BioSpace Movers & Shakers, Feb. 18


With new members of leadership teams and boards of directors, these biopharma and life sciences companies are plotting the course for a strong 2022. 

Attralus, Inc. – James Testa was named vice president of finance at Bay Area-based Attralus. Most recently, Testa served as the vice president of finance at BioReference Laboratories, Inc. Prior to that, Testa served as the vice president of finance and internal controls at The Medicines Company. Testa has held various other finance leadership roles and began his career in public accounting with Deloitte.

2seventy bio – Steven Bernstein was named chief medical officer of bluebird spinout, 2seventy bio. Also, Susan Abu-Absi was appointed chief technology & manufacturing officer at 2seventy bio. Prior to joining 2seventy, Bernstein served as chief translational officer at Turnstone Biologics. Before that, he served as chair of immuno-oncology translational Research and Development and head, integrated science, at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Before BMS, he was an academic physician scientist most recently at the University of Rochester’s James P. Wilmot Cancer Institute. Abu-Absi most recently served as the senior vice president and head of technical development & operations at 2seventy bio. Previously, she led the oncology manufacturing organization at bluebird bio. Prior to joining bluebird, she spent more than ten years in the global product development & supply organization at BMS supporting clinical and commercial biologics drug substance manufacturing at internal sites and contract manufacturers.

Vaxart, Inc. – Edward B. Berg was tapped to serve as the first in-house General Counsel of Vaxart. He joins Vaxart from BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc., serving as deputy general counsel. Prior to BioMarin Pharmaceutical, he served as vice president of Legal in the BioPharm division of Sandoz US, a Novartis Company.

Bionano Genomics – Helene Klein was named chief people officer of San Diego-based Bionano. Klein was formerly the chief people officer at the Beachbody Company.

Metabolon – Gerald M. Haines II was named chief financial officer of N.C.-based Metabolon. He will assume his duties April 1. Haines joins Metabolon from Impulse Dynamics, where he served as Executive Vice President and CFO since 2019. Before Impulse, Haines held senior executive leadership roles at multiple public companies, including Mercury Systems and Verenium Corporation.

OxyonBio – Ricardo Zayas was named chief operating officer of OxyonBio, LLC. Zayas was most recently Executive Vice President and Head of Operations for Romark Global Pharma, LLC. Before joining Romark, he was Senior Vice President, Global Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, Supply Chain, and Product Strategy for Bristol Myers Squibb.

Transgene – Steven Bloom was named chief business officer. Prior to joining Transgene, Bloom was Senior Vice President at Boston Pharmaceuticals, and before that, he was CBO at Vavotar Life Sciences. Bloom held similar roles at Verastem Oncology and Ziopharm Oncology. Earlier in his career, he served 18 years at Eli Lilly in key sales/marketing and corporate affairs positions in several U.S. locations.

InMed Pharmaceuticals – Gerard P. Griffin III was named Vice President of Sales and Marketing at BayMedica, a wholly owned subsidiary of InMed. Griffin was the Vice President of Sales and Business Development at Creo Ingredients and before that he was the president of a successful wellness company.

Opus Genetics – Brian Leising was named vice president of manufacturing. Leising previously served as Director of Manufacturing Quality at Novartis Gene Therapies. Prior to Novartis, Leising was Director of Clinical Gene Therapy Manufacturing at Pfizer’s former Bamboo facility.

Renibus Therapeutics – Frank Stonebanks was named chief executive officer of Renibus. Al Guillem, co-founder and former CEO, will transition to Executive Chairman of the Board. Stonebanks most recently served as a venture partner at Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health LP. He was also the founder and chief executive of Triphase LP. Earlier in his career, he held leadership and advisory roles at Johnson & Johnson, IBM and Sanofi.

Weavr Health – Rebecca Legare was named vice president of Global Quality and Regulatory and Jingzi Sherman was named vice president of R&D and Clinical. Legare joins Weavr from PerkinElmer, where she most recently served as global senior director, quality & regulatory for COVID programs. Sherman joins Weavr from Nova Biomedical, where she oversaw global medical and scientific affairs.

Palisade Bio, Inc. – Robert McRae was named senior vice president of Operations and Strategic Development. He joined Viracta Therapeutics in 2017 and held several positions there, most recently VP, Operations & Strategic Alliances. Prior to Viracta, he held business development and study management positions for a global clinical research organization.

Grey Wolf Therapeutics – U.K.-based Grey Wolf formed its clinical advisory board. Members include Aurelien Marabelle, visiting professor at Stanford University and clinical director of the cancer immunotherapy program at Gustave Roussy Cancer Center in Paris; and Rachel W. Humphrey, current CEO of an immuno-oncology start-up, former senior vice president and head of immuno-oncology at AstraZeneca, and former vice president, development lead of immuno-oncology at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

CHRISTUS Health – Andrea Teague was named vice president of Cancer Services. Teague has been an oncology specialist at the CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Medical Center since 2016.

