BioSpace Movers and Shakers: July 3
Platelet Biogenesis – Cambridge, Mass.-based Platelet BioGenesis tapped Sam Rasty as president and chief executive officer. Rasty was most recently chief operating officer at genetic drugmaker Homology Medicines, Inc. As CEO, Rasty will drive the strategic direction and strong tactical execution of PBG during a period of growth and expansion, as the company rapidly advances toward its first Investigational New Drug Application. Rasty will assume the role effective July 15. Before Homology Medicines, Rasty held leadership positions at biopharma industry stalwarts including Shire Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline and Endo Pharmaceuticals. As part of Rasty’s appointment, current CEO and co-founder Jonathan Thon will continue as Chief Scientific Officer, in which he will focus on building next-generation applications of PBG’s innovative PLT+ Platform.
Purdue Pharma -- Julie Ducharme, was named chief scientific officer of Purdue Pharma. Ducharme will progress the company’s existing pipeline and identify new research opportunities and technological ventures across multiple therapeutic areas. She will also support the company’s ongoing efforts to help address the opioid addiction crisis. Her background includes 20 years of international pharmaceutical experience in various leadership roles at AstraZeneca and Mundipharma, and nearly four years leading research in biologics and vaccines at the National Research Council of Canada. Purdue said “she also brings a broad scientific expertise in pre-clinical and clinical drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics and translational science, with more than 100 scientific communications and publications.”
SOPHiA Genetics –Troy Cox, the former CEO of Foundation Medicine, joined the board of directors at SOPHiA Genetics. Prior to Foundation Medicine, Cox led U.S. oncology business at Genentech and also held roles at UCB BioPharmaceuticals, Sanofi-Aventis and Schering-Plough.
Amplify Health – Pravin Wilfred was named chief technology officer at Pennsylvania-based Amplify Health. In this role, Wilfred will oversee Amplify's company's overall technology direction and development and will lead the technology, business systems, security and infrastructure teams. Most recently, Wilfred held various roles as chief information officer and chief operating officer at HTA/Verra Mobility, where he helped lead the organizations through business-technology transformations, M&A activities as well as helping take the company public. Prior to that, he held various director positions at Medco and Express Scripts where he led large technology teams building technology solutions for physicians.
MODAG – Germany-based MODAG emerged from stealth mode with €12 million in a Series A financing to develop treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. In addition to the financing, the company named Torsten Matthias as its new CEO and Armin Giese as its CSO. Matthias has 20 years of experience as the owner, CEO and CSO of the worldwide operating Aesku.Group, a research-focused producer and supplier of innovative and efficient products and services for the early detection, diagnosis, and prognosis of autoimmunity, infectious serology, allergy, and food intolerance. Prior to joining MODAG as CSO, Giese was Acting Head of Department at the Center for Neuropathology and Prion Research at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
Squarex – Minnesota-based Squarex named Sanofi veteran Jack V. Talley as its new CEO. Talley currently serves on the board of Mitotherapeutix, a privately-held company using siRNA for a novel protein target that affects mitochondrial metabolism, such as liver disease. Previously, he served as CEO for five clinical-stage drug companies over a 19-year span. Most recently, Talley served as CEO, president and director of Izun Pharmaceuticals.
ObsEva – Switzerland-based ObsEva SA named Elizabeth Garner as its new chief medical officer. Most recently, Garner served as CMO and head of clinical development at Agile Therapeutics, Inc., in New Jersey. Previously, she was head of medical affairs for women's health and preventive care at Myriad Genetics Laboratories, and senior medical director of women's health at Abbott Laboratories. She also held leadership roles at Merck Research Laboratories. Elke Bestel, current CMO and head of pharmacovigilance for ObsEva, will be nominated as ObsEva vice president and head of drug safety and pharmacovigilance and remain on the company’s executive committee.
Viela Bio – Mitchell Chan was named CFO of Maryland-based Viela Bio. In this role, he will be responsible for leading corporate financing, financial operations, treasury, investor relations, corporate communications and corporate strategy. Previously, Chan served as Viela’s head of finance & corporate strategy. Prior to joining Viela in 2018, Chan served as director of Investor Relations for AstraZeneca, North America. Previously, Chan held various roles of increasing responsibility at Genentech-Roche, including in BioOncology Commercial Finance, R&D Finance and Mergers & Acquisitions.
Veracyte – Keith Kennedy was named COO and CFO of South San Francisco-based Veracyte, Inc. Kennedy assumes leadership over key operations and all administrative functions for the company. Prior to joining Veracyte as CFO in December 2016, he served in key executive leadership positions at MCG Capital, Arlington Capital Partners and GE Capital.
Terns Pharmaceuticals – Foster City, Calif.-based Terns Pharmaceuticals, Inc. named Ankang Li as CFO. Li will be responsible for corporate financing, financial reporting, accounting, risk management, business development and investor relations. Prior to Terns, Li was the executive director of Healthcare Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs, where he was responsible for Asia ex-Japan investment banking and led many high-profile IPOs for biotechnology and other healthcare clients. Before that, Li was a director at the Asia Pacific Innovation Hub at Merck, overseeing business development and licensing transactions in the region.
Oramed Pharmaceuticals - Xiaoming Gao was named to the board of directors of New York-based Oramed. Gao is the chairman of Hefei Tianhui Incubator of Technologies Co. Ltd., which signed a strategic licensing partnership with Oramed in November 2015 to bring oral insulin to China. HTIT received an IND from the Chinese regulatory authorities to initiate oral insulin clinical trials in China.
InMed Pharmaceuticals -- Catherine Sazdanoff was named to the board of directors of Vancouver-based InMed Pharmaceuticals. Sazdanoff joins InMed's Board with 35 years of experience in the healthcare industry. She held various global executive roles in business development and corporate development at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, which she joined in 2006. Prior to Takeda, Sazdanoff served in senior global legal and pharmaceutical business roles at Abbott Laboratories since 1984, including litigation, international commercial and transactional legal roles, marketing and business development.
Smithers Avanza – Contract research organization Smithers Avanza named Frank M. Rotella as its director of operations for its New Jersey facility. Rotella will have responsibility for laboratory operations including project management, study support, laboratory support, and supervision of the scientific teams.