BioSpace Movers & Shakers, May 7

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

Century Therapeutics – Joe Jimenez, the former chief executive officer of Novartis, has been named chairman of the board of directors for Philadelphia-based Century Therapeutics. Jimenez is the current co-founder and Managing Partner of biotech venture firm Aditum Bio. Jimenez joined Century’s Board of Directors in 2020. Jimenez is also a member of the board of directors of General Motors Company, The Procter & Gamble Company, and Graphite Bio. In addition to Jimenez taking the reins of the board, Cynthia Butitta was named a new independent director. Butitta is a veteran biotech executive, who most recently served as chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Kite Pharma. Prior to Kite, Butitta was CFO of NextWave Pharmaceuticals until its acquisition by Pfizer in 2012. She has also held executive leadership roles at Telik, Inc., Connetics Corporation, and InSite Vision Inc.

Surrozen, Inc. – Former Pfizer Chief Medical Officer Mace Rothenberg and SR One Venture partner Christopher Chai were appointed to the board of directors of Bay Area-based Surrozen Inc. Rothenberg departed Pfizer in January. While there, he led the company’s Worldwide Medical & Safety organization, as well as oversaw the company’s clinical research. Prior to becoming Pfizer’s CMO, Rothenberg led the company’s oncology clinical drug development efforts. As a venture partner at SR One, Chai guides portfolio companies on their engagement with investors and overall financing strategy and execution. Prior to SR One, Chai served as CFO of Principia Biopharma. Before that, he was CFO at MAP Pharmaceuticals.

OcuTerra Therapeutics – Boston-based OcuTerra appointed former Allergan CEO Brent Saunders as chairman of the board of directors. Robert Ruffolo and Robin Steele were also appointed to the board. Saunders currently served as CEO of Vesper Healthcare Acquisition Corp. Ruffolo is the president of Ruffolo Consulting LLC, a pharmaceutical consulting company that he established in 2008. Previously, Ruffolo served as the president of Research & Development and of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Pfizer in 2009. Prior to joining Wyeth, Ruffolo was a Senior Vice President in Research & Development at SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals (now GlaxoSmithKline) for 17 years. Steele previously served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of InterMune, Inc. Prior to InterMune, Steele served as Vice President of Legal Affairs for North America for Elan Pharmaceuticals.

OneOncology – Natalie Dickson, president and CMO for Tennessee Oncology and Curtis Warfield, president and CEO of Windham advisors, were appointed to the board of directors of Tennessee-based OneOncology.

MoMa Therapeutics – Peter Hammerman was named chief scientific officer of Cambridge, Mass.-based MOMA. Hammerman joins MOMA from Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research, where he was global head of oncology translational research. Before Novartis, Hammerman spent more than eight years as a physician scientist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Synthekine -- Naiyer Rizvi was named CMO of California-based Synthekine. He will lead Synthekine’s efforts in advancing its maturing pipeline through clinical investigation. Rizvi most recently served as the Price Family Professor of Medicine, Director of Thoracic Oncology and Co-Director of Cancer Immunotherapy at Columbia University Medical Center.

Excision BioTherapeutics -- Christine Silverstein was named CFO of Excision. Most recently, Silverstein served as CFO of Emendo Biotherapeutics, which was acquired in December 2020 by AnGes, Inc. Silverstein previously operated in various senior executive corporate finance roles within Abeona Therapeutics, including CFO and Principal Financial Officer. Prior to joining Abeona, she drove internal capital markets strategy within various public companies, including Relmada Therapeutics, Inc. Silverstein also held senior executive roles within a New York-based biotechnology venture fund, SCO Capital Partners.

Escient Pharmaceuticals – Svetlana Makhni was named CFO and will oversee the company’s finance, accounting, legal, human resources, and administrative operations. Makhni joins Escient from Bierman ABA where she served as CFO and Head of Operations. Prior to joining Bierman, she was a Director at BMO Capital Markets. Additionally, she has held positions at Goldman Sachs, Westbrook Partners, and The Blackstone Group.

IDbyDNA --- Neil Gunn was appointed CEO of IDbyDNA. Gunn joins IDbyDNA after 12 years at Roche Diagnostics, where he led the launches of well over one hundred other products. He is also responsible for building Roche’s sequencing business, demonstrating above market performance and growing the team by more than 500 percent. Previously, Gunn spent eight years at Chiron Blood Testing.

Theseus Pharmaceuticals – Tim Clackson was named CEO of Theseus. He succeeds interim CEO Iain Dukes, company co-founder and OrbiMed Venture Partner. Clackson most recently served as president and Chief Technology Officer at Xilio Therapeutics, where he led the development of the company’s technology and product strategy. Before that, Clackson was with ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, where he was President of Research & Development and CSO.

