BioSpace Movers & Shakers, Oct. 8

Executives Walking_Compressed

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

Noema Pharma AG – Switzerland-based Noema named Jeffrey Jonas chairman of its board of directors. Jonas is a neuropsychiatry expert, former chief executive officer and current chief innovation officer of Sage Therapeutics, as well as a member of Sage’s Board and chair of the Science and Technology Forum of Sage’s Board. Prior to Sage, Jonas spent five years with Shire Pharmaceuticals as president of the Regenerative Medicine Division and previously as senior vice president of Research and Development.

Annexon -- Ted Yednock was named chief innovation officer and Larry Mattheakis was named chief scientific officer of Bay Area-based Annexon. Yednock has served as Annexon’s CSO since 2013. Mattheakis was previously the senior vice president of discovery biology and translational research at Protagonist Therapeutics. Prior to Protagonist, Mattheakis was at Exelixis leading preclinical development. Before that, he held positions of increasing responsibility at Cytokinetics and the Affymax Research Institute.

CytomX Therapeutics – Alan Ashworth was appointed to the board of directors of CytomX. Ashworth is president, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center; senior vice president for cancer services, UCSF Health; a professor of medicine, division of hematology/oncology, department of medicine; and E. Dixon Heise Distinguished Professor in Oncology. Previously, he was chief executive officer of the Institute of Cancer Research and director of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Center in London.

Orasis Pharmaceuticals – Julie Speed was named head of strategy and marketing at Israel-based Orasis Pharmaceuticals. Speed’s expertise spans from commercial leadership positions at Alcon and Johnson & Johnson Vision-Surgical, progressing commercial strategy and brands, to start-up organizations at Eyevance and TearLab, building marketing strategy and teams from the ground up.

9 Meters Biopharma – Samantha Ventimiglia has been appointed to the board of directors. Ventimiglia currently serves as senior vice president, U.S. Public Affairs at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Previously, she held a similar role as a government affairs director at Astellas Pharma after a tenure as a principal consultant at Jeffrey J. Kimbell & Associates. Prior to that, Ventimiglia was a policy director at the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the National Governors Association (NGA) where she played a pivotal role in developing the associations' policy and legislative agenda on Medicare, Medicaid, private sector health care and FDA issues.

NextCure – Ellen G. Feigal and Anne Borgman were appointed to the board of directors of NextCure. Feigal is currently a Partner and Head of the Biologics Practice at NDA Partners LLC, a life sciences consulting and contract development organization. Feigal is also adjunct faculty at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University. Borgman is currently Vice President and Global Therapeutic Area Lead, Hematology-Oncology, at Jazz Pharmaceuticals. Previously, Borgman was Vice President, Clinical Research & Development, at Exelixis, where she was a Clinical Lead. Earlier she was Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Hana Biosciences.

ProQR Therapeutics NV -- Theresa Heggie was named chief commercial officer and will be responsible for overseeing the company’s commercial strategy and global commercial operations. Heggie most recently served as CEO of Freeline Therapeutics. She previously served in senior commercial and operating roles at both Alnylam Pharmaceuticals as Senior Vice President, Head of CEMEA, and at Shire.

CorMedix -- Khoso Baluch retired from his role as CEO and also resigned from the company’s board of directors. John Armstrong, EVP for Technical Operations, also retired from CorMedix. The board appointed Matt David, CorMedix’s chief financial officer, as interim CEO. The board is initiating a search process with a leading executive search firm to identify a permanent CEO. Baluch will serve the company in an advisory capacity to facilitate a smooth transition.

STRATA Skin Sciences – Christopher Lesovitz, STRATA's current controller, has been named CFO. He succeeds Matthew Hill, who is leaving the company to pursue a new opportunity. Since July 11, 2021, Lesovitz has served as the controller. Previously, he led the finance department at Encore Dermatology, Inc. Prior to that, Lesovitz held various finance roles with Iroko Pharmaceuticals, LLC.

