BioSpace Movers & Shakers: Pfizer, Black Diamond, Rezolute, Transition Bio and More

Biopharma and life sciences companies strengthen their leadership teams and boards with these Movers & Shakers.

This week, multiple Movers & Shakers took on new roles as chief medical officers of companies across the biopharma industry. There were also other senior leadership members appointed, as well as new board members.

Pfizer: The COVID-19 vaccine leader has appointed a new chief for its vaccines R&D organization. On August 1, Annaliesa Anderson, Ph.D., will succeed Kathrin Jansen, who recently announced her retirement from Pfizer, the company revealed this week.

Anderson boasts more than two decades of R&D experience in the biopharma industry, most recently serving as vice president and chief scientific officer for bacterial research and hospital within the R&D organization.

“Annaliesa is a world-class scientist with a track record of delivering both vaccines and therapeutics in pioneering new areas of science and where there is urgent unmet need,” Mikael Dolsten, M.D., Ph.D., Pfizer’s chief scientific officer and president, worldwide research, development and medical said in a statement. “I am confident she will work with passion, ingenuity and dedication to lead Pfizer’s Vaccine R&D organization and continue to advance our strong pipeline.”

Black Diamond Therapeutics: Sergey Yurasov was named chief medical officer, and Karsten Witt will transition from his current role as the company’s interim CMO to a clinical advisory role. Yurasov joins Black Diamond Therapeutics from Nuvation Bio, where he served as CMO. Prior to Nuvation Bio, Yurasov was the CMO and head of clinical development at Immune Design Corp. He was previously SVP of clinical development at Clovis Oncology. Earlier in Yurasov’s career, he was a senior physician at ImClone Systems, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly.

Rezolute, Inc.: Brian Roberts, previously SVP and head of clinical development, has been promoted to CMO of Rezolute. Roberts joined Rezolute in 2017 as head of clinical development and a member of the founding management team. Before joining Rezolute, Roberts held clinical development positions of increasing responsibility at Cymabay, Inc., followed by Fibrogen, Inc.

Celonic Group: Samanta Cimitan was named chief business officer of Celonic Group, a Swiss-German contract development and manufacturing organization.

ChemoCentryx: There was a change to the board of directors at California-based ChemoCentryx. David E. Wheadon has been elected to the board as an independent director, and Henry A. McKinnell, Jr., Ph.D., will retire from the board. Wheadon retired from AstraZeneca in 2019 as SVP of Global Regulatory Affairs, Patient Safety and Quality Assurance, a position he had held since 2014. Before joining AstraZeneca, Wheadon held various leadership roles in the healthcare sector, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Abbott Laboratories, and SVP of U.S. Regulatory Affairs at GlaxoSmithKline. Wheadon has also served as SVP of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at PhRMA, the industry’s lobbying group.

Virax Biolabs Group: London-based Virax appointed a new advisory board for the company. The Virax Advisory Board members include Pierre Frouin, founder and chief executive officer of BioSerenity, Inc. Previously, Frouin served in various roles at Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Biogaran and Laboratoires Servier; Karen Bertoli, contract chief marketing officer of multiple organizations. Bertoli serves in advisory and leadership roles with Aktivolabs Pte. Ltd., Confidential Talent Services, Voyager Digital Ltd., and Gold Leaf Capital Ltd.; Marc Frouin, chief operating officer of BioSerenity and also a venture partner of Ouest ventures, a venture capital and private equity company; Asaf Gol, co-founder and CEO of Prickly Bear Limited. Previously, Gol served in leadership roles at Sight Diagnostics, The Very Group Limited, and Applied Materials, Inc.; Ian N. Hampson, a former professor of viral oncology at the University of Manchester. He serves as a scientific consultant on the virology of HPV-related dysplasia; Bruce Lavin, who serves as the head of clinical services and product deployment strategies for remote clinical diagnostic technology and the Chief Medical Officer of BioSerenity; Nikolas Perrault, a special advisor to Global Hemp Group Inc.; Lawrence Rhee, founder of Rheethink, Inc.; Peter Tijssen, a professor in molecular and structural virology at INRS, the graduate school of the University of Quebec; Laith Yakob, an advisory board member for World Health Organization Global Arbovirus Initiative; and Greg Aldridge, who runs the investment and strategic consultancy company BGGF Limited.

