Movers & Shakers, Jan. 7

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With the turn of the calendar, Biopharma and life sciences organizations have bolstered their leadership teams and board with these Movers & Shakers. 

Tarsus Pharmaceuticals – Elizabeth Yeu was appointed to the board of directors of Tarsus. Yeu will continue to serve as the company’s chief medical adviser. She will join the Science and Technology Committee. In addition to serving as Tarsus’ CMA, Yeu is a partner and practicing ophthalmologist at Virginia Eye Consultants and Medical Director at Virginia Surgery Center. Yeu currently serves on the Boards of Directors of STAAR Surgical, Ocular Science, and the Virginia Eye Foundation.

NPC – The National Pharmaceutical Council tapped Sharon Phares as chief medical officer. Phares will replace Robert Dubois, who is retiring from NPC at the end of February 2022. Phares will direct NPC’s research strategy and oversee the organization’s research on policy issues. Prior to joining NPC, Phares was the Senior Vice President of Research at Pharmaceutical Strategies Group, an EPIC company. She also serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Before PSG, Phares was the vice president of Research and Education at the Pharmaceutical Benefit Management Institute. She also held senior positions in research and analytics at Laboratory Corporation of America, Walgreens Health Services and Express Scripts Incorporated.

SINTX – Bryan J. McEntire, chief scientific officer of SINTX Technologies, retired after 17 years with the company. Following retirement, McEntire will continue supporting SINTX Technologies in the role of Emeritus Scientific Officer. Before joining SINTX, McEntire held various senior positions in notable ceramics and materials companies including Applied Materials, Saint-Gobain Industrial Ceramics Corporation, Norton/TRW Ceramics, and Ceramatec. Ryan Brock is moving into the role of vice president of Research and Development (R&D) to take on the leadership of SINTX’s R&D activities.

Opthea Limited – Australia-based Opthea named Judith Robertson as the company’s first chief commercial officer. Concurrently with this appointment, Robertson has stepped down as a non-executive member of the Opthea Board of Directors. Prior to joining Opthea, Robertson was most recently CCO of Eleusis Ltd and was previously CCO of Aerie Pharmaceuticals. Before Aerie, Robertson was Global Commercial Vice President Immunology and Ophthalmology at Johnson and Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and Global Vice President Ophthalmology at Novartis. Her prior experience also includes several senior executive commercial roles at Searle and Bristol Myers Squibb including President and General Manager of Bristol Myers Squibb Canada.

Immuneering – Rimma Steinhertz was named vice president of Project and Alliance Management at Immuneering Corporation. Steinhertz joins Immuneering from Glenmark Pharmaceuticals/Ichnos Sciences, Inc., where she served as Executive Director, Global Program Leader, Portfolio & Program Management, Oncology. Previously, she was the Group Director, External Collaborations, Oncology at Merck. Prior to that, Steinhertz held positions of increasing responsibility in the oncology group at Eisai, Inc.

Indaptus Therapeutics – Boyan Litchev was named chief medical officer. Litchev assumes the role Jan. 31. Before joining Indaptus, Litchev served as senior vice president and Head of Global Clinical Development Oncology at Shoreline Biosciences. Before that, he was Head of Clinical Development Oncology, Medical Affairs and Safety at Poseida Therapeutics. Additionally, he has held similar executive medical positions at Halozyme, Akcea Therapeutics (now Ionis Pharmaceuticals), Baxalta/Baxter/Shire (now Takeda), and Ferring Pharmaceuticals.

Vivacitas Oncology – Jai Grewal has become a member of the company’s Neuro-Oncology Advisory Board. Grewal is a board-certified neuro-oncologist, serving as a principal researcher and executive board member of the American Cancer Society.

Tennessee Oncology – Stephen Schleicher was named CMO and Natalie Dickson was named president and chief strategy officer.

