BioSpace Movers and Shakers, May 24
Locana, Inc. – Startup gene therapy company Locana, Inc. named industry veteran Jeffrey Ostrove, the former chief executive officer of AbVitro and Ceregene as its new CEO. Locana launched with $55 million in Series A financing and plans to use the funds to support its modular RNA targeting-effector approach to treating diseases. Prior to Locana, Ostrove served as CEO of San Diego-based GenStem Therapeutics. He also held leadership roles at Neuorir, BioReliance and began his career as a scientist at the National Institutes of Health.
Mogrify Ltd. – U.K.-based Mogrify made several appointments to bolster its scientific and management teams. Karin Schmitt was named chief business officer and Joe Foster was named chief operating officer of the cell therapy company. Karin Schmitt will lead Mogrify’s commercial operations and its R&D function. Schmitt has held leadership roles at various companies, including Exelixis, Inc., Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Horizon Discovery Group plc and PredictImmune Ltd. Foster will manage the company’s corporate operations as well as driving Mogrify’s IP management function. Foster began his career at Horizon Discovery Group.
RedHill Biopharma Ltd. – Israel-based RedHill Biopharma named Rob Jackson as vice president of marketing, Robert Cullen as vice president of market access and Steven Thomsian as vice president of supply chain. Prior to joining RedHill, Jackson served in commercial leadership roles at Bioventus, most recently as the national director of market access for the surgical business unit. Jackson also held leadership roles at Salix Pharmaceuticals, Vicuron Pharmaceuticals and Merck & Co. Before RedHill, Gilken served as vice president of market access at Synergy Pharmaceuticals. He also held roles at Filias Healthcare Marketing Strategy Group, Gemini Health and AstraZeneca. Thomsian most recently held the position of vice president of supply chain at Kala Pharmaceuticals and, prior to that, at Cempra Pharmaceuticals. He also held roles at Salix and Orexigen Therapeutics.
Teewinot Life Sciences Corp. – Florida-based Teewinot, a company focused on biosynthetic development and production of cannabinoids, made multiple changes to its leadership team. Michael Luther joined the company as president and chief executive officer. Luther served as president and CEO of Bantam Pharmaceutical and also held leadership roles at AMRI, Inc., Merck-Canada and GlaxoSmithKline. Steve Orndorff assumed the role of chief operating officer. Prior to Teewinot, Orndorff served as president and CEO of IM Therapeutics, president and CEO of MicroBiome Therapeutics LLC and founder and CEO of Accera, Inc. Jeff Mathiesen was named chief financial officer. Prior to Teewinot, Mathiesen served as CFO of Gemphire Therapeutics, Inc., Sunshine Heart, Inc. and Recovery Engineering.
Rinri Therapeutics – U.K.-based Rinri Therapeutics secured £1.4 million ($1.77 million) in seed funding to support its ongoing growth and named a new CEO. Simon Chandler takes over the reins of the company.
Avellino Lab – William F. Stasior was named a member of California-based Avellino Labs’ executive advisory committee, as well as a consultant to the company. In this role, Stasior will advance Avellino Labs genetic data management infrastructure to support the company’s growth and expanding application of its technology in health and precision medicine. Most recently, Stasior led the team responsible for Siri, Apple’s intelligent personal assistant. He also held roles at Altavista, Netcentives and Oracle.
Twist Bioscience – California-based Twist Biosciences appointed Nelson C. Chan, former CEO of Magellan, as a Class I director to its board of directors. Chan has been an advisor to Twist for the last 18 months, providing guidance on its DNA data storage vertical. Prior to his role with Twist, Chan held multiple roles at SanDisk Corporation, including vice president of global marketing, senior vice president of global sales and marketing and most recently as executive vice president and general manager, consumer business.
Emerus Holdings Inc. -- Vic Schmerbeck has been named president of Houston-based Emerus Holdings. Schmerbeck has been with Emerus for six years, most recently serving as chief development and strategy officer. In his new role, Schmerbeck will continue to oversee strategy, development, marketing and managed care. In addition, he will now oversee operations for the organization. During his tenure, Emerus has entered into eight new partnerships with leading health systems and built 21 new neighborhood hospitals.
Accion Systems -- Tom Phelps joined Boston-based Accion as vice president of product. Phelps will lead the product strategy for Accion’s in-space propulsion system, as well as future technologies and products. Prior to joining Accion, Phelps was senior director of New Products at Endeavor Robotics.
Arch Oncology -- California-based Arch Oncology named Kirk Christoffersen as chief business officer. Christoffersen will lead Arch Oncology’s corporate strategy and other business functions. Prior to his role with Arch, Christofferson was head of corporate and business development at Compugen. Before that, he worked at GlobeImmune, holding multiple positions of increasing responsibility. Christoffersen also held leadership positions in corporate development and marketing at OSI Pharmaceuticals, Gilead Sciences and NeXstar Pharmaceuticals.
Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation – MassBioEd named Sunny Schwartz as executive director. Schwartz comes to MassBioEd from the MassHire Metro North Workforce Board where she served as president and CEO. She also served 10 years as COO at the Asian American Civic Association.
Frelii Inc. – Utah-based Frelii Inc. added three key executives to strengthen its leadership team. Leslie M. Norris has been named COO, Sandeep Uppal has been named as chief administrative officer and Yvan Aubin has been tapped as executive vice president of finance.