BioSpace Movers and Shakers for Week of June 4th

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Biotech and pharmaceutical companies across the U.S. and globally shook up their senior leadership roles in the first week of June with new hires that included chief executive officers and directors. The companies filled the roles with the talent they believe will drive the next stage of growth.  

MiMedx – Following an announcement that Marietta, Ga,-based MiMedx will be forced to restate several years’ worth of financial statements following an audit, the company has replaced its chief financial officer. Edward J. Borkowski has been appointed the Company's interim chief financial officer following the resignation of Michael J. Senken. Additionally, John E. Cranston abruptly stepped down from his role as corporate controller and treasurer. In addition to his financial duties at MiMedx, Borkowski will also oversee MiMedx's legal, finance, and investor and public relations, the company said. MiMedx is initiating a search process to identify permanent replacements for these positions.

Rubius Therapeutics – Cellular therapy company Rubius Therapeutics tapped Pablo J. Cagnoni as its new chief executive officer. In his role, he will drive the company’s pipeline of Red Cell Therapeutics. Torben Straight Nissen, Rubius’ president, will assist Cagnoni in advancing the company’s pipeline and other business objectives. Prior to his role at Rubius, Cagnoni most recently served as president and CEO of Tizona Therapeutics, a privately held biotech company focused on developing novel treatments for cancer. Before Tizona, Cagnoni served as president of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, global head of clinical development at Novartis Oncology and chief medical officer at Allos Therapeutics and OSI Pharmaceuticals, respectively.

Portola Pharmaceuticals – Chief Executive Officer William Lis is retiring from his role at South San Francisco-based Portola Pharmaceuticals one month after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Andexxa (andexanet alfa) to treat life-threatening or uncontrolled bleeding. Lis will continue to helm the company through Aug. 1 and then will remain in an advisory role to help with the leadership transition. John T. Curnutte, head of research and development, and Mardi C. Dier, the company’s chief financial officer, will serve as co-presidents until a permanent CEO is found. Curnutte and Dier will also continue to serve in their current roles.

Allogene TherapeuticsAlison Moore was named chief technical officer for South San Francisco-based Allogene Therapeutics. In her CTO role, Moore will oversee product sciences, supply chain, manufacturing, quality and technical operations. Before coming to Allogene, Moore most recently served as head of process and development at Amgen. Before Amgen Moore served as Director in Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls, and Regulatory Affairs at Genentech.  

Sarepta Therapeutics – Cambridge, Mass.-based Sarepta tapped Louise Rodino-Klapac as the head of the company’s newly-created gene therapy business unit. She will oversee the development of Sarepta’s gene therapy and gene editing programs. Rodino-Klapac most recently served as head of gene therapy research for muscular dystrophies at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, one of Sarepta’s research partners. While at the hospital Rodino-Klapac’s research led to 11 investigational new drug applications for gene therapy treatments. She served as principal investigator and co-inventor of the micro-dystrophin technology for the gene therapy Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) clinical trial underway by Sarepta and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Additionally, Rodino-Klapac co-founded Myonexus Therapeutics, Inc. and is the inventor of its Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD) portfolio. At Myonexus Rodino-Klapac serves as chief scientific officer, a role she will retain while at Sarepta. In May Sarepta and Myonexus announced a collaboration to develop gene therapies to treat five distinct forms of LGMD.

In addition to Rodino-Klapac, Sarepta also named former Biogen executive Gilmore O’Neill as its chief medical officer. In this role, O’Neill will lead all clinical development, medical affairs, pharmacovigilance, and regulatory affairs. At Biogen O’Neill oversaw development programs for Alzheimer’s disease, movement disorders, acute neurology, multiple sclerosis, pain, neuromuscular disease, gene and cell therapy, and rare diseases.

Trillium Therapeutics -- Yaping Shou was named chief medical officer for Toronto-based Trillium Therapeutics. In her new role, Shou will help guide the company’s two ongoing trials involving its lead candidate, TTI-621, a SIRPaFc fusion protein that consists of the CD47-binding domain of human SIRPa linked to the Fc region of a human immunoglobulin. Shou most recently served as executive medical director of Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Takeda Shou held several clinical oncology positions at Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline.

AgeX Therapeutics -- John F. Mauldin was named to the board of directors for Alameda, Calif.-based AgeX Therapeutics, a subsidiary of BioTime, Inc. Having authored several books on economic trends, Mauldin is heralded as a financial expert and “visionary thinker.” Mauldin is chairman of Mauldin Solutions, an investment advisory firm.

Corbus Pharmaceuticals – Norwood, Mass.-based Corbus Pharmaceuticals named John K. Jenkins, a former FDA senior official, to its board of directors. Jenkins served for 25 years at the FDA, including a 15-year stint as director of the Office of New Drugs at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. In his role at the FDA, he oversaw the review of thousands of New Drug Applications, as well as the approval of hundreds of those medications. That expertise should serve the company as it focuses on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics to treat rare, chronic and serious inflammatory and fibrotic diseases.

Orchard TherapeuticsMarc Dunoyer and Charlie Rowland have been named independent directors to the Orchard Therapeutics Board of Directors. Dunoyer is currently the chief financial officer for AstraZeneca. Rowland most recently served as the president and CEO of Aurinia Pharmaceuticals.

Saama Technologies – Campbell, Calif.-based Saama Technologies announced that Ajit Shetty, the former managing director for Belgium-based former Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V., joined the company’s board of directors. Shetty is currently Chairman of the Belgium-based Flemish Institute of Biotechnology.

Dare Bioscience – David Friend was tapped as the first chief scientific officer for San Diego-based Dare Bioscience. Prior to Dare, Friend served as chief scientific officer at Evofem Biosciences. In addition to Friend, Dare also appointed Mary Jarosz to the newly created role of Global Head of Regulatory Affairs. Like Friend, Jarosz came to Dare from Evofem, where she served as head of regulatory affairs and quality assurance.

Astellas -- Nahrin Marino has been tapped to serve as vice president, head of Ethics & Compliance in the Americas for Illinois-based Astellas effective July 15. Previously, Marino served as deputy general counsel for Regulatory at Astellas.

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