BioSpace Movers and Shakers for Nov. 19

Man in suit leaping from one large rock to another

Let's take a look at some of the leadership changes we saw over the past week!

Dermavant Sciences -- Todd Zavodnick has taken over the helm of Vivek Ramaswamy’s Dermavant Sciences, one of the numerous “vants” spun out of Roivant. Zavodnick joined Dermavant from Revance, where he served as chief commercial officer and president of Aesthetics and Therapeutics. He previously served in global leadership roles at ZELTIQ Aesthetics prior to the company's acquisition by Allergan. When he was with Galderma Laboratories, he served as president and general manager of North American operations. Zavodnick joins Dermavant as the company plans to initiate a Phase III psoriasis drug it acquired from GlaxoSmithKline.

Nektar Therapeutics -- San Francisco-based Nektar Therapeutics named Genentech veteran We Lin to as the company’s senior vice president of clinical development and head of oncology. Lin will oversee the development strategy of Nektar’s immuno-oncology programs, including lead asset NKTR-214, a CD122-biased agonist. Lin served at Genentech from 2011 to 2018 as the Global Development Leader for cancer immunotherapy in lung and head and neck cancer. During his time at Genentech, he also served as a core member of the Lung and Head and Neck Cancer Franchise. Prior to Genentech, Lin served as a faculty member at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston in the Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology.

Cadent Therapeutics -- Cambridge, Mass.-based named industry veteran Bob (Ibrahim) Dagher as chief medical officer. Prior to Cadent, Dagher served as senior medical director for clinical development services in neuroscience at Covance. Before that, he was head of medical affairs at Dyax and has also held roles of increasing responsibility at Sanofi-Genzyme and GlaxoSmithKline.

AzarGen Biotechnologies – Samuel Fourie, an oncology specialist, joined South Africa-based AzarGen as a clinical advisor. Fourie has been involved with clinical trials since 1992 and has served as principal investigator for several studies since 2003. He currently works as Clinical Oncologist at Wilgers Oncology Center and Pretoria East Hospital and serves on the board of Medical Specialist Holdings.

Hox Therapeutics – U.K.-based Hox Therapeutics named Karl Keegan as its chief executive officer. Since 2009, Keegan has held key executive positions including chief financial officer and corporate development roles at Pharming Group NV, Vectura Group Plc and Shield Therapeutics Plc. Hox’s approach is based on the overexpression and unique role of developmental HOX genes in tumor biology and pathogenesis. 

Virion Biotherapeutics – Roche veteran Penelope Ward joined London-based Virion Biotherapeutics as chief medical officer. Prior to Virion, Ward was the global clinical development leader for Tamiflu. Ward has held senior management roles at Pharmacia & Upjohn, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline and UCB. Additionally, she has held the role of CMO at several companies including Blue Earth Diagnostics, Karus Therapeutics, Topivert and Novimmune.

NBE Therapeutics – Anthony Tolcher, an oncologist specializing with conducting early-stage clinical trials with Antibody Drug Conjugates, was named a member of NBE’s Scientific Advisory Board. Tolcher is founder and CEO of NEXT-Oncology in San Antonio, Texas. He was previously co-founder and a leading member of START (South Texas Accelerated Research Therapeutics), managing a network of global clinical trial centers.

Isofol Medical AB – Sweden-based Isofol named Robert Marchesani as an advisor to its board of directors. Marchesani has nearly 30 years of experience in the life science industry, with a particular focus on oncology. Marchesani is currently principal at Proventus Health Solutions, where he serves as a consultant to oncology companies. Prior to joining Proventus, Marchesani spent more than 25 years at Eli Lilly where he led the global branding, marketing and launch of a number of cancer treatments.

Camel-IDS – As part of a $42 million funding round (€37 million) Belgium-based Camel-IDS named some new members to its board of directors. The company tapped Christina Takke from V-Bio Ventures, Karl Naegler from Gimv, Mårten Steen from HealthCap, Morten Graugaard Døssing from Novo Seeds and Ohad Hammer from Pontifax to join the board of directors.

Schrödinger – Privately-held Schrödinger named Merck veteran Joel Lebowitz as its new chief financial officer. At Merck, Lebowitz most recently served as global finance lead, project management. In that role, he led a global finance team in the successful divestiture of the Merck Consumer Care division.

Agilvax, Inc. – New Mexico-based Agilvax, Inc. named Joseph Patti as Executive Chairman of its board of directors. Patti was co-founder and CSO of Inhibitex, Inc., which was acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb in a deal worth $2.5 billion. Most recently, Patti served as president and CEO of Aviragen Therapeutics, Inc. and was responsible for successfully merging the organization with Vaxart Inc.

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