Cellbox Solutions GmbH – Gisèle Deblandre was named CSO of Cellbox. Most recently, Deblandre was Head of Science and Technology at CATALENT Cell Therapy. Prior to that, she served as CSO at MaSTherCell. She holds a PhD in Molecular Cell Biology from the University of Brussels in Belgium.

Mogrify Limited – Louise Modis was named CSO of Mogrify. She was formerly vice president of Immunology Research at GlaxoSmithKline. Prior to GSK, Modis led research teams at Boehringer Ingelheim and Millennium Pharmaceuticals (now Takeda).

atb therapeutics – Philippe Vandeput was named chief business officer and Rakesh Dixit was appointed to the scientific advisory board of Belgium-based atb therapeutics. Vandeput joins atb from UCB, where he led global business operations for its products in several key markets. Dixit is a well-known leader in biologics drug discovery and development with a long tenure from AstraZeneca, MedImmune, Johnson & Johnson and MSD.

Finch Therapeutics – Samuel Allen Hamood was appointed to the board of directors. Hamood is currently the President and Chief Administrative and Financial Officer of Culligan International. Prior to Culligan, Hamood served as the acting CEO and president of ATI Physical Therapy.

VBL Therapeutics – Sam Backenroth was named CFO of Israel’s VBL. Backenroth succeeds Amos Ron, who is retiring but will continue to serve as corporate secretary and in an advisory capacity. Most recently, Backenroth was the CFO at NeuBase Therapeutics. Prior to his tenure at NeuBase, Backenroth was the CFO of Ohr Pharmaceutical. He is also a founder of Orphion Therapeutics.

Certara – Drayton T. Virkler was appointed to the new position of CCO at Certara. Virkler was most recently at IQVIA for a decade, where he served as vice president and Global Head of Sales for the Real World Solutions Global Business Unit. Previously, Virkler held leadership roles at Talecris Plasma Resources, now part of Grifols, and GlaxoSmithKline.

Journey Medical – Ernest De Paolantonio was named CFO. Most recently, he was CFO of Teligent, Inc., a specialty generic pharmaceutical company. Prior, he held several leadership positions throughout his career including CFO at Fortovia Therapeutics Inc., a privately held healthcare company, CFO, Secretary and Treasurer at BioDelivery Sciences International, Inc., a public specialty pharmaceutical company and CFO of CorePharma LLC, a privately held specialty generic pharmaceutical company.

MoMa Therapeutics – Hans Bitter was named head of Data Science and Nazareth Martinez Shedden as vice president of Strategic Finance. Prior to MOMA, Bitter served as senior vice president data sciences and chief data officer for Oncology at bluebird bio. Prior to bluebird bio, Bitter was the global head of oncology bioinformatics at the Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research. Previously, he was head of bioinformatics for virology and immunology and deputy global head of bioinformatics and statistics at Hoffman-LaRoche. Shedden joins MOMA from Takeda, where she was head of finance. She held roles of increasing responsibility during her 15-year career at Takeda, culminating in leadership of a high-performing finance team supporting research and development functions, global project teams, portfolio analytics, business development and strategic planning. Prior to Takeda, Shedden was a senior financial manager at Millennium Pharmaceuticals.

Renovacor – Kumar Dhanasekharan was named senior vice president of Technical Operations. Prior to joining Renovacor, Dhanasekharan served as vice president of Technical Operations at SwanBio Therapeutics. Prior to SwanBio, Dhanasekharan was Executive Director and Head of Technical Development and Tech Transfer at Amicus Therapeutics.

Sanofi – Valeria Fantin was named Global Head of Oncology Research. She joins from Gilead Sciences, where she led oncology research, with a focus on immuno-oncology as well as mechanisms of tumorigenesis and therapy resistance. Prior to her role at Gilead, she was CSO at Zai Lab, where she focused on mechanisms of therapy resistance and drove the discovery of novel clinical candidates. In her role at Sanofi, she will have oversight for both Immuno-Oncology and Molecular Oncology Research.

