CEOs, Directors and Other Senior Executives Tapped by Biotech
Pharma and biotech companies across the globe continued to expand and reshape their leadership teams with new hires this past week. BioSpace collected several announced leadership appointments, which includes new chief executive officers, new members to boards of directors and more.
Precera Bioscience, Inc. – Formerly known as Sano, Franklin, Tenn.-based Precera hired Pamela Weir as President and Chief Executive Officer. Over her 30 years in the industry, Weir has amassed considerable experience across functions of Commercial, Research & Development, Operations, Business Development and General Management. In the United States she has helped launch multiple brands and franchises throughout her years with companies like Sanofi, Bayer, Alpharma and ContraMed.
In addition to Weir, Precera also tapped J. Scott Daniels to helm is R&D programming as the company’s Chief Scientific Officer. Prior to Precera, Daniels was a faculty member and Director of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics in the Department of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University Medical School. He has held positions at DuPont, Millennium and Pfizer.
Precera also named Betty Hawkins as its head of Business Development & Operations. Hawkins was the head of Strategic Initiatives with Diatherix and prior to that, held senior commercial positions with AstraZeneca in the Payer Market, Oncology and Primary Care divisions.
Abeona Therapeutics – With a focus on treating rare diseases through cell and gene therapies, Abeona Therapeutics expanded its board of directors to include Stefano Buono and Richard Van Duyne as independent directors. Buono is an Italian physicist and former chief executive officer of Advanced Accelerator Applications , a radiopharmaceutical company. Van Duyne held executive-level business development positions with Warner-Lambert, Med-Pointe, and Pharmacia before joining Daiichi Sankyo in 2003 as Global Head of Business Development. He continues to work with Daiichi Sankyo as a consultant.
Cytel Inc. -- Francis Kendall was tapped as senior director of Biostatistics and Programming working within the company’s Functional Services Outsourcing group. Kendall joined Cytel from Roche, where he held several positions across the clinical biometrics division. He most recently served as Digital Strategy Leader, where he was responsible for responsible for identifying technologies and processes, including information flow, analytics and machine learning.
Horoma – Gene therapy company Horoma tapped Russel Greig as its new chairman of the board of directors. Greig worked at GlaxoSmithKline for three decades, most recently as president of SR One, GlaxoSmithKline's corporate venture group. Prior to SR One, Greig served as president of GlaxoSmithKline's Pharmaceuticals International from 2003 to 2008. In addition to serving as chairman of France-based Horoma, Greig also serves as chairman of Belgium-based Ablynx.
Immunexpress Inc. –Seattle-based Immunexpress, Inc. appointed three new members to its board of directors. The company added Rolland Carlson, the company’s new chief executive officer, Tanja Dowe and Katleen Verleysen to the board. Bea Arnold has stepped down from the board after a three-year tenure. Carlson has held leadership roles in diagnostics companies, including WaferGen Biosystems, and Asuragen, Inc., where he served as president and CEO.
Trevi Therapeutics – New Haven, Conn.-based Trevi Therapeutics named Christopher J. Seiter as its chief financial officer. Seiter joins the management team as the company is developing Nalbuphine ER for chronic pruritic conditions. He will be responsible for the finance, treasury and accounting functions at the company. Seiter most recently served as CFO of Millendo Therapeutics from October 2016 to April 2018.
Novartis – Pharma giant Novartis named Robert Weltevreden, who previously served as head of Business Services for Syngenta, as Head of Novartis Business Services. Weltevreden will join the company on June 1. At Syngenta, Weltevreden oversaw a business services organization like the Novartis NBS, which includes finance operations, human resources operations, information technology, real estate and facility and fleet management, as well as business process, data and project management.
