BioSpace Movers & Shakers, June 11
Biopharma and life sciences companies strengthen their leadership teams and boards with these Movers & Shakers.
Merck KGaA – Merck KgaA, Darmstadt, Germany strengthened its leadership team with three appointments within its Neurology & Immunology (N&I) business. Amy Mahery was appointed new Senior Vice President, Head of the Neurology & Immunology Global Business Franchise. With her most recent tenure leading the Global Market Access team, Mahery was instrumental in driving global reimbursement strategies to enable patient access to innovation. Mahery is a recent recipient of the 20th annual Women Worth Watching Award by the Profiles in Diversity Journal. The award was created to recognize women leaders, and the companies that promote them, as well as inspire the next generation of women coming up in leadership roles.
Additionally, Jan Klatt will join Merck KGaA as Senior Vice President and Head of the Development Unit Neurology & Immunology. Klatt will accelerate the development of the N&I portfolio and enhance the clinical pipeline aimed at best-in-disease advances for patients. Klatt joins the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany team from Novartis, where most recently he served as Global Program Head, Heart Failure, with a leadership role in the development of a blockbuster therapy. He previously held the role of Global Medical Affairs (GMA) Lead with responsibility for the development and execution of the Medical and LCM strategy for Novartis’ MS portfolio.
Also, Merck KGaA tapped Amy Kao as Head of Translational Innovation Platform Immunology. Kao will transition from her current role as Head of Global Clinical Development in Immunology, M5049 clinical lead, to lead the company’s research efforts for Immunology. Prior to joining Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in 2016, she worked at Biogen in early clinical development in Immunology.
Ovid Therapeutics – Jeff Rona was named Chief Business and Financial Officer at Ovid. Rona currently serves as CBO. Prior to joining Ovid Therapeutics, he was the Western region Managing Director for Danforth Advisors, a life science financial strategy consultancy. Previously, he held the titles of CBO at GlobeImmune, Chief Financial Officer at AlgoRx Pharmaceuticals, CFO at Great Basin Scientific, and Director, Investment Banking at UBS.
n-Lorem Foundation – Claire Grezemkovsky was named Director of Philanthropy of n-Lorem Foundation nonprofit organization providing the ultra-rare disease patients with free, lifetime supplies of individualized RNA-targeted medicines. Grezemkovsky will oversee execution of n-Lorem’s fundraising portfolio development and management, donor relations and solicitation, and internal and external funding communications. Grezemkovsky joins n-Lorem team after working with notable organizations such as the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, W.M. Keck Observatory and most recently The Scripps Research Institute.
California Life Sciences – Illyasha Peete was named Executive Director of the California Life Sciences (CLS) Racial and Social Equity (RSE) Initiative. Peete will help steer the Initiative’s immediate focus on programs that increase STEM opportunities for underrepresented students; promote the hiring, development, and advancement of underrepresented talent; invest in diverse entrepreneurs and board members; and provide underserved communities with equitable access to and coverage for care. Peete joins CLS from the Center for Excellence in Nonprofits, where she served as the Director of Diversity and Consulting/Training.
DTx Pharma – Jill Howe was named CFO of San Diego-based DTx. Prior to joining DTx, Ms. Howe served as Treasurer and Vice President of Finance for Gossamer Bio. Previously, Howe held Controller and Director of Finance roles at Amplyx Pharmaceuticals, Receptos, and Somaxon Pharmaceuticals.
Zimmer Biomet Holdings – Wilfred van Zuilen was named President of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for Zimmer Biomet and Nitin Goyal was appointed to the newly created role of Chief Science, Technology and Innovation Officer. van Zuilen will be responsible for the marketing, sales and distribution of products, services and solutions in the EMEA region. Prior to joining Zimmer Biomet, van Zuilen served as Regional Vice President, North Western Europe at Medtronic. Prior to that, he led Medtronic's Restorative Therapies Group of businesses for EMEA and has also held regional leadership positions with Covidien, Novartis and Edwards Lifesciences. Goyal will oversee advanced research, product development, and Zimmer Biomet's innovation platforms. In addition, he will have oversight of Medical Education, Clinical Affairs and healthcare provider collaboration. Prior to joining Zimmer Biomet, he served as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Innovation and Digital Care Delivery at Rally Health, part of the Optum business of UnitedHealth Group.
PepGen, Inc. – Niels Svenstrup was named Senior Vice President of Chemistry, Manufacturing & Controls at PepGen and David Pelissier will serve as Vice President of Finance. Prior to joining PepGen Svenstrup served in a variety of life science leadership roles, most recently as Senior Vice President of Development at Cydan, Inc. He previously served as Director of Project Management and CMC at Ascendis Pharma. He also held positions at H. Lundbeck as Head of Department, Medicinal Chemistry and Bayer as Strategic Project Leader, Oncology and Virology. Most recently, Pelissier served as Vice President, Controller of AVROBIO, Inc. Prior to joining Ra Pharmaceuticals, he served as Director of Technical Accounting and External Reporting at Charles River Laboratories.
