BioSpace Movers and Shakers: Jan. 25
Editas Medicine – Chief Executive Officer Katrine Bosley abruptly announced her decision to resign from her role at Editas Medicine effective March 1. The company board of directors has initiated a search to identify a replacement CEO. In the meantime, Cynthia Collins, a member of the company’s board, will assume the role of interim CEO. Bosley will remain with Editas in an advisory role through the end of the year in order to ensure a smooth transition.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals – Boston-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals fired Chief Operating Officer Ian Smith, who had also been serving as interim chief financial officer since December, for violations of the company code of conduct. Longtime Vertex employee Paul Silva, the company’s comptrollers and chief accounting officer, has been named interim CFO, the company said.
Genentech – Former Genentech executive Alexander Hardy will return from his current role with parent company Roche to helm the South San Francisco company. Hardy currently serves as the head of global product strategy for Roche. He previously held multiple roles at Genentech, including head of its IMPACT business unit and also oversaw HER2 sales and marketing strategies, as well as overseeing its anti-infectives program. Genentech became in need of a new CEO after Bill Anderson was shifted from the Bay Area subsidiary to take over as CEO of Roche Pharmaceuticals.
SAGE Therapeutics – CNS drugmaker Sage Therapeutics added two life science veterans to its board of directors. The company named Liz Barrett, chief executive officer of UroGen, and George Golumbeski, president of GRAIL, to the board. Prior to her January appointment as CEO of UroGen, Barrett was CEO of Novartis Oncology. Prior to Novartis, she was global president, oncology at Pfizer Inc. and then before that, was vice president and general manager of the oncology business unit at Cephalon Inc. Golumbeski previously served as executive vice president of Celgene, leading corporate development. Prior to Celgene, Golumbeski was vice president of business development, licensing, and strategy at Novartis. He also held leadership positions at Elan Pharmaceuticals and Schwarz Pharma.
Ferring Pharmaceuticals – Parsippany, N.J.-based Ferring Pharmaceuticals named Pfizer veteran Sophie Opdyke as its vice president and general manager of oncology. Opdyke will be responsible for building the U.S. division, leading day-to-day operations, and shaping its long-term strategic business plan at Ferring. This includes leading the potential commercial launch of an investigational gene therapy for bladder cancer patients. Opdyke most recently served as vice president and immuno-oncology lead at Pfizer. At the pharma giant, Opdyke oversaw development and commercialization of oncology products, including checkpoint inhibitors, novel Immuno-Oncology targets and innovative technologies such as allogenic CAR-T and immune therapy-based vaccines.
Sangamo Therapeutics – Adrian Woolfson was named executive vice president of Research and Development of Richmond, Calif.-based Sangamo Therapeutics effective Jan. 22. Woolfson will oversee discovery, research and development activities for the company. Woolfson most recently served as chief medical officer at Nouscom AG, a genetic cancer vaccine biotechnology company based in Basel, Switzerland. At Nouscom, he led development of the company’s off-the-shelf and personalized neoantigen vaccine and oncolytic virus strategy. Prior to Nouscom, Woolfson served as global clinical leader of early and late stage immuno-oncology/Hematology at Pfizer. He also held leadership roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb, including serving as global medical lead for a first-in-human CDC7 inhibitor and selective JAK2 inhibitor.
Biocoat, Inc. – Horsham, Penn.-based Biocoat, which develops and licenses biomaterial coatings for interventional medical devices, named Steven Bell its newest chief financial officer. Prior to his new role with Biocoat, Bell has acted as a consultant providing outsourced CFO services for various middle market companies. Before that, he held the CFO role for several companies, including ReSearch Pharmaceutical Services, CareScience and The MRC Group.
Metabolon -- Michael Rasche joined Raleigh, N.C.-based Metabolon as president of International Business. Rasche joined Metabolon from Definiens where he was chief commercial officer. Prior to that, Rasche was corporate vice president of global commercial operations at Ayoxxa.
Dicerna Pharmaceuticals – J. Kevin Buchi was named chairman of the board at Cambridge, Mass.-based Dicerna Pharmaceuticals as the company evolves its governing board. Buchi, the former president and chief executive officer of Cephalon, Inc. and TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals, joined the Dicerna board of directors in August 2018. In addition to Buchi, the company announced; the appointment of industry experts Marc Kozin, professional board member, and Anna Protopapas, president and chief executive officer of Mersana Therapeutics, to the Dicerna board. The changes reflect Dicerna’s ongoing growth and transition toward a fully integrated pharmaceutical company, the company said.
Ironwood Pharmaceuticals – As Ironwood Pharmaceuticals separates into two businesses, Ironwood and Cyclerion Therapeutics, Inc., the company announced its boards of directors. Ironwood’s board includes Chairperson Julie McHugh, Andrew Dreyfus, Lawrence Olanoff, Edward Owens, incoming Ironwood CEO and former AstraZeneca head of product and portfolio strategy Mark Mallon, Mark Currie, Jon Duane, Maria Kessler and Catherine Moukheiber. Current Ironwood directors – Marsha Fanucci, Peter Hecht, Terrance McGuire, Amy Schulman, and Douglas Williams – are expected to transition off of the Ironwood board. At Cyclerion, the board includes Chairperson Marsha Fanucci, current Ironwood CEO Peter Hecht, Kevin Churchwell, George Conrades, Ole Isacson, Stephanie Lovell, Terrance McGuire, Michael Mendelsohn and Amy Schulman. The separation of Ironwood is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.
Actinium Pharmaceuticals -- Cynthia Pussinen was named executive vice president of Technical Operations and Supply Chain at New York-based Actinium Pharmaceuticals. Pussinen will be responsible for strategy and execution of Actinium's operational and tactical plans for product development, drug manufacturing, infrastructure, and supply chain. Pussinen joins Actinium from Pfizer, where she was the head of Strategic Portfolio Management, Worldwide Research & Development. Prior to that, she served as president and general manager of Ipsen Biosciences, Inc.
Open Targets – Ian Dunham was named a new director of Cambridge, U.K.-based Open Targets, a public-private partnership between EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), the Wellcome Sanger Institute, GSK, Biogen, Takeda, Celgene and Sanofi. Dunham will focus on the delivery of Open Targets’ program to exploit advances in genetics and genomics for drug target identification and prioritization. He also aims to increase the use of new approaches to the program, including single-cell sequencing, CRISPR and artificial intelligence. Dunham has been the Scientific Director of Open Targets since 2014.
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