BioSpace Movers and Shakers - Oct. 22

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Novo NordiskAstraZeneca veteran Ludovic Helfgott was tapped to helm Novo Nordisk's Biopharm business beginning April 3, 2019. Helfgott will replace Jesper Brandgaard who will retire after spending 20 years with the company. Novo’s Biopharm business includes the company’s hemophilia and human growth hormone franchises. At AstraZeneca, Helfgott was head of the company’s cardiovascular, metabolism and renal franchise, overseeing developmental and marketed products.

AbbVieWilliam J. Chase, AbbVie’s chief financial officer, will retire from the company next year. Ahead of that planned retirement, which was announced in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Chase was named executive vice president of finance and administration. Chase’s planned retirement and new title set off a wave of leadership changes at the Illinois-based company. Robert A Michael will succeed Chase in the role of CFO, the company said. Since 2017, Michael had been serving in the role of controller and prior to that, served as treasurer and controller or commercial operations. Taking over as controller for AbbVie will be Brian L. Durkin, who previously served as head of internal auditing. Previously, Durkin served as finance and division controller for Abbott’s Vision Care business from 2009 to 2016.

Camallergy – Baxter Phillips III was named chief executive officer of U.K.-based Camallergy, a company focused on developing therapies for food allergies. Phillips most recently served as president and CEO of Neurogastrx, where he successfully led the company to its transformational $45 million Series A financing. Prior to Neurogastrx, Phillips served as chief business officer of AmpliPhi Biosciences. With Phillips as CEO and a member of the board of directors, Camallergy co-founder Sherden Timmins will continue his executive appointment in the newly created role of chief operating officer, while company scientific co-founders Andrew Clark and Pamela Ewan will continue to serve in their current roles as chief scientific officer and chief medical officer.

Abeona Therapeutics -- João Siffert was named head of Research and Development and Chief Medical Officer at Abeona Therapeutics. He served as chief medical officer of Ceregene from 2007 to 2011, where he was responsible for clinical development of adeno-associated viral (AAV2)-based gene therapies for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Siffert also led the R&D and medical organizations at AVANIR Pharmaceuticals and Avera Pharmaceuticals, and also served as chief scientific and medical officer for Nestle Health Science. Last year Siffert was named to the Board of Directors AveXis, which was acquired by Novartis earlier this year. With Siffert’s appointment as CMO, former CMO Juan Ruiz will assume the role of Head of European Medical Affairs.

In addition to Siffert’s appointment, Abeona also named Neena Patil the company’s general counsel and corporate secretary. She most recently served as associate general counsel and head of legal affairs at Novo Nordisk.

f-Star – Cambridge, U.K.-based f-Star tapped Eliot Forster to succeed John Haurum as its CEO. Forster most recently served as CEO of Immunocore where he successfully steered the company’s strategy in immuno-oncology (IO), raising a $320M Series A and establishing clinical collaborations with global pharmaceutical companies including AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Roche. Prior to Immunocore, Forster held senior leadership positions at Pfizer and GSK. During the transition, Haurum will serve in a consulting role to f-Star.

Redpin TherapeuticsEli Lilly veteran David Bleakman has been named CSO of New York-based Redpin Therapeutics. At Eli Lilly, Bleakman most recently served as CSO, Neuroscience Site Leader. Founded last year, Redpin is developing novel technologies that target regulation of neuronal cell activity in the brain to address crucial unmet needs for patients with severe neurological disorders.

Zosana Pharma Corporation – Fremont, Calif.-based Zosano Pharma Corporation named Greg Kitchener as its new chief financial officer. Prior to Zosano, Kitchener served as CFO and executive vice president at BioPharmX. Kitchener joins Zosano as it moved closer to filing a New Drug Application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its lead program, M207, a treatment for migraine headaches.

Simplify Medical -- Cindy Lynch, an intellectual property attorney who previously served as a consultant to the company, has been named general counsel for Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Simplify Medical. Lynch’s appointment comes at a time when Simplify is expanding commercial efforts in Europe and nearing completion of its two-level U.S. IDE clinical trial for the implantation of its cervical artificial disc. Prior to her consulting work, Lynch served as VP of Intellectual Property at Elixir Medical and Moximed.

Verastem Oncology -- Ironwood Pharmaceuticals’ Chief Financial Officer Gina Consylman has been named to the board of directors at Verastem. Consylman, who will also serve as the chair of the Board’s Audit Committee, replaces Louise Phanstiel who is leaving to pursue other professional opportunities, Verastem announced.

In addition to Consylman’s joining the board, Verastem said Hagop Youssoufian will take over the head of the company’s oncology medical strategy team. He had been the head of hematology and oncology development. Youssoufian takes over for Diep Le, who has stepped down from his role as CMO. Kirk Taylor also joined the company as head of medical affairs strategy and operations.

Life Biosciences – Boston-based Life Biosciences appointed John Amatruda as its new president of Life Laboratories, the division that central management and resources for drug discovery and development. Also, Philip Lambert was named senior vice president of discovery and laboratories at Life Biosciences. Amatruda is also a member of Life Biosciences’ Scientific Advisory Board.

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