Chutes and Ladders—Achillion appoints Joseph Truitt CEO

(Public Domain Pictures)

Chutes and Ladders

Welcome to this week's Chutes and Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry. Please send the good word—or the bad—from your shop to Conor Hale (email), and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Achillion appoints Joseph Truitt CEO after Milind Deshpande steps down

Achillion Pharmaceuticals
COO Joseph Truitt was promoted to CEO.

Truitt has overseen Achillion’s business development and commercial strategy for almost a decade, while former CEO Milind Deshpande is stepping down after 17 years at the company, and five years as chief. In that time, Achillion has looked to reposition itself as a specialist in complement biology and rare diseases such as the renal condition C3 glomerulopathy, where the company expects interim phase 2 data later this year. FierceBiotech

BD&L Summit

Deal-Making Insights for the Life Sciences Industry

Bringing together key deal-makers and serving as an open forum for cross-functional business development and legal teams to share valuable insights and actionable strategies on successfully managing alliances, licensing agreements, and M&A deals.


Lilly hires Leena Gandhi as new I-O team takes shape

Eli Lilly

Eli Lilly & Co.
Leena Gandhi was tapped to lead the company’s immuno-oncology portfolio.

Previously director of thoracic medical oncology at NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center, Gandhi has played leading roles in phase 1 to 3 clinical trials, including Merck’s study of a Keytruda-based combination in NSCLC. She will lead a team overseeing the company’s immuno-oncology prospects and evaluating drug response biomarkers. Gandhi will work under other fairly recent Lilly hires such as Kimberly Blackwell, VP of early-phase development, and Levi Garraway, senior VP of global development and medical affairs for oncology. FierceBiotech

C4 promotes Chief Scientific Officer Andrew Phillips to CEO

C4 Therapeutics
President and CSO Andrew Phillips was named CEO.

C4 Therapeutics promoted its senior VP of discovery sciences, Stewart Fisher, to take Phillips’ place as chief scientific officer. Prior to joining C4, Phillips was senior director for the Center for Development of Therapeutics at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, while Fisher held a series of leadership roles at the Broad Institute and AstraZeneca. The Watertown, Massachusetts-based biotech, a 2016 Fierce 15 winner, focuses on protein degradation pathway targets that can trigger the natural destruction of disease-causing proteins. FierceBiotech 

> Azure Biotech co-founder David Thompson joined Inozyme Pharma, as senior VP and chief scientific officer, as the startup begins clinical testing of its enzyme replacement therapy for calcification disorders in infants. FierceBiotech

> Celgene Corporation appointed Jennifer Dudinak as senior VP for global regulatory affairs, responsible for regulatory strategy and execution across the company’s portfolio. She joins from GlaxoSmithKline, where she was VP and head of regulatory affairs for pharma therapeutics, and previously VP of global regulatory affairs for oncology. Release

> Sam Isaly has left OrbiMed, the venture capital firm he founded, amid allegations of sexual impropriety and months of mounting pressure. OrbiMed’s five other partners will continue their ownership of the firm. FierceBiotech

> Takeda UK named Jon Neal managing director of U.K. and Ireland operations. Neal previously directed the oncology business unit. He succeeds Adam Zaeske, who was named regional lead for gastroenterology in Europe and Canada. Emma Roffe was promoted to oncology business unit director. Release (PDF)

> Atara Biotherapeutics named Manuela Maronati as general manager of its European business, and the first employee based at the company’s new European headquarters in Zug, Switzerland. Previously, Maronati was VP and general manager for Italy at PTC Therapeutics, where she led the launch of Translarna (ataluren) in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Release

> Former Parexel President and COO Mark Goldberg was appointed to the board of directors of Intensity Therapeutics, a company developing immuno-oncology injections delivered directly to the tumor. Release

> Acadia Pharmaceuticals named Elena Ridloff to the newly created position of senior VP for investor relations. Ridloff joins Acadia from Alexion Pharmaceuticals. Release

> Eagle Genomics appointed Executive Chairman Anthony Finbow as CEO, with founder Abel Ureta-Vidal becoming chief product officer, in series of changes in management structure. The company also named Cliff Meltzer non-executive chairman and Simon Thorpe as non-executive director. Release