Portage Biotech – Brian Wiley, who served in leadership roles at multiple pharmaceutical companies, including Celgene and Millennium Pharmaceuticals, will join Portage’s executive team as Chief Business Officer and Joseph Ciavarella, who joined the company in 2020 as a financial consultant, now joins as Chief Accounting Officer. In addition, Jim Mellon, Linda M. Kozick and Mark Simon will join the company’s Board of Directors. Mellon was one of the founders of Portage.

Topas Therapeutics GmbH – Cristina de Min was named CMO of Germany’s Topas. de Min spent 11 years at Roche in various executive positions. Following her years at Roche, she joined Novimmune as CMO.

Carevive Systems – Aaron Galaznik was named CSO. He comes to the company from Medidata, where he served as Head of RWE Research Solutions. Prior to Medidata, Galaznik served as Senior Director, Global Outcomes Research at Takeda. Before Takeda, Galaznik served as Senior Director of RWD and Analytics at Pfizer.

Johnson & Johnson – Celine Martin has been appointed to the new role of Company Group Chairman, Cardiovascular & Specialty Solutions (CSS) Group. For three years, she most recently led the Robotics & Digital Solutions (RAD) Group, a multi-organization integration of Auris Health and Verb Surgical in 2020. Before her role at RAD, Martin spent 20 years in leadership positions across CSS. She also led Ethicon’s global Endomechanical and Energy businesses, driving growth for industry-leading surgical device and technology portfolios.

Coherus – Paul Reider was named chief commercial officer after serving as head of Commercial Operations and Market Access. Prior to joining Coherus in 2021, he served as Vice President of Sales and Strategic Accounts for Puma Biotechnology. He led the establishment of a new U.S.-based oncology commercial team at Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals and subsequently served as the General Manager of Ipsen Canada. From 1996 to 2013, he held marketing and executive leadership roles at Amgen.

eFFECTOR Therapeutics – Kristen Harrington-Smith, CCO of ImmunoGen, was appointed to the board of directors. Prior to ImmunoGen, she held numerous leadership roles at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, including VP & Head of U.S. Hematology. Before that, she was VP & Head of U.S. CAR-T Franchise. Previously, she was responsible for the global commercial strategy for Novartis Cell & Gene Therapies, and, before that, she held the role of Head of Marketing, Multiple Sclerosis Franchise.

AI Therapeutics, Inc. – After serving as acting CEO since May 2021, Brigette Roberts has been tapped as the permanent company CEO. Roberts joined AI Therapeutics after serving as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Fortress Biotech. Prior to this, she spent over 15 years in healthcare investing as a portfolio manager at hedge funds including Third Point, CDP Capital, Angel Lane Principal Strategies, DKR Capital and her own hedge fund, YYC Capital.

Adicet – Adicet named Amy Locke vice president and Head of Human Resources. She was most recently at Allakos where she led the doubling of the employee base within the last year to scale for the commercialization of the company's first approved product. She also held senior HR roles at Natera as well as marketing, sales and training roles at leading companies like Bristol-Myers Squibb, Genentech and InterMune.

Avalo Therapeutics – Garry Neil, CSO of Avalo, has been named CEO of the company and Chris Sullivan has been promoted to CFO. Mike Cola and Schond Greenway have stepped away from their prior roles as chief executive officer and chief financial officer, respectively, to pursue other interests. Neil also serves as the chairman of the Board of Directors of Arena Pharmaceuticals. He is a member of the Board of the Center for Discovery and Innovation at Hackensack Meridian Health. Prior to joining Avalo, Neil served as CSO of Aevi Genomic Medicine and held a number of senior positions in the pharmaceutical industry, academia, and venture capital. Sullivan most recently served as the Company’s chief accounting officer and prior to that as Interim Chief Financial Officer. Before joining Avalo, Sullivan was the corporate controller for Sucampo Pharmaceuticals.

Vertex Ventures – Christine Brennan was named Managing Director of Vertex Ventures. Brennan was formerly partner at MRL Ventures Fund from 2017-2021, where she was on the board of Alector, Inc., Entrada Therapeutics, Tallac Therapeutics and Therini Bio. She was also an observer on the boards of Adagio, LifeMine Therapeutics, PAQ Therapeutics and Translate Bio. Prior to MRL Ventures Fund, Brennan was principal at the Novartis Venture Fund from 2013-2017.

180 Life Sciences – 180 Life Sciences formed its Scientific Advisory Board. Members include Raphael Mechoulam, a Professor of Chemistry at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and co-founder of 180 Life Sciences; Kevin Tracey, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research; Irene Tracey, professor of Anaesthetic Neuroscience, pro-vice chancellor and Warden at the University of Oxford; Chas Bountra, head of translational Medicine and the pro-vice chancellor for innovation at the University of Oxford; Sallie Lamb, the Mireille Gillings professor of health innovation at the University of Exeter.

FOLX Health – Liana Douillet Guzman was named CEO of FOLX. A.G. Breitenstein, FOLX Health's former CEO and founder, will serve as Executive Chair of the board. Guzman most recently served as the chief marketing officer of Skillshare. 

Synthego – Avi Raval was named CFO of Synthego. He was a managing director and founding member of the health care group at Perella Weinberg Partners. Raval spent the first seven years of his investment banking career at J.P. Morgan.

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