President of Technical Operations at Theravance Biopharma where he was responsible for leading the process R&D, pharmaceutical development, analytical development, supply chain management and CMC project management functions.
Calyxt, Inc. – Minnesota-based Calyxt, Inc. hired two senior leaders. Vijay Gullapalli was named Vice President of Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) and Data Science. Pete Ball was named Technology Licensing Leader. Gullapalli joins Calyxt from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, where he served as Vice President of Analytics & Insights. Previously, he worked at Capital One, serving as Director, Card Machine Learning and Data Transformation. Ball joins the company from North Shore Therapeutics, where he served as Chief Executive Officer. Prior to North Shore, he served as Chief Corporate Development Officer at ConsenSys Health. Previously, Mr. Ball served as Senior Technology Licensing Manager at Mayo Clinic Ventures, and as Portfolio Director of Technology Licensing at Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures.
Yarrow Biotechnology – Mark Keating was named Chief Scientific Officer of Yarrow. Keating is a well-regarded industry veteran with over 30 years of experience, including in senior roles at Novartis and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. Earlier in his career, Keating served as a Howard Hughes Investigator at Harvard Medical School and University of Utah.
Gyroscope Therapeutics Holdings – Anthony Adamis was appointed to the board of directors of London-based Gyroscope Therapeutics. Adamis most recently served as Senior Vice President of Development Innovation at Genentech and Roche. In 2000, Adamis co-founded Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, which developed and obtained FDA approval for the first anti-VEGF medicine in ophthalmology.
Corbus Pharmaceuticals Holdings – Rachael Brake was named CSO of Corbus. Brake most recently served at Takeda Pharmaceuticals where she held multiple leadership roles across the R&D continuum, including serving as Vice President of Global Project Leader in Oncology.
PepGen, Inc. – Isami J. Salcedo was named Vice President of Program Management and Sonia Bracegirlde was promoted to head of Strategy & Operations. Salcedo has held positions at Proteostasis Therapeutics and Merck. She has also been a consultant for a number of different start-ups. Bracegirdle held positions at McKinsey & Company and the Boston Consulting Group in Melbourne and London. She also worked at Syncona, a biotech venture capital firm, before joining PepGen upon spinout in 2018.
Sanofi – In November, Sanofi welcomed Matt Truppo as Global Head of Research Platforms. He joins from Janssen Pharmaceutical where he was the Global Head of Protein Therapeutics API Development. In his role at Sanofi, he will have oversight for Research Platforms, including Drug Discovery, Large Molecules Research, Drug Metabolism & Pharmacokinetics, Translational In Vivo Models, and Pre-Clinical Safety.
Obsidian Therapeutics – Lee Giguere was named Chief Legal Officer and Secretary. Lee most recently served as general counsel and secretary at the biotechnology company Chiasma, Inc. Before joining Chiasma, he spent several years with Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc.
Decibel Therapeutics – Alison Finger and Saraswathy Nochur were appointed to the board of directors of Decibel Therapeutics. Finger most recently served as Chief Commercial Officer at bluebird bio. Prior to joining bluebird, she spent 21 years at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where she held leadership roles with responsibility. She serves on the Board of VBL Therapeutics. Nochur currently serves as Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, following 14 years as Alnylam’s Head of Global Regulatory Affairs. Nochur serves on the Board of Directors of Marinus Pharmaceuticals and is Chair of the Board for Hospitality Homes, a non-profit organization that provides free or low-cost housing for patients who come from all over the world to seek specialty medical care in Boston.
Mission BioCapital – Venture Capital firm Mission BioCapital made multiple additions to its staff. Jennifer Griffin was named partner for strategy and investor relations. Cassidy Blundell was promoted from associate to principal. Zach Collins was also promoted from associate to principal. Before joining Mission BioCapital, Griffin served as vice president of industry strategy and investments for the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. Earlier, Griffin was a consultant at Back Bay Life Science Advisors, and served in the MIT Technology Licensing Office. Blundell joined Mission BioCapital as an analyst in 2018. Collins, who is based in San Francisco, joined the firm as an analyst in 2018.
Ikena Oncology – Michelle Zhang was named CSO. Zhang, one of Ikena’s first employees, has served many roles over her tenure at Ikena, most recently as Senior Vice President of Translational Research and Early Development at Ikena. Zhang joined Ikena in 2016 as Vice President, Research and Development and was later promoted to Senior Vice President, Translational Research and Early Development. Jeffrey Ecsedy, the previous CSO, has stepped into the role of Chief Development Officer, a newly created role.
Rocket Pharmaceuticals – Martin L. Wilson was named General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Senior Vice President. Prior to joining Rocket, Wilson was General Counsel and Chief Corporate Officer at Ichnos Sciences. Before Ichnos, Wilson served as General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer, Corporate Secretary and Head of Human Resources at Teligent, Inc. Prior to Teligent, he was Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at Endo Pharmaceuticals.
Tessera Therapeutics – Cambridge, Mass.-based Tessera strengthened its leadership team with multiple appointments. Michael Holmes was named CSO; Iain McFadyen was named Chief Data Officer; and Becky Lillie was named Chief Human Resources Officer. Jacob Rubens, co-Founder of Tessera and Senior Principal of Flagship Pioneering, has transitioned from Tessera’s Chief Scientific Officer to Chief Innovation Officer. Prior to joining Tessera, Holmes was the CSO of Ambys Medicines, and he also held various leadership positions at Sangamo Therapeutics, Inc., including Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. Previously, McFadyen held executive and senior leadership positions at LifeMine Therapeutics and Moderna, Inc., respectively. Previously, Lillie served as the Chief Human Experience Officer at Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Lyndra Therapeutics – Klas Hlmlund was named chief financial officer. Holmlund was Head of Treasury at Vertex Pharmaceuticals for more than 11 years.
Good Therapeutics – Diane Hollenbaugh been promoted to the position of CSO from Head of Research and Patel has been appointed CBO. Hollenbaugh initially joined Good Therapeutics in June 2019. Prior to that time, she was Executive Director, Immuno-oncology Discovery at AbbVie. Prior to AbbVie, she served at multiple large and small biopharmaceutical companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Medarex, FivePrime Therapeutics and Schering-Plough/Merck.
Pyxis Oncology – Martina Molsbergen was named interim CBO at Pyxis. Prior to joining Pyxis, she was CEO of C14 Consulting Group. Molsbergen has held senior leadership business development roles for several biotech companies, including Crucell Holland BV and Biowa, Inc.
Karius – Bill Quirk, who most recently served as CFO at Freenome, will take the same role at Karius. Also, Steve Malaska, most recently the General Counsel at Dascena, Inc., has been named its Chief Legal Officer. Quirk spent nearly 20 years as an analyst at RBC Capital Markets and Piper Sandler. Malaska was co-founder and CEO of Kota Biotherapeutics. Prior to his time at Dascena, he held senior leadership and General Counsel stints at Intellectual Ventures, Ceptyr and Immunex Corp., and was a patent attorney for multinational pharmaceutical company Hoffman La-Roche.