Biotech Movers and Shakers for Aug. 6
Cellectis – France-based Cellectis named Novartis veteran Stefan Scherer as its new head of clinical development and deputy medical officer. Prior to his role at Cellectis, Scherer served as head of early development of strategy and innovation in U.S. oncology for Novartis. Scherer is expected to play a key role in moving Cellectis’ off-the-shelf gene-edited CAR-T cell product candidates toward commercialization. Prior to his time at Novartis, Scherer served as chief medical officer of Biocartis SA in Switzerland. He also held key roles at Genentech.
Oncorus, Inc. – Ted Ashburn has taken over the helm of Cambridge, Mass.-based Oncorus, Inc. Ashburn joined the company as president and chief executive officer directly from Moderna Therapeutics, where he served as head of oncology development. As CEO of Oncorus, Ashburn will guide the company’s development programs and strategic initiatives in the field of therapeutic oncolytic viruses. In addition to his role at Moderna, Ashburn previously held key leadership roles in such companies as Sanofi Oncology, Genzyme and Pfizer. As Ashburn takes over as CEO, Oncorus cofounder Mitchell H. Finer will assume the role of executive chairman of the board.
IGM Biosciences – Roche veteran Daniel Chen was named the first chief medical officer of Mountain View, Calif.-based IGM Biosciences, Inc. Chen will be responsible for global clinical development of IGM's emerging pipeline of proprietary IgM antibodies. Chen most recently served as global head of cancer and immunotherapy development for Genentech. In addition to Chen, William Strohl, who previously served as head of Janssen BioTherapeutics and R&D, has been named to the company’s board of directors.
Cerenis Therapeutics – Toulouse, France-based Cerenis Therapeutics named Barbara Yanni to its board of directors as an independent member. Yanni currently serves as an independent director on three boards, Trevena Inc., Vaccinex Inc. and Symic Bio. Yanni retired from her role of chief licensing officer of Merck & Co. in 2014.
Sublimity Therapeutics – Jesse W. Hall was named chief medical officer at Ireland-based Sublimity Therapeutics. Hall will assume command of the company’s global drug development program, most particularly its lead ulcerative colitis program, STI-0529. Hall began his career working on the development of Humira at Abbott Laboratories in the immunology franchise area. Following Abbott, Hall joined Amgen as a medical director assigned to launch its monoclonal antibody Prolia, for treatment of osteoporosis. After Amgen, Hall joined San Diego-based Ardea Biosciences as an executive medical director leading early development and Phase II programs.
CARMAT – LivaNova veteran Thierry Dupoux was named senior director of quality assurance at Carmat. At LivaNova he held several senior positions in quality assurance, regulatory affairs and R&D. He was vice president of quality assurance at LivaNova where he led the integration of the Quality Systems following the merger between Sorin Group and Cyberonics.
Navitor Pharmaceuticals – Former Zagfen CEO Thomas Hughes has taken over the reins of Cambridge, Mass.-based Navitor Pharmaceuticals. Hughes will help guide the company through early-stage trials for NV-5138, a therapy for treatment-resistant depression. In addition to his role as CEO at Zagfen, Hughes also served in the roles of president and chief scientific officer. Prior to Zafgen, Hughes held several positions at Novartis including global head of the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Therapeutic Area at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research in Cambridge. George P. Vlasuk, the current president and CEO of Navitor, will remain president of the company and assume the newly-created role of chief scientific officer.
Cell Medica – Kite Pharma veteran Chris Nowers takes over as CEO for Cell Medica as the company begins to develop its own CAR-T and T-Cell Receptor Programs. Nowers, who was most recently head of European operations for Kite, now a Gilead Sciences subsidiary, takes over for Cell Medica founder Gregg Sando, who resigned from his role as CEO and director of the company.
Abeona Therapeutics – Max Colao has been named chief commercial officer of Abeona Therapeutics. He most recently served as head of U.S. commercial operations for Alexion Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Alexion, Colao spent 18 years at Amgen, where he held roles of increasing responsibility in global sales and marketing. In addition to Colao’s new role, Abeona said Jeffrey B. Davis will be stepping down from his role as chief operating officer at the end of the quarter.