Faze Medicines – Douglas Kerr was appointed to the board of directors of Faze Medicines. Kerr currently serves as CMO at Generation Bio and has previously held leadership roles at Shire and Biogen, where he served as director of the ALS Innovation Initiative and led the development of the first FDA-approved medicine for spinal muscular atrophy. Before joining Shire, Kerr held a variety of leadership roles at Biogen, including senior director of corporate strategy and portfolio management. Kerr is currently a board member of Triplet Therapeutics and the Transverse Myelitis Association.

VistaGen Therapeutics – Ann Cunningham was named chief commercial officer of VistaGen. She has been serving on VistaGen’s Board of Directors since January 2019 and will remain a member of the board. Most recently, Cunningham served as Managing Partner of i3 Strategy Partners. In the pharmaceutical industry, she has held numerous leadership roles for companies, including Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, and Eli Lilly.

Jaguar Gene Therapy – Joseph W. McIntosh was named CMO of Jaguar Gene Therapy. McIntosh joins Jaguar from Aruvant Sciences, where he was CMO, overseeing clinical development, regulatory, pharmacovigilance and medical affairs and leading the development of the company’s investigational gene therapy for sickle cell disease. Prior to that, he served as Head of Clinical Development, at PTC Therapeutics. Before PTC Therapeutics, he served as Executive Director, Program Lead, Clinical Development, at NPS Pharmaceuticals. Earlier in his career, he held positions of increasing leadership at Eisai and Pfizer.

Azitra, Inc. -- Francisco Salva was named president and CEO. Salva most recently served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Complexa. Prior to Complexa, Salva was a founder and Vice President of Operations at Acerta Pharma, prior to being acquired by AstraZeneca. Before Acerta Pharma, Salva served as Senior Director of Corporate Development at Pharmacyclics.

Entrada Therapeutics – Mary Thistle was appointed to the board of directors of Entrada. Thistle currently serves as Special Advisor at the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute. She has more than 25 years of experience in finance, strategy and business development across a range of therapeutic areas, including a deep background in rare diseases. Thistle serves on the Board of Directors of Homology Medicines, Enterome SA and Ziopharm Oncology. Prior to joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute, Thistle was Chief Operating Officer of Dimension Therapeutics.

H.E.L. Group -- Oh Chee Keat was appointed Regional Sales Director for Asia-Pacific at London-based H.E.L. Group. Keat will oversee the expansion of the company’s commercial presence, focusing on building a network of dealers and agents across the Asia-Pacific region, with initial emphasis on key markets in Japan and South Korea. Previous roles have included at a leading sales role at Quantachrome Instruments. During his time at ITS Science & Medical, Keat held Product and Commercial roles and earned several sales and managerial accolades.

Verge Genomics – Robert Scannevin was named chief scientific officer of Bay Area-based Verge Genomics. Scannevin will lead all aspects of R&D and serve as a scientific liaison for the company to investors, partners and the medical community. Before joining Verge, Scannevin was the Head of Research at Yumanity Therapeutics. Prior to Yumanity, Scannevin was a Senior Director at Biogen, Inc. and has also led research teams at Johnson and Johnson and Wyeth.

LIPAC Oncology – Josh Hamermesh, chief business officer of Gamida Cell Ltd., was tapped as an independent board director for LIPAC Oncology. Prior to Gamida Cell, he was Senior Vice President at Locust Walk Partners, Inc. Before that, Hamermesh served as Vice President, Business and Corporate Development at Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development at Pervasis Therapeutics, Inc. and has also held positions at Molecular Insight Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Genzyme.

Quantum-Si – Quantum-Si appointed Marijn Dekkers, founder and chairman of Novalis LifeSciences and former CEO of Bayer, and Ruth Fattori, managing partner of Pecksland Partners to its board of directors.

Dermavant Sciences -- Michael Swartzburg was named CFO of Dermavant. Swartzburg most recently served as Vice President of Finance and in Principal Financial and Accounting Officer roles at Iovance Biotherapeutics. Before Iovance, Swartzburg provided CFO and board advisory services at various life sciences companies and served as Vice President of Finance, Controller and Principal Accounting Officer at Adverum Biotechnologies.

WindMIL Therapeutics -- Co-Founder Kimberly Noonan was appointed Executive Vice President, Chief Science & Technology Officer. In this role, Noonan’s leadership will expand to include WindMIL’s efforts in manufacturing and manufacturing science and technology.