BioSpace Movers & Shakers: Jeffrey Leiden, Don Hayden, Zentalis, Entera and More

Life sciences organizations and companies strengthen their leadership teams and boards with these Movers & Shakers.

Noted veteran biopharma executives and leaders, including Vertex Pharmaceuticals founder Jeffrey Leiden and BMS veteran Don Hayden, help different companies from across the globe bolster their leadership teams and boards. Here’s a look at the latest.

Zentalis Pharmaceuticals: Kimberly Blackwell will succeed Anthony Sun as CEO of Zentalis Pharmaceuticals. Blackwell previously served as chief medical officer of Tempus Labs and held clinical development leadership roles at Eli Lilly. Before Eli Lilly, she was a tenured professor of oncology at Duke University School of Medicine. Additionally, board member Dave Johnson has been tapped as chairman of the Zentalis board. Johnson was most recently chairman of the preclinical precision oncology-focused company, Lengo Therapeutics and before that, was CEO of VelosBio.

HUTCHMED: Lefei Sun was appointed non-executive director at Hong Kong-based HUTCHMED. Sun was the founding partner of Huatai Healthcare Investment Fund.

Entera Bio: Miranda Toledano, a current member of the board, was named chief business officer, chief financial officer and head of corporate strategy. Toledano most recently served as chief operating officer, CFO and director of TRIGR Therapeutics. Previously, Toledano served as head of Healthcare Investment Banking at MLV & Co., and earlier in her career, she served as vice president in the investment group of Royalty Pharma.

Turning Point Therapeutics: Steve Sabus was named chief commercial officer. Sabus spent 15 years in roles with increasing levels of sales responsibility at Astellas Pharma, most recently serving as the head of oncology. Before Astellas, he spent 16 years at Johnson & Johnson in roles of increasing responsibility in the commercial organization.

Promontory Therapeutics: Johan Baeck was named CMO of Promontory. Joseph F. O’Donnell, who previously served as CMO, will remain with Promontory Therapeutics and assume the role of senior medical director, focusing on patient eligibility, enrollment and clinical case management. Baeck joins the company from Jounce Therapeutics, where he served as senior vice president of clinical development and medical affairs. Before Jounce, he held roles of increasing responsibility at Abbott Laboratories and Novartis in key commercial, clinical development and medical affairs roles.

Beyond Cancer: Bermuda-based Beyond Cancer named Susan Howell Jones as CFO. Jones joins Beyond Cancer with over 30 years of international and operational financial leadership experience, including 20 years within the bioscience sector of BASF, where she served as senior manager of Operational Accounting. After BASF, Jones joined Summit Agro USA, LLC, a start-up and subsidiary of Sumitomo Corp., as CFO. Most recently, she served as interim CFO at dPIX, LLC.

Creyon Bio, Inc.: David Fajgenbaum will serve as a company advisor and board observer. Fajgenbaum is an assistant professor of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and associate director of Patient Impact at the Penn Orphan Disease Center.

AUM Biosciences: Scott Jordan was named head of corporate development at Maryland-based AUM. In his previous roles, Jordan served as CBO of Inomagen Therapeutics and CFO of two early-stage biotechnology companies located in Texas, Iterion Therapeutics and Salarius Pharmaceuticals.

Mereo BioPharma Group: Abdul Mullick was appointed to the board of directors. Mullick currently serves as president and CEO of Kyowa Kirin International plc, a subsidiary of Kyowa Kirin Co., Ltd. Before KKI, Mullick held senior positions at Vifor Pharma Ltd. as head of Global Strategic Marketing, Novartis as global head of the diabetes franchise and at Sanofi where he held roles at the country, regional and global levels. He spent over eight years at Genzyme, leading rare and ultra-rare disease businesses in Europe, Asia and the United States.

Virax Biolabs: Virax Biolabs Group Limited formed its initial board of directors. The Board is comprised of two seasoned professionals, including three independent directors: James Foster, co-founder and CEO of Virax serves as board chairman; co-founder and COO Cameron Shaw is director; Yair Erez, a partner of McKinsey & Co., is an independent director; Evan Norton, a managing partner at Ballast Capital LLC, is an independent director; and Margaret Gilmour, a senior finance, risk management, and audit executive serves as an independent director.

AC Immune SA: CEO Andrea Pfeifer will receive the prestigious Aenne Burda Award for Creative Leadership at the 22nd DLD Conference. The award stands for courage, creativity, optimism, and the uncompromising belief in realizing creative goals. These attributes distinguished Aenne Burda as a female entrepreneur who is a source of inspiration for women of all generations. It is the first time a leader in Biotechnology will be honored with this award.

