New CEOs Named in BioSpace’s Biopharma Movers and Shakers for July 23

Movers and Shakers

It’s been a busy week for biopharma companies to name a chief executive officer. Over the past week, multiple companies have selected individuals to hold the top spots and guide the growth strategies of their companies.

Presage Biosciences – Seattle-based Presage Biosciences named Richard Klinghoffer, currently its chief scientific officer, as its new chief executive officer. Klinghoffer takes over the top spot from CEO Nathan Caffo, who has served at the company for the past nine years. Caffo was Presage’s first employee and Klinghoffer was the second. Although he is leaving his role as CEO, Caffo will continue to serve as an adviser to the company.

Neurena Pharmaceuticals – Former president and CEO of Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Craig Thompson took over the top spot at Neurena Pharmaceuticals. Thompson was brought on board to advance the development of tolperisone to treat acute, painful muscle spasms. Prior to Anthera, Thompson served as chief operating officer of Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and before that as chief commercial officer for Trius Therapeutics, Inc. The company plans to initiate a Phase II dose ranging clinical study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of tolperisone in patients with acute, painful muscle spasms of the neck and back. If approved, tolperisone has the potential to be the first skeletal muscle relaxant without sedation, Thompson said in a statement.

enGene – Jason Hanson was named president and CEO of enGene, Inc. Hanson takes over from company cofounder Anthony Cheung who will assume the role of Chief Technology Officer. A veteran life sciences executive, Hanson was hired to guide the company through its transition into a clinical stage therapeutics company as it moves forward with its own proprietary programs and collaborative programs. Hanson most recently served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Ohana Biosciences. Prior to that, he served as chief strategy officer for NuVasive, Inc.

Human Longevity -- David Karow, who previously led Human Longevity Inc.’s radiogenomics operation, has climbed to the top of the corporate ladder and taken over the CEO role at the embattled company. Karow takes over the top spot from Mike Cagney, who was accused of sexual improprieties with an executive assistant. Karow will partner with Scott Sorensen, HLI's Chief Technology Officer, who will also assume the responsibilities of Interim Chief Operations Officer. Sorensen will replace Saturnino “Nino” Fanlo, who left the company after being implicated in a scandal at his previous employer, Social Finance. Karow and Sorensen will oversee HLI's business strategy incorporating genomic analytics, machine learning and advanced clinical imaging poised to yield tremendous impact to benefit HLI's customers and the broader scientific field, the company said.

Aeglea Biotherapeutics – For the past year Anthony G. Quinn has served as interim chief executive officer of Austin, Texas-based Aeglea Biotherapeutics. This week the company made the position permanent. Over the past 12 months the company has “made great progress” under his leadership, particularly with lead pegzilarginase program, Chairman Amen Shanafelt said in a statement. Prior to joining Aeglea, Quinn served as head of research and development, and chief medical officer at Synageva Biopharma Corp. until that company’s acquisition by Alexion Pharmaceuticals in 2015. He also served as head of clinical research and exploratory development for inflammatory diseases at Roche.

O’Melveny -- Veteran life sciences transactions lawyer Geoffrey Kuziemko joined O’Melveny as a partner in the M&A practices officer. Kuziemko will be based in O’Melveny’s San Francisco office and spend significant time working out of the firm’s Silicon Valley office. Kuziemko joins O’Melveny from an AmLaw 10 law firm where he was a member of its technology transactions and life sciences licensing practices. He previously served as head of legal services at Exelixis, Inc., a biotech company.

Avid Biosciences – Tustin, Calif.-based Avid Biosciences named Daniel Hart as its new chief financial officer. Hart will be responsible for overseeing and managing all of Avid’s accounting and finance responsibilities. Hart most recently served as CFO of ENO Holdings, Inc., a family of companies focused on the residential real estate market. He also held a role as corporate controller for medtech company Biolase Technology.

In addition to Hart, Avid also named Michael Faughnan as the company’s senior director of business development for the western region. Faughnan was most recently was senior director of business development at WuXi Biologics, where he oversaw the west coast sales team.

Owlstone Medical – U.K.-based Owlstone expended its Scientific Advisory Board by five as it pushes toward its goal of saving 100,000 lives, as well as saving healthcare providers $1.5 billion. The company tapped Patrick Bossuyt, a professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Amsterdam; Christian Frezza, an MRC Program Leader at the MRC Cancer Unit, University of Cambridge; Chris A Mayhew, director of the Institute for Breath Research at the University of Innsbruck; Anil Modak
Former associate director of Medical Products Research & Development at Cambridge Isotope Laboratories; and Alan Boobis, professor of Toxicology at Imperial College London.

Trevi Therapeutic– New Haven, Conn.-based Trevi Therapeutics tapped Yann Mazabraud as its chief commercial officer. Mazabraud will be responsible for overseeing Trevi’s commercial strategy and international operations. Mazabraud joins Trevi from an extensive career at Sanofi Genzyme where he most recently served as U.S. General Manager and North America Head of that company’s rare diseases unit. 

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