Seattle Genetics – Bothell, Wash.-based Seattle Genetics named Roger D. Dansey as the company’s new Chief Medical Officer. Dansey most recently served at pharma giant Merck, where he was Therapeutic Area Head for Late Stage Oncology. In that role he was responsible for the ongoing registration efforts for Merck’s powerhouse checkpoint inhibitor, Keytruda. Prior to Merck Dansey was head of Oncology Clinical Research at Gilead Sciences.
Unity Biotechnology – San Francisco-based Unity Biotechnology named Camille Landis as senior vice president of corporate development. Landis most recently served as chief business officer at Eidos Therapeutics, where she oversaw the company's corporate development and financing activities. Prior to Eidos, she was vice president of corporate development at Relypsa, where she led the sale process of Relypsa to Galencia for $1.5 billion.
Clinical Innovations – After serving in an interim capacity for several months, medical device maker Clinical Innovations has named Michael Behling as its new chief financial officer. Behling will be responsible for continuing to optimize all aspects of the Salt Lake City company’s financial function. Before Clinical Innovations, Behling held multiple financial leadership roles at companies like Lasko Products, Light Wave Dental and Imaging Advantage.
Sensei Biotherapeutics – Privately-held Sensei Biotherapeutics tapped John Celebi as its new president and CEO to lead the next phase of growth at the Gaithersburg, Md.-based immuno-oncology company. Celebi’s appointment comes at a time when the company is evolving its strategy based on clinical data from the Phase I trial of its lead drug candidate SNS-301, as well as the proprietary SPIRIT drug development platform that is generating a pipeline of immuno-oncology therapies. Prior to Sensei Celebi served as the Chief Operating Officer of X4 Pharmaceuticals where he established and oversaw the company’s oncology business strategy.
Rocket Pharmaceuticals -- Gene therapy company Rocket Pharmaceuticals named Gayatri R. Rao as its head of Regulatory Policy and Patient Advocacy. Rao is expected to provide critical direction to global regulatory policies and strategies for Rocket programs as the company attempts to bring multiple therapies to the market. Rao’s duties will include oversight of regulatory strategy, patient advocacy initiatives, and rare disease natural history studies supporting Rocket’s programs. Rao previously was an Associate Chief Counsel in FDA’s Office of Chief Counsel.
Alnylam – Cambridge, Mass.-based Alnylam appointed Colleen Reitan to Alnylam’s Board of Directors, effective June 1. Reitan was the prior President of Plan Operations of Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), the largest customer-owned health insurer in the United States. Prior to her role as President of Operations at HCSC, she served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer.
MassBio -- Gary S. Gillheeney, president and CEO of Organogenesis Inc. was named to the board of directors for Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) for the 2018-2019 term. The MassBio Board of Directors comprises a select group of life sciences leaders committed to guiding the organization in its mission to grow Massachusetts' life sciences industry.
Roivant Sciences – Vivek Ramaswamy’s Roivant Sciences expanded its leadership team with the appointment of Salomon Azoulay as Chief Medical Officer and Adele Gulfo as Chief of Commercial Development. Azoulay joins Roivant from Pfizer, where he most recently served as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Pfizer Essential Health. He also served as head of the cardiovascular division and head of the development operations group at Pierre Fabre Labs in Paris, France. Gulfo previously served as president and General Manager of Pfizer's $12 billion U.S. primary care business unit, as well as Pfizer's commercial operations. Prior to Pfizer, Gulfo spent 9 years at AstraZeneca where she held senior leadership roles in Business Development, Strategy and Healthcare Innovation, and ran the company's cardiovascular business.
Indiana Biosciences Research Institute – Mark Craft was named executive director of engagement, communications and external affairs, at the nonprofit organization Indiana Biosciences Research Institute, which serves as a catalyst to advancing that state's life sciences strengths. Craft will take on the role of crafting the IBRI’s strategic and external communications. Prior to his role at IBRI, Craft served as assistant vice president for Marketing and Media for Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. His background in academia will serve him well as the IBRI seeks greater collaborations between government, business and academia to support life sciences.