Xilio Therapeutics: Stacey Davis was named chief business officer of Xilio. She joins Xilio from Novartis Oncology and most recently served as vice president, lung and immuno-oncology franchise, U.S. Oncology. Prior to Novartis, Davis served as senior vice president and general manager at Prominex, Inc. Previously, Davis held roles of increasing responsibility throughout a decade at Johnson & Johnson, including serving as U.S. immunology, head, commercial strategy, insights and operations at Jansen Biotech, Inc.

Oak Hill Bio: Tauhid Ali was named the first CEO of Oak Hill Bio. Ali has served as an advisor to Oak Hill Bio since inception and previously served as COO and director of JATT Acquisitions, a life sciences SPAC. He also served as executive vice president of translational & clinical science at Cambrian Biopharma, a biotech venture capital holding company. Prior to that, Ali spent five years at Takeda, where he served as Vice President of Search & Translational Science.

OptimizeRx Corp.: Mike Rousselle, vice president of data product, has been named one of the 2022 PM360 ELITE 100 in the Data Miners category.

Glympse Bio: Jonathan Wilde was named CSO. Prior to Glympse, Wilde was the vice president of Discovery Research and Collaborations at Veracyte, Inc. Wilde previously worked in biomarker discovery and subsequent diagnostic development across multiple disease areas at AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline. He has also worked as a consultant to guide the development of molecular diagnostics at pharmaceutical companies such as Owlstone Medical and Cytox Ltd.

Fairtility: AI innovator Fairtility tapped Cristina Hickman as vice president of clinical affairs. Hickman is a leading expert in clinical embryology with 20 years of experience in reproductive technology research. Hickman previously served as the head of Embryology at The Boston Place Clinic.

Morphic Therapeutic: Joanne Gibbons was named SVO of regulatory affairs. Previously, Gibbons was vice president and head of regulatory affairs at Codiak Biosciences. Before Codiak, Gibbons was senior director of regulatory affairs at Wave Life Sciences. Prior to that, she held positions of increasing responsibility in clinical development and regulatory affairs at Biogen for nearly two decades, culminating as interim head of global regulatory strategy.

Diffusion Pharmaceuticals: Raven Jaeger was named chief regulatory officer. She joins Virginia-based Diffusion from BridgeBio Pharma, where she was SVP of regulatory affairs. Before that, she was head of regulatory affairs at Leadiant Biopharmaceuticals.

PDS Biotechnology Corporation: Sanjay Zaveri was named SVP of business development. Before joining PDS Biotech, he kept the head of business development and corporate strategy at Strongbridge Biopharma. Before Strongbridge, he held biotechnology consulting positions with Guidehouse and IQVIA.

ProJenX, Inc.: Stan E. Abel was named CEO. Before joining ProJenX, Abel was CEO of SiteOne Therapeutics Inc. Before this, he was CEO of Corthera Inc. through its sale to Novartis with a focus on a new treatment for heart failure. Earlier in his career, Abel was the CFO of Cerexa Inc. from its inception through its sale to Forest Laboratories. In addition, he was CFO of Peninsula Pharmaceuticals Inc. through its sale to Johnson & Johnson. Abel began his career in finance positions with Eli Lilly and DowBrands Inc.

Theseus Pharmaceuticals: Bristol Myers Squibb veteran Don Hayden was appointed to the board of directors. Hayden spent 25 years at the pharma giant, holding roles such as president of oncology and immunology, as well as president of global pharmaceuticals. Following BMS, Mr. Hayden has served as Chair at REGENXBIO, Amicus Therapeutics, Insmed, Vitae Pharmaceuticals, and Gloucester Pharmaceuticals, among others. More recently, Mr. Hayden served as Chair and CEO of oncology cell therapy developer, WindMIL Therapeutics.

Odyssey Therapeutics: Jeffrey M. Leiden, former chairman and CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, was named chairman of the board of directors at Odyssey Therapeutics. Leiden began his career in academia as a molecular biologist and practicing cardiologist. At Vertex, he oversaw the development and commercialization of several breakthrough medicines for cystic fibrosis, a condition where no other therapies previously existed.

At the same time, Leiden also built a robust pipeline of drug candidates in specialty markets, including pain sickle cell disease and type I diabetes. Before Vertex, Leiden served as a managing director of Clarus Ventures from 2006 to 2011 and as president, COO and CSO at Abbott Laboratories.

Adhera Therapeutics: Trond K. Waerness was named chairman of the board of directors. Waerness has been serving as a director at Adhera since April 2021. He has held roles in sales, sales management, BD, M&A, operations, and marketing on both the manufacturer and vendor side while working with companies including Glaxo-Wellcome, Novartis, Cornerstone Biopharma, Jobson Healthcare, Rx Sample Solutions, and MedVantx.