Intercept Pharmaceuticals – Andrew Saik was named CFO of New York-based Intercept Pharmaceuticals. Saik brings more than 20 years of biopharma finance experience to his new role at Intercept. He was previously CFO of Vyne Therapeutics. Prior to joining Vyne, Saik held CFO positions at PDS Biotechnology, Inc. (formerly Edge Therapeutics), Vertice Pharma, LLC, and Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to Auxilium, he was Senior Vice President, Finance and Treasurer at Endo Health Solutions, Inc.
Additionally, M. Michelle Berrey was named President of Research & Development and CMO. Berrey was most recently President and CEO at Chimerix and previously served as CMO at Pharmasset from 2007 to 2012, prior to its acquisition by Gilead. Before joining Pharmasset, Berrey was Vice President of Viral Diseases, Clinical Pharmacology & Discovery Medicine at GlaxoSmithKline.
Carisma Therapeutics – Richard Morris was named CFO of CARISMA. Morris joins CARISMA from Passage Bio where he served as CFO and was instrumental in transforming the genetic medicines company from a private start-up to a public development stage company. Before that, he was the Executive Vice President and CFO for Context Therapeutics; he also was CFO for Vitae Pharmaceuticals, acquired by Allergan in 2016, and held several senior financial roles at ViroPharma, acquired by Shire in 2013.
Umoja Biopharma – Seattle-based Umoja tapped David Fortuna as CBO and Strategy Officer. Fontana joins Umoja from Bristol Myers Squibb, where he was an executive in the Cell Therapy Franchise. Prior to this role, he led the advancement of late-stage immuno-oncology assets and translational medicine as Vice President of Immuno-Oncology at Pfizer.
Pyxis Oncology – Steve Monks was named chief technical officer and Ritu Shah was named chief operating officer at Pyxis Oncology. Before joining Pyxis, Monks served as Senior Vice President of Development at Aura Biosciences. Before joining Aura, he was a member of the executive leadership team at Agenus. Most recently, Shah served as Vice President of Business Operations and Program Management of Levo Therapeutics. Prior to this, Shah was the Chief of Staff to the Chief Executive Officer and Vice President of Program Management at AveXis. Ms. Shah previously held various executive roles at Baxter, Baxalta, and Shire after starting her career at Accenture. Additionally, Christoph Rader and Anthony W. Tolcher joined the company’s Scientific Advisory Board. Rader is a Professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research. Prior to this appointment, he was a Senior Scientist at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH). Tolcher is the CEO, Founder and Director of Clinical Research at NEXT Oncology.
Aurion Biotech – Greg Kunst was named CEO of recently-launched Aurion Biotech. Before Aurion Biotech, Kunst spent six years at Glaukos Corporation, where he led the worldwide marketing, market access, reimbursement, health economics and outcomes research, government affairs, and business development teams. Before Glaukos, Kunst was global franchise director over the glaucoma surgery and retina pharmaceutical businesses at Alcon, a Novartis company. Before joining Alcon, he was the global head of market access at Kinetic Concepts, Inc.
IMV, Inc. – Jeremy R. Graff was named chief scientific officer of Nova Scotia-based IMV. Most recently, Graff served as Chief Development Officer and Senior Vice President, Research at HiberCell, a biotechnology company developing novel therapeutics for cancer relapse and metastasis. Prior to that he was employed at Biothera Pharmaceuticals serving as President since 2018 and CSO since 2014. Graff spent 16 years at Eli Lilly and Lilly Research Labs where he developed extensive experience in cancer drug discovery and development, immuno-oncology, biomarker discovery and patient stratification. IMV also announced the appointment of Stanley Frankel, as a clinical advisor to support development of maveropepimut-S in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Frankel served as Senior Vice President, Cellular Therapy Development at Bristol Myers Squibb.
PTC Therapeutics – Mary L. Smith was appointed to the board of directors. Smith previously served as the Principal Deputy Director and CEO equivalent at the Indian Health Service. Smith currently serves as Vice Chair at the VENG Group, a non-partisan government relations and public affairs firm where she consults clients on business development, strategy, healthcare and corporate governance.
Confo Therapeutics – Belgium-based Confo Therapeutics established a Medical Advisory Board that will be chaired by Andrew Rice, Professor of Pain Research at Imperial College London, United Kingdom. Other members include: Ralf Baron, Head of the Department of Neurological Pain Research and Therapy, Department of Neurology, University of Kiel, Germany; Robert H. Dworkin, Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, Neurology, and Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center; Nanna Brix Finnerup, Professor and Chair, Danish Pain Research Center, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Denmark; Nathaniel Katz, CSO of Analgesic Solutions, Wayland, Mass.; and Mark Versavel, President at vZenium LLC, Boston.
Monte Rosa – Filip Janku was tapped as the first CMO of Monte Rosa. Prior to joining Monte Rosa, Janku served in various roles at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, including center medical director for the Clinical and Translational Research Center, associate professor and medical oncologist in its Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics.