Shaking Up the C-Suites: MOMA Hires New CEO, Lilly Loses R&D Chief

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MOMA Therapeutics and Eli Lilly are both experiencing significant changes in their leadership roster, with one Takeda alum taking the helm at MOMA and an R&D chief at Lilly shooting toward the exit door.

Cambridge, Mass.-based MOMA Therapeutics, a next-generation precision medicines biopharmaceutical company recently featured in BioSpace’s NextGen BioClass of 2021,” announced that former senior vice president and head of Takeda’s gastroenterology Asit Parikh, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed to president and Chief Executive Officer at MOMA.

Parikh will officially assume the position on April 5, 2021, and will succeed interim founding CEO Reid Huber, Ph.D. A partner at Third Rock Ventures, Huber will remain on the Board of Directors at MOMA when Parikh takes up his new post.

“Asit shares MOMA’s singular focus on patients and brings to our team a deep and diverse R&D, strategy and business background,” Huber said in a statement. “His experience leading successful interdisciplinary teams and building innovation-rich product portfolios will be highly synergistic with MOMA’s team of passionate drug hunters. Asit’s appointment as MOMA’s CEO marks an important milestone toward our goal of transforming the lives of patients. We are thrilled to welcome him to our team.”

Parikh was the senior vice president and head of Takeda’s gastroenterology unit, a role he took on in 2012. During his time at Takeda, the global pharmaceutical company achieved worldwide approvals for Entyvio® for the indications of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

In addition, Takeda had achieved European adult and U.S. pediatric approvals for Gattex®/Revestive® for the indication of short bowel syndrome, European approval for Alofisel® for perianal fistulizing Crohn’s disease, Japan and China approvals for Takecab®/Vocinti® for acid related disorders and a U.S. approval for Motegrity® for the indication of chronic constipation.

Before he assumed his responsibilities at Takeda, Parikh led inflammation and oncology drug development in the clinical research division at Millennium Pharmaceuticals. While he takes on this new role at MOMA, Parikh will remain a consulting gastroenterologist at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Mass.

“I joined MOMA in large part because of its unique and compelling vision – the possibility that systematically drugging molecular machines can deliver an entirely new class of medicines to patients who need them,” Parikh said in a statement. “MOMA’s approach, coupled with its world-class team and scientific founders, represented an unprecedented opportunity to join a disruptive young biotech poised to make a true difference in medicine.”

As Parikh enters into new employment, Josh Bilenker, M.D., is leaving his role as Lilly’s cancer R&D chief. Van Naarden, the chief operating officer at Bilenker’s startup Loxo Oncology, will take over the CEO role at Loxo at Lilly. One year ago, Lilly combined Lilly’s oncology team with the team at Loxo after the company raised up to $8 billion for the startup.

Nearly one year after Lilly acquired Loxo, its previous cancer research chief Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., stepped away his role, being replaced with Bilenker as an interim fill-in four months later.

Bilenker has not yet made his future destination known, but the company stated that he will be departing to center his focus on other endeavors and interests. A statement made by Lilly indicates he will fill responsibilities in a consulting role with the company.

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