Movers & Shakers: Ambrx, ADC Therapeutics, ImmunoGen and More get New C-Suites

Movers and Shakers

The executive shuffle continues across the biopharma industry as companies shore up leadership needs with these Movers & Shakers.

Business and Operations Leaders

Ambrx Biopharma

Daniel O'Connor will take over the role of chief executive officer at San Diego-based Ambrx, a company focused on developing engineered precision biologics. O'Connor takes over from Kate Kermans, who has served as interim CEO.

O'Connor has more than two decades of experience in biopharma, having served as CEO of OncoSec Medical and Advaxis, Inc. He also held leadership roles at ImClone Systems, Bracco Diagnostics, and PharmaNet, Inc.

O'Connor's appointment comes hard on the heels of a corporate shakeup at Ambrx that saw the departure of its longtime chairman and CEO and the slashing of 15% of the company's staff. The company also suspended development of its lead candidate in a strategic realignment initiative.

KBI Biopharma

Abdelaziz Toumi will begin serving as chief business officer of N.C.-based KBI Biopharma and Selexis SA. Toumi will lead global business development for both companies.

Before joining KBI and Selexis, Toumi served as vice president and head of the mRNA business at Catalent. Previously, as the head of EMEA biologics sales and the head of commercial development at Lonza, he oversaw the creation of a new business development team and helped launch a new CDMO offering. Earlier in his career, he had a 12-year tenure at Merck, where he held roles of increasing responsibility that included coordination of product launches, developing strategy for manufacturing of biologics and biosimilars, and leading global strategic initiatives to digitize R&D.

Cytek Biosciences

Chris Williams will take over as chief operating officer of California-based Cytek.

Before joining Cytek, Williams served as vice president of engineering, technology, operations and innovation for Thermo Fisher's Pharma Services Group. Prior to that, he was vice president and general manager for single use technologies and vice president and general manager for bioprocess equipment and automation at Thermo Fisher Scientific. He also served as vice president of site engineering for Bayer Pharmaceuticals Division.

ImmunoGen, Inc.

Kristen Harrington-Smith will depart the company and her role as senior vice president and chief commercial officer.

Harrington-Smith is leaving for personal reasons to pursue a new opportunity closer to her home, and her departure is unrelated to ImmunoGen's business performance. 

Todd Talarico, vice president of Market Access, will serve as interim leader of the commercial organization pending a search to identify a new permanent CCO.

ADC Therapeutics SA

After departing ImmunoGen, Harrington-Smith has taken the role of chief commercial officer at Switzerland-based ADC. She assumes her new position on Nov. 17.

Before ImmunoGen, Harrington-Smith served as vice president and head of U.S. hematology at Novartis Pharmaceuticals. In a previous role at Novartis, Harrington-Smith was vice president and head, U.S. CAR-T.

Actinium Pharmaceuticals

Caroline Yarbrough was tapped as the new CCO of Actinium

She joins Actinium from Novartis where she most recently served as portfolio general manager, U.S. oncology. Prior to Novartis, she held roles at GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol Myers Squibb, ViroPharma and Merck.

Chief Financial and Legal Officers

Lineage Cell Therapeutics, Inc.

Jill Howe will take over the role of CFO at Lineage Cell Therapeutics on Nov. 14.

Most recently, Howe was CFO of DTx Pharma, and prior to that, was vice president of finance and treasurer at Gossamer Bio, Inc. She also served as controller and director of finance at Amplyx Pharmaceuticals and, before that, held the same role at Receptos, Inc.

Providence Therapeutics

Judyanna Yu was named CFO of Canada's Providence Therapeutics Holdings, Inc.

Yu previously served as VP of corporate finance, operations and development at Cerecin Inc. Before that, she held the position of CFO and COO at Re-Stem Biotech.

Cardior Pharmaceuticals

Axel-Sven Malkomes will take on the role of CFO at Germany-based Cardior.

Malkomes most recently held the position of CFO and CBO at Medigene AG. Before Medigene, Malkomes held healthcare investment banking positions at Barclays and Société Générale. Prior to this, he co-headed European healthcare investments at U.K. private equity firm 3i Group plc. Earlier, he held senior operational and corporate leadership positions at Merck KGaA, including a CEO position at a Merck KGaA group company.

Purple Biotech Ltd.

Israel-based Purple Biotech named Lior Fhima as its new CFO.

Before joining Purple, Fhima was the CFO of Negev Ecology Ltd. He also was the director of finance at Kamada Ltd. Prior to that, he served as chief accounting officer of G City, Ltd.

Codexis, Inc.

Margaret Fitzgerald was named chief legal officer and general counsel of Codexis.

Most recently, she served as general counsel, corporate secretary and chief compliance officer at Allakos, Inc. Prior to Allakos, Fitzgerald was associate general counsel and privacy officer at Aimmune Therapeutics, Inc. Previously, she served as vice president of corporate law at ZS Pharma, Inc. Earlier in her career, Fitzgerald held increasingly senior leadership roles at Genentech, Inc., ultimately serving as associate general counsel and director of transactional law.

ADC Therapeutics SA

Peter Graham was named chief legal officer at ADC Therapeutics.

Most recently, Graham was executive vice president, general counsel, chief compliance officer, human resources and secretary for Antares Pharma, Inc. Previously, he served as EVP, general counsel, chief compliance officer and global human resources at Delcath Systems, Inc. Earlier in his career, Graham held various legal and compliance executive leadership roles at ACIST Medical Systems, Inc., E-Z-EM, Inc., and AngioDynamics, Inc.

Clinical, Medical and Scientific Leaders

BrainsWay Ltd.

Colleen A. Hanlon was named vice president of medical affairs at BrainsWay.

Hanlon most recently served as a professor at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, where she led a multidisciplinary clinical research program focused on refining and optimizing TMS as a therapeutic tool for drug and alcohol use disorders.

CymaBay Therapeutics

Charles McWherter was named president of research and development. McWherter will have responsibility for CymaBay's R&D organization, including clinical, regulatory affairs and quality assurance, and non-clinical and manufacturing functions.

McWherter has served as chief scientific officer since 2013. From 2007 to 2013, he served as senior vice president, research and preclinical development. Before that, he was head of the Cardiovascular Therapeutics Research areas of Pfizer Inc.

Kalivir Immunotherapeutics

Adina Pelusio was named senior vice president of clinical operations. In this role, Pelusio will be responsible for leading KaliVir's clinical development program and clinical operations.

Pelusio joins KaliVir after serving as senior vice president of clinical operations at Turnstone Biologics. Prior to that, Pelusio spent 10 years at SillaJen, Inc.

Aristea Therapeutics

San Diego-based Aristea bolstered its clinical operations team with three appointments. Himanshu Patel was named executive medical director; Jennifer Barnes was named senior director of clinical science; and Walter Frank Eng was named associate director of clinical science.

Patel is a board certified rheumatologist who worked for more than six years at Eli Lilly, in the areas of clinical development, patient safety and pharmacovigilance, and medical affairs. Prior to Lilly, he spent 14 years in clinical practice as a managing partner for a large private practice rheumatology clinic.  

Prior to joining Aristea, Barnes was at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and before that, she was clinical sciences lead at Acceleron Pharma. Eng spent two years at Novo Nordisk in a multidisciplinary fellowship program. After that, he was at Ascendis Pharma where he worked as a senior clinical scientist.

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