Chutes and Ladders—Lilly's oncology chief announces retirement

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, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Lilly’s cancer business loses its chief


Eli Lilly & Co.
SVP and president of Lilly Oncology Susan Mahony has decided to retire.

After 18 years at Lilly, Susan Mahony, Ph.D., will retire Aug. 31, as the drugmaker looks to oncology to drive its growth. She recently led efforts to refocus in that area, and previously, as SVP of human resources and diversity, helped reorganize the company’s business units. Mahony also helped oversee the company’s acquisition of ImClone in 2008, along with the launches of several products. FiercePharma article

GSK vet launches Brii Biosciences with $260M

Brii Biosciences
Zhi Hong launched the startup focused on public health in China.

Zhi Hong, Ph.D., previously head of GlaxoSmithKline’s infectious disease business, is launching a new startup that aims to overcome the obstacles preventing the uptake of medicines throughout the country, through partnerships, R&D and data insights. Brii will first partner with Vir Biotechnologies, WuXi and Alibaba. FierceBiotech article

Gilead R&D chief to go back to his roots at startup Kronos

Kronos Bio
Norbert Bischofberger was named president and CEO of Kronos Bio.

After nearly three decades at Gilead, Norbert Bischