BioSpace Movers & Shakers, May 28

Movers and Shakers

Biopharma and life sciences companies strengthen their leadership teams and boards with these Movers & Shakers. 

Lytix Biopharma – Norway’s Lytix named appointed four new members to its board of directors. Marie-Louise Fjällskog, Evelina Vågesjö and Kjetil Hestdal, all of Norway, and Jayson Rieger of the U.S. were appointed to the board. Fjällskog is the chief medical officer of Sensei Biotherapeutics and is a board member of Sweden-based Biovica International AB. Vågesjö is co-founder and chief executive officer of Ilya Pharma AB. Hestdal is the former CEO of Photocure and Rieger is Managing Partner at PBM Capital.

Praxis Precision Medicines – Tim Kelly was named chief financial officer of Praxis. Kelly joins Praxis from Foundation Medicine, where he served as CFO and head of corporate management. Prior to Foundation Medicine, Kelly worked at the Roche Group for more than 15 years, serving in finance roles of increasing responsibility across product commercialization, pipeline development, manufacturing and strategic planning, most recently as the finance and corporate services director for Roche Pharma in the United Kingdom.

PCI Pharma Services – John Cullivan was named chief corporate development officer for Philadelphia-based PCI. Cullivan is expected to play a key role in PCI’s growth strategy and will accelerate its M&A, focusing on acquisitions to enhance PCI’s capabilities, enter new markets and geographies, and strengthen its portfolio of client solutions. Prior to joining PCI, he led corporate development at Albany Molecular Research Inc. Before that, he held several leadership positions, including Senior Vice President (SVP) of Corporate Development and Strategy for Lonza; head of Corporate Development and Strategy for Capsugel and SVP of Corporate Development and Strategy for Cardinal Health.

Noveome Biotherapeutics – Christopher J.P. Velis was named CEO of Pittsburgh’s Noveome. Velis is the founder and executive chairman of Miraki Innovation, where he forecasts global health and medical challenges, uncovers innovative technologies and assembles teams of industry experts to build companies that solve these global problems.

Excision BioTherapeutics – Franz Gerner was named Chief Technology Officer & Head of Manufacturing at Bay Area-based Excision. Prior to joining Excision, Gerner served as vice president of Technical Operations at Sio Gene Therapies, formerly Axovant Gene Therapies. Before that, he served as senior Director of Technical Innovation and New Technologies at Regenxbio. Prior to Regenxbio, he was the Director of Process Development and Manufacturing at Omnia Biologics, where he oversaw process development and GMP activities.

Additionally, Excision has hired infectious disease expert Sumathi Sivapalasingam as its new Head of Translational Medicine. Sivapalasingam was most recently Senior Director at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, where she led clinical advancement of infectious disease, metabolic, rare disease, and gene therapy assets.

Neogene Therapeutics – Bristol Myers Squibb veteran Brent Pfeiffenberger was named chief operating officer of Neogene. Pfeiffenberger will oversee Neogene’s business operations. While at Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfeiffenberger held several critical business leadership roles. In his most recent role, Pfeiffenberger served as the Head of U.S. Oncology where he oversaw an extensive oncology portfolio. He previously served as General Manager of Australia/New Zealand and has also led the Worldwide Commercial Oncology Organization.

VectivBio Holding AG – Switzerland-based VectivBio Holding named Omar Khwaja as CMO. Concurrently, Christian Meyer has been appointed to the newly created position of COO. Prior to joining Vectiv, Khwaja served as CMO and head of research and development at Voyager Therapeutics. Previously, he was the Global Head of Rare Diseases and Neuroscience Translational Medicine at Roche, where he worked for over eight years. Meyer was part of the founding team of VectivBio, acting as its chief development officer since June 2019, after serving as CMO of both Therachon AG and uniQure N.V. Prior to uniQure, he held several senior executive positions at Cardoz AB, Symphogen A/S and Zymenex A/S. Meyer began his career at Novo Nordisk A/S and held academic and hospital positions before entering the pharmaceutical industry.

Koya Medical – Bay Area-based Koya announced the appointments of three veteran executives to its leadership team to support commercialization: Rick Biro, Head of Sales; Liesl Oldstone, Head of Market Access and Clinical Affairs; and Damian Rippole, CFO. Biro will be responsible for building and executing Koya’s go-to-market sales strategy. He joins Koya after serving as Area Sales Director, Central US at PolarityTE. Before PolarityTE, Biro spent more than 15 years in the lymphedema and wound care space where he held a number of leadership positions with Wright Therapy Products, BSN Medical and Galaxy Medical Products. Oldstone will work to articulate the clinical value of the company’s highly differentiated product and minimize barriers for patients to access. Her career has spanned more than two decades in both pharma and the medical device industry for industry-leading companies including ResMed, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Covidien (now Medtronic), Cordis (formerly J&J) and Eli Lilly & Company. Rippole was most recently CFO at Ebb Therapeutics. Prior to that, he was Corporate Controller for Respironics.

The Bloc – Stuart Goldstein has been hired as COO at The Bloc. In the newly-created role of COO, Goldstein will be responsible for the execution of over 4,500 projects per year across The Bloc's U.S. client business. Most recently, Goldstein led operations for McCann Health in New York City.

Immatics NV – Christof Hettich is stepping down from the Immatics Board of Directors. Hettich has served on the board since 2006. Former Immatics Board member Friedrich von Bohlen und Halbach, Managing Partner and co-founder of dievini Hopp BioTech Holding GmbH & Co. KG has been nominated to be his successor.

Escient Pharmaceuticals – San Diego-based Escient tapped Eric Deng as Vice President of Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls (CMC) Operations. Prior to joining Escient, Deng spent seven years at Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical leading supply chain, manufacturing, and cross-functional CMC teams. Previously, he was a Business Unit Manager responsible for overall manufacturing and supply chain operations of a Bayer HealthCare business franchise. He also held operations leadership positions with Metrika, Johnson & Johnson, and Honeywell.

TScan Therapeutics – Bill Desmarais was named chief business officer of TScan Therapeutics, Inc. Desmarais brings more than 20 years of business development, partnering, and research experience to TScan, including his most recent role as Vice President of Business Development of Momenta Pharmaceuticals. Before Momenta, Desmarais spent 11 years in roles of increasing responsibility within business development and research and development at Eli Lilly. Also, TScan appointed seasoned oncology drug development executive Gabriela Gruia to its Board of Directors. Gruia most recently served as chief development officer at Ichnos Sciences, where she oversaw regulatory sciences, clinical operations, drug safety, clinical pharmacology, biostatistics and clinical outsourcing. Prior Ichnos, Gruia spent 16 years at Novartis where she served in several senior roles of increasing responsibility, including Senior Vice President and Global Head of Drug Regulatory Affairs Oncology and Head of Medical Writing and Submissions. The company also named Timothy Barberich, the founder and former chairman and CEO of Sepracor Inc. and member of TScan’s Board, as Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Tectonic Therapeutic– Boston-based Tectonic announced that Peter McNamara has been appointed Head of Research. McNamara joins Tectonic from the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF), where he was Head of Biotherapeutics and Biotechnology.

High Purity New England – Mark A. Sitcoske, founder and CEO of High Purity New England, a supplier of single-use solutions for the biopharmaceutical industry, has been elected to the Bio-Process Systems Alliance (BPSA) Board of Directors.

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