BioSpace Movers & Shakers, March 19

Leader Movers and Shakers

CalciMedica – California-based CalciMedica announced Zafi Avnur, chief scientific officer and partner at Quark Venture, joined the company’s board of directors following a $21 million Series D financing round. Prior to joining Quark Venture, Avnur was the Global Head of Academic Innovation of Roche Partnering from 2009 to 2016. She was responsible for creating relationships with the world’s leading academic institutions and world-class innovators, gaining Roche early access to innovation. Avnur was named Distinguished Scientist, the highest scientific appointment at Roche. Prior to her partnering roles, she worked in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics research and development for nearly 20 years and she participated in global committees at Roche that managed the research drug discovery portfolios for both Inflammatory and Viral Diseases. Avnur has created eleven startup companies.

Silverback Therapeutics – Maria Koehler, chief medical officer of Repare Therapeutics, was appointed to the board of directors at Silverback Therapeutics. She is expected to play an important role as Silverback advances their lead program, SBT6050, through clinical development and drives additional assets into the clinic. She has experience in both early drug development and bringing new drugs to global markets, having developed strategies for all stages of cancer drug development and medical affairs. Prior to joining Repare, Koehler was CMO at Bicycle Therapeutics. Before Bicycle, she was Vice President of Strategy and Innovation for Pfizer Oncology.

Aulos Bioscience – Aron Knickerbocker joined the Israel-based company as its chief executive officer and a member of its board of directors. Previous CEO Yanay Ofran will remain a member of the company’s board of directors. Most recently Knickerbocker was a co-founder, founding CEO, and chairman of RayzeBio, a developer of targeted radiopharmaceutical treatments for cancer. Prior to that, he spent 10 years in executive leadership positions at Five Prime Therapeutics. Before Five Prime, Knickerbocker led oncology business development at Genentech for more than eight years.

Eledon Pharmaceuticals – Paul Little was named chief financial officer of California-based Eledon Pharmaceuticals and Jeff Bornstein was named CMO. Bornstein’s experience includes nearly 20 years of research and development experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. He most recently served as Head of Clinical Sciences, Gastroenterology at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Takeda, he led development programs at Biogen, Gilead Sciences, Elan Pharmaceuticals, as well as at several earlier stage biotechs. Before joining Eledon in March 2021, Little served as CFO of Sientra Inc., where he led finance, investor relations, information technology, and manufacturing. Prior to Sientra, Little served as chief operating officer for Candela Medical. Before Candela Medical, Little served as vice president of Finance and Commercial Operations for Allergan PLC’s Medical Aesthetics division.

ReForm Biologics – Coherus BioSciences CMO Barbara Finck was appointed to the board of directors of ReForm Biologics. Before ReForm, Finck held senior level positions at a half-dozen innovative biopharmaceutical companies. At Immunex, she was lead medical director for the Phase III clinical development of Enbrel in rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. At Eos Biotechnology, she was vice president of Clinical Development. In addition, she was on the executive teams at PDL Biopharma, Osprey Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. and NKT Therapeutics, Inc.

Janux Therapeutics – Andy Meyer was appointed chief business officer of San Diego-based Janux Therapeutics. Meyer has more than 10 years of experience in biotechnology as an investment banker at Evercore and BofA Securities, Inc., where he advised biotechnology and life sciences companies on capital raising and strategic matters.

Remix Therapeutics – Matthew R. Patterson, former chairman and CEO of Audentes Therapeutics, was appointed Executive Chairman of the board of directors of Remix Therapeutics. Patterson is currently Strategic Advisor for Audentes, which was acquired by Astellas last year. He co-founded and led the company from 2013 until its sale to Astellas. Prior to Audentes, Patterson was an Entrepreneur-In-Residence with OrbiMed and held senior roles at Amicus Therapeutics, BioMarin Pharmaceutical and Genzyme Corporation. Patterson serves on several boards, including Homology Medicines, Inc., Vor Biopharma, Inc., 5:01 Acquisition Corporation, and the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM).

PYC Therapeutics – Michael Rosenblatt, a senior partner at Flagship Pioneering and former CMO of Merck, was appointed to the board of directors of PYC Therapeutics. In his current role at Flagship, Rosenblatt has helped launch several renowned biotechnology companies in the Flagship ecosystem, including providing counsel on clinical development strategies and chairing or serving on their scientific or clinical advisory committees. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Flagship companies Rubius Therapeutics, Cygnal Therapeutics and Ohana Biosciences. He also brings expertise in the development of RNA therapeutics through his current role as a member of Moderna Therapeutics’ Development Committee of the Board and Vaccine Acceleration Committee, and as a consultant to Moderna’s Chief Medical Officer. Rosenblatt most recently served as CMO of Merck from 2009 to 2016.

Peptilogics – David Huang was appointed CMO, Nick Nystrom was named senior vice president of Computing Data and Nicholas Pachuda was appointed head of Portfolio Strategy and Development for Peptilogics. Nystrom brings over 25 years of experience developing software architecture to enable groundbreaking biomedical research to Peptilogics and most recently served as Chief Scientist at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. With three decades of experience in orthopedics, Pachuda provides a strong track record of transitioning businesses from early product development through commercialization. Most recently, he served as the Worldwide Vice President of External Innovation and Enabling Technologies for DePuy Synthes, the Orthopedic Franchise at Johnson & Johnson. Prior to this, Pachuda served in various senior leadership roles in marketing, business development, and clinical strategy at DePuy Synthes, Arthrex, Scient’x, and Small Bone Innovations. Huang currently serves as an attending physician at the Department of Veterans Affairs and has worked extensively in the pharmaceutical industry with leadership positions at Pfizer, ContraFect Corp, Motif Bio, and X-Biotix Pharmaceuticals.

Section 32 – Venture capital fund Section 32 added Andy Harrison as Managing Partner and Sue Hager as Chief Investor Relations and Communications Officer. Harrison joins Section 32 from executive leadership roles at Alphabet, including Verily Life Sciences and X. He co-founded and ran Verily’s venture capital team, a strongly performing program that made early-stage investments in leading start-ups developing advanced technologies and digital health solutions. At Google, Harrison also advised a variety of platforms across automation, quantum, cybersecurity, machine learning, artificial intelligence and other technology disciplines. Most recently, Hager held senior leadership roles at two stand-out life sciences companies with close ties to Section 32, EQRx and Foundation Medicine.

Global Blood Therapeutics– Alexis A. Thompson was appointed to the board of directors at GBT. A board-certified pediatric hematologist, Dr. Thompson is head of the Hematology Section and director of the Comprehensive Thalassemia Program at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. In addition, Thompson is associate director for equity and minority health at the Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. In 2018, Thompson served as president of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and continues to serve on ASH’s Sickle Cell Disease Task Force.

Boundless Bio – Shailaja Kasibhatla was named Vice President, Discovery and Translational Development at San Diego-based Boundless Bio. Prior to Boundless Bio, she served as Senior Director of Translational Development at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Before BMS, Kasibhatla spent eight years at Novartis (Genomics Institute of the Novartis Foundation). Prior to Novartis, she was at Merck Research Labs.

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