9 Meters Biopharma – Sara Liu was named chief commercial officer and Al Medwar was named senior vice president of Investor Relations & Corporate Communications. Liu comes to 9 Meters from Novartis Gene Therapies, where she was the Vice President and Head of Worldwide New Product Planning and Vice President, Global Marketing. Previously, she served as the Vice President of Commercial Operations and Strategic Planning at Melinta Therapeutics Inc. Prior to Melinta, Liu held marketing leadership roles at Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A. Inc. and Abbott Laboratories. Medwar most recently served as Executive Vice President of Corporate & Commercial Development at Aruna Bio, Inc. Prior to that, Medwar was Executive Vice President of Global Operations at RDD Pharma, Inc. He spent over 10 years previously at BioDelivery Sciences. Medwar began his career in sales and marketing for Glaxo Wellcome.

Apollomics – Guo-Liang Yu, co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Apollomics, was recently appointed to chairman of the board for the BayHelix Group.

Fulcrum Therapeutics – Esther Rajavelu was named chief financial officer of Fulcrum. Rajavelu was most recently a senior equities research analyst at UBS Securities. Prior to her career in sell-side equities research, she spent several years as an investment banker focused on the life sciences sector at firms including Bank of America Merrill Lynch and EY Capital Advisors.

Exelixis, Inc. – Vicki L. Goodman was named CMO and head of Product Development & Medical Affairs. She joins Exelixis from Merck, where she served as Vice President, Clinical Research and Therapeutic Area Head, Late Stage Oncology. Previous tenures in the biopharmaceutical industry include clinical development leadership positions at Bristol Myers Squibb and GlaxoSmithKline.

Gevo, Inc. – David George joins Gevo as head of Verity Tracking. Before coming to Gevo, he served as the CCO at Xpansiv, Inc., a leading enterprise ESG blockchain infrastructure company. He also served as the CCO at Gem, Inc.

Phosplatin Therapeutics – Sebastian Guth, president of Bayer Pharmaceuticals Americas, was added to the board of directors. Prior to 2010, Guth was Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the company's global pharmaceutical business, having joined as a result of Bayer's 2006 acquisition of Schering AG. In addition to serving on the Phosplatin Board of Directors, Dr. Guth also serves on the Board of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, and Children's Aid.

Apexigen, Inc. – Francis Sarena was named chief operating officer. Sarena spent 10 years in positions of increasing responsibility at Five Prime Therapeutics, Inc., most recently as chief strategy officer. Prior, to that, Sarena served as Vice President and General Counsel of Facet Biotech Corporation.

Esperion – Benjamin O. Looker was appointed general counsel of Michigan-based Esperion. Looker began his legal career as a corporate lawyer at Goodwin Procter LLP and joins Esperion most recently from Trillium Therapeutics. Prior to Trillium Therapeutics, he served as Vice President, Head of U.S. Legal and Global Business Operations for MorphoSys US Inc. Prior to MorphoSys, Looker held legal roles of increasing responsibility at EMD Serono, Inc.

Inanovate – Kamran Tahamtanzedeh joins Inanovate as chief executive officer. He previously served as CCO at Exosomics S.p.A., was founder and CEO of has PrognosDx Health Inc. Director of the Translational Diagnostics Business Development team at Ventana Medical Systems Inc.

Crinetics Pharmaceuticals – Rogério Vivaldi Coelho, president and CEO of Sigilon Therapeutics, was appointed to the Crinetics board of directors. Prior to Sigilon, Vivaldi served as executive vice president and chief global therapeutics officer at Bioverativ Inc. He also previously served as CCO at Spark Therapeutics, Inc. He held several positions of increasing responsibility over a 20-year career at Genzyme.

Travere Therapeutics – Jula Inrig was named CMO of Travere. Inrig joins Travere from IQVIA where she served as Global Head of the Renal Center of Excellence. Inrig has also served in advisory roles for national societies and their guidelines including the American Society of Nephrology, the National Kidney Foundation, and the American Heart Association.

Spark Therapeutics – CBO Joseph La Barge has resigned from Spark. He has been with the company since serving as chief legal officer in 2013. In addition to his work at Spark, La Barge has served on the National Pharmaceutical Council’s Board of Directors, the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy’s Government Affairs Committee and the Board of Directors of Life Sciences Pennsylvania.

Hemab Therapeutics – John Maraganore, former CEO of Alnylam, was named Board Chair of Hemab. Also, Linda Bain, CFO of Codiak BioSciences was appointed to the board. The company also announced the appointment of Wendy Hill as Senior Vice President of Development and Program Management.