Aadi Bioscience, Inc.: Marcy Graham was appointed to the new position of SVP of investor relations and corporate communications. She joins Aadi after most recently serving as the vice president of corporate affairs at Poseida Therapeutics and previously as VP of corporate communications at Mirati Therapeutics. Graham has also led investor relations and corporate communications for Ambit Biosciences, as well as Sequenom and Genoptix.

Theratechnologies: Elif McDonald was named senior director of investor relations. McDonald’s brings over 20 years of experience in capital markets, investor relations, financial communications, and corporate governance.

STipe Therapeutics: Richard Sainson was named chief scientific officer, effective June 6. Sainson joins STipe from F-star Therapeutics, where he served as VP in translational development and managed the preclinical and clinical translational science and biomarker efforts of the company’s late stage assets. Before that he served in a number of roles at Kymab Ltd. Sainson also held positions with increasing responsibility at Astex Pharmaceuticals and Medimmune/AstraZeneca.

DTx Pharma, Inc.: Michael Huang was named CMO of DTx Pharma. Prior to DTx Pharma, Huang held key leadership roles at AmMax Bio and Spruce Biosciences.

Antev Ltd.: Steven van Os was named CMO of London-based Antev. He has held senior leadership roles in many large pharmaceutical companies, including Astellas Pharma, Schering Plough, Organon International and Yamanouchi Europe. He is a member of the Netherlands Association of Pharmaceutical Physicians and the Dutch Board for Pharmaceutical Medicine.

Sensei Biotherapeutics: Patrick Gallagher was named chief business officer of Sensei. Gallagher joins Sensei from Binney Street Partners, where he served as managing director. Prior to this, he held multiple roles of increasing responsibility across investment banking, buy-side transactions, sell-side transactions, and venture creation, and he has both strategy and operational experience contributing to value creation from novel science.

Terns Pharmaceuticals: Kerry Russell was named CMO of Terns. Prior to joining Terns, Russell was vice president of late clinical development at Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Before that, she served as vice president of clinical development at resTORbio, Inc. She previously served as senior director of translational cardiovascular and metabolic medicine at Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research and was an NIH-funded associate professor at Yale University School of Medicine for more than 13 years.

OncoNano Medicine: Kartik Krishnan was named CMO and will be responsible for formulating and leading all clinical development efforts and operations at OncoNano. Krishnan previously served as CMO at Arcus Biosciences. Prior to Arcus, he served as executive medical director at Astex Pharmaceuticals. Krishnan has also held positions in clinical drug development at Genentech, FivePrime Therapeutics, BioMarin and Amgen.

Transition Bio: Shilpi Arora has joined Transition Bio as senior vice president of discovery research. Prior to joining Transition Bio, Arora was vice president of discovery and translational biology at Exo Therapeutics and previously held roles at X-Chem Pharmaceuticals, Constellation Pharmaceuticals and the Translational Genomics Research Institute.

Renibus Therapeutics: Jamie Donadio was named chief financial officer, and Bhupinder Singh was named CMO. Donadio most recently served as CFO at BioTheryX, Inc. and also as CFO at Mirati Therapeutics. Before that, he was senior director of finance at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. Singh was a founder of the Southwest Kidney Institute, where he served as a member of the executive board and led various clinical and research programs.

Gradalis: Texas-based Gradalis named Steven Engle as chief executive officer. He succeeds founder David Shanahan, who will continue as chairman of the board. Before joining Gradalis, Engle served as CEO of CohBar. He also served as CEO and chairman of the board of XOMA. Prior to XOMA, Engle served as CEO of La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company. Engle currently serves on the boards of Prescient Therapeutics Ltd., AROA Biosurgery Ltd, and Author-it Software Corporation.

Qiming Venture Partners: Isaac Ciechanover was named partner at the venture firm. Ciechanover joins Qiming from Polaris Venture Partners, where he served as a partner. Previously, he was president and CEO of Atara Biotherapeutics.

Zealand Pharma A/S: David M. Kendall was named CMO. Kendall most recently served as a senior global medical advisor at Zealand. Before joining Zealand Pharma, Kendall held a number of senior leadership positions in clinical and academic medicine and in the biopharmaceutical industry. He has served as CMO for MannKind Corporation, VP of Medical Affairs and Distinguished Medical Fellow at Eli Lilly, and as chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association.

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