Biotech Movers and Shakers Aug. 27

One way traffic signs, one reading movers and the other reading shakers

WuXi AppTec – Shanghai-based WuXi AppTec has been making some serious moves lately, including becoming a listing on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the opening of its expanded Laboratory Testing Division (LTD) facility in New Jersey.  This week WuXi AppTec named Chief Financial Officer Edward Hu as its Co-Chief Executive Officer of the company. The move will allow Hu to share business management responsibilities with Ge Li, chairman and CEO of WuXi AppTec, the company said. Those shared duties will include small molecule drug discovery, development, manufacturing services, drug and medical device testing services, among others. Hu, who previously served as chief operating officer, will continue to act as CFO until the company hires a new one. Prior to WuXi, Hu served as senior vice president and COO at Tanox. He also previously held leadership roles at Biogen and Merck.

E-Scape Bio – Bay Area-based E-Scape Bio appointed Julie Anne Smith as its new president and chief executive officer. Smith was also named a member of the board of directors. Smith takes over for former CEO Leon Chen, a venture partner with OrbiMed Advisors. Smith takes over as E-Scape nears clinical development for its lead program, which seeks to treat lysosomal storage disorders that impact the central nervous system. That program, an S1P5 receptor agonist for neuronopathic lysosomal storage disorders, is expected to enter the clinic in 2019. E-Scape acquired the candidate from AbbVie earlier this summer. Prior to E-Scape, Smith served as president and CEO of Nuredis. She also served as CEO of Raptor Pharmaceutical.

Allegro Ophthalmics – Based in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., Allegro Opthalmics made two significant changes to its leadership. The company, which is developing a treatment for diabetic macular edema, named Hampar Karageozian to the position of Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors. Additionally, the company tapped Vicken Karageozia as its new president and chief executive officer. A key impact Karageozia is expected to make almost immediately is taking the company’s diabetic macular edema treatment risuteganib (Luminate) into Phase III trials.

In his role as executive chairman, Karageozian will continue to drive Allegro’s strategic vision, focusing on new product discovery, research and development, the company said. Karageozian is the co-founder of three ophthalmic biotech companies, including ISTA Pharmaceuticals, Inc., VitreoRetinal Technologies Inc., and Allegro.

Calyxt, Inc. – Yves Ribeill was named interim CEO of Calyxt. Ribeill replaced Federico Tripodi, who is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities. Ribeill is currently a member of the Calyxt Board of Directors. Ribeill founded SCYNEXIS, Inc. and served as its CEO from 1999 to 2015. In addition to the Ribeill appointment, Jonathan Fassberg, founder of The Trout Group and currently co-CEO of Solebury Trout, was named a member of the Calyxt Board of Directors and a member of the audit committee.

Kuros Biosciences -- Pascal Longlade will assume the role of chief medical officer at Switzerland-based Kuros Biosciences effective Sept. 1. Longlade replaces Virginia Jamieson, who has continued to work for Kuros as a consultant since her retirement in May. Longlade previously served as CMO of Trophos SA. He also served as director of clinical research at NicOx SA and as director of clinical affairs EMEA at Abbott Vascular Devices.

Lumendi, LLC – Medical device maker Lumendi tapped Michael R. Thomas as its head of sales. Thomas has more than 30 years’ experience in medical and surgical sales. As vice president of sales, Thomas will be responsible for sales of the DiLumen EIP and the newly FDA-cleared DiLumen C2 platform, the company announced. Prior to Lumendi, Thomas served as head of global sales and business development at USGI Medical, a VC-funded startup.

Aerie Pharmaceuticals – North Carolina-based Aerie Pharmaceuticals named Jeffrey White as the head of toxicology and pharmacokinetics. White will have operational and scientific responsibility for Aerie’s nonclinical development function, including safety, toxicology and pharmacokinetics studies, the company said. White came to Aerie from a similar role at Alcon, a division of Novartis.

Sobi – Biogen veteran Anne Marie de Jonge Schuermans has joined Sobi as its new head of technical operations. Schuermans assumes her new role on Oct. 1. At Biogen, she served as head of global supply chain operations & strategic partnerships. She also previously held roles at Novartis and Stryker. The Sobi Technical Operations division will bring together Sobi’s Manufacturing Operations/Biological Development & Supply, Quality, Supply Chain, Procurement and Environment & Safety operations.

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