Bluejay Diagnostics – Mark Feinberg was named chief medical advisor of Bluejay. Feinberg is a cardiovascular medicine specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is also an affiliated faculty member at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

Icosavax, Inc. – John Shiver was appointed to the Icosavax board of directors. Shiver has more than 30 years of experience in vaccine and pharmaceutical research and development, including at two of the most prominent vaccine companies in the world, Sanofi Pasteur and Merck & Co., Inc. Currently, Shiver is Chief Strategy Officer, at IGM ID, a wholly owned subsidiary of IGM Biosciences.

Garuda Therapeutics – Laurence Reid, CEO of Decibel Therapeutics, was appointed to the Garuda board of directors. Prior to joining Decibel Therapeutics, Reid served as an entrepreneur in residence at Third Rock Ventures. Before Third Rock, Reid was CEO of Warp Drive Bio. He also served as CBO and Senior Vice President of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.

Oculis SA – Webb Ding was named COO and General Manager, China beginning Feb. 1. Ding joins Oculis from Fresenius-Kabi, where he served as Country President for China. Prior to Fresenius-Kabi, Ding spent more than 10 years with Novartis in China in leadership roles of increasing responsibility. Prior to Novartis, Ding held various senior roles in sales, marketing and distribution at major pharmaceutical companies in China including Bristol Myers Squibb and Xi’an Janssen.

Anthos Therapeutics – David McIntyre was named CFO. McIntyre is an experienced healthcare executive having spent more than 20 years in various finance roles, including C-suite level roles across multinational and growth stage entities such as Tessa Therapeutics, Inc., AVITA Therapeutics, Inc., HeartWare International, Inc., and Braeburn, Inc.

Terns Pharmaceuticals – Jeffrey R. Jasper was named head of research at Terns. Prior to Terns, Jasper served as vice president, drug discovery at Rubedo Life Sciences. Before that, he served as executive director, research science at Merck Research Laboratories, with previous positions at Roche Bioscience, Theravance, Cytokinetics and Revolution Medicines. He also co-founded Altos Therapeutics. Additionally, Terns tapped Diana Chung as chief development officer. Chung was previously senior vice president, clinical development and operations at Terns.

Crossover Health – Sandra Cavanah was named CFO and Fred Melendres was appointed general counsel of Crossover. Most recently, Cavanah served as CFO at San Francisco-based Vida Health. Previously she was CFO both at online genetic counseling firm Genome Medical, Inc., and at Glooko, Inc. Earlier in her career, Cavanah co-founded genetic engineering company Open Monoclonal Technology, Inc. Melendres has been serving as outside counsel to Crossover since the early days of the company’s founding. He started his legal career and spent nearly a decade at the international law firm of Latham & Watkins LLP.

Context Therapeutics – Christopher Beck was named head of Operations and Mark Fletcher was appointed head of R&D. Beck joins Context from Galera Therapeutics, where he served as vice president of Program Management. Prior to Galera, Beck spent nearly a decade at Shire. Prior to joining Context, Fletcher was vice president of Product Development at Pharmaceutical Associates, Inc. In prior roles, he served as Head of Non-Injectable R&D for Hikma Pharmaceutical U.S. Operations, CSO at Douglas Pharmaceuticals, and VP of Technical Operations and Regulatory Affairs at PBM Pharmaceuticals. 

Notable Labs Kevin Lynch was named CBO. He led business development operations as Chief Business Officer at Recursion and as Vice President of Business Development at VIR Biotechnology. Lynch serves as an executive advisor to several biotechnology companies.

RTW Investments – In addition to taking over as chairman of Hemab Therapeutics, Maraganore aslo joined RTW Investments as executive partner. Additionally, Peter Fong was promoted to the position of partner and head of company creation. Fong leads RTW’s company creation efforts. He has served as founding CEO of JIXING, the RTW-backed biopharmaceutical company based in Shanghai, and now serves as CEO of Yarrow Biotechnology, RTW’s antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) therapeutics company. Fong joined RTW in 2019 from Flagship Pioneering’s innovation team.

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