Recro Pharma – Tim Bourque was named vice president and head of operations for Recro San Diego. Bourque joins Recro from Ajinomoto Bio-Pharma Services, where he was most recently senior director of supply chain and facilities. During his career, Bourque has also held key supply chain and logistics positions with leading CDMO and biopharmaceutical companies including Lonza, Althea, Shire Human Genetic Therapies, and Ipsen.

Heat Biologics – Paul Tebbey was named senior vice president of Product Development and Portfolio Strategy. Tebbey is a pharmaceutical development strategy leader with over 25 years of healthcare and management experience across the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors at companies such as Abbvie, Baxter, Centocor/Johnson & Johnson and Wyeth/Pfizer.

aTyr Pharma – Robert W. Ashworth was named vice president of Regulatory Affairs at aTyr. Prior to joining aTyr, Ashworth was Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, Quality and CMC at OncoSec Medical, Inc. Prior to that, he was Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, Quality and Compliance for Advaxis, Inc.

Caris Life Sciences – Mike Weinstein was named CFO of Texas-based Caris. Prior to joining the company, Weinstein served as Senior Vice President, Strategy at Medtronic and was a member of the Executive Committee. Prior to Medtronic, Weinstein was a Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

H1 – Traunza Adams, the former chief people officer at OODA Health has taken a similar role at H1. Prior to joining H1, Traunza was the CPO at OODA Health where she led the People Ops team throughout the company’s nationwide expansion until its acquisition by Cedar. She was previously the CPO at Kountable and Ginger and held HR executive roles at AppDynamics,, UniversityNow, Inc., and, Inc.

SAGA Diagnostics – Sweden’s SAGA tapped Peter Collins as its new CEO. Collins joins SAGA after executive roles at major players in the liquid biopsy field such as Inivata as CBO and at Guardant Health as VP Biopharma Business Development, and CBO of Yourgene. Peter was also VP, Head of Diagnostics at GSK for five years.

Oncocyte Corporation – Gisela A. Paulson was appointed COO of Oncocyte. Prior to joining Oncocyte, Paulsen was most recently General Manager of Exact Science’s newly acquired Genomic Health, renamed Precision Oncology. She has also held senior roles at Roche/Genentech, where she was ultimately responsible for oversight of Global Clinical Operations for Roche Product Development. Before her time at Roche/Genentech, Paulsen was a General Manager at Health Learning Systems.

Oculis SA – Joanne Chang was named chief medical officer and head of Portfolio Management. Chang joins Oculis from Novartis where she spent the last 13 years in various senior leadership roles in China, U.S., and global functions. At Novartis, Chang led the Global Medical Affairs team where she provided strategic oversight for the ophthalmology portfolio, including retinal, gene therapy and ocular surface disease. Before that, Chang served as Head of Clinical Development & Medical Regulatory Affairs in North America at Alcon. She was also CMO and vice president of Medical Affairs in Greater China at Novartis, where she established the medical organization for which she provided strong and strategic leadership to capture growth opportunities in China. Prior to Novartis, Chang held various senior roles in health economics, strategic marketing and clinical development at key global pharmaceutical companies including Bayer, Aventis, Johnson & Johnson, and Abbott Laboratories.

Ovid Therapeutics – Alnylam CSO Kevin Fitzgerald was appointed to the Ovid board of directors. He joined Alnylam in 2005 after a seven-year tenure at Bristol Myers Squibb.

Orum Therapeutics – Olaf Christensen was named CMO of Orum. Most recently, he was vice president, Head of Oncology Global Clinical Development at EMD Serono, the healthcare business of Merck KGaA in the U.S. and Canada. Earlier in his career, he worked at Bayer Pharmaceuticals and subsequently in the immuno-oncology clinical development group at Bristol Myers Squibb.

Avid Biosciences – Matthew Kwietniak was named CCO of Avid. Kwietniak most recently served as head of drug product sales for the Americas within the pharma services group at Thermo Fisher Scientific. He spent over a decade as a senior sales executive in the clinical development services business at Covance, Inc., a division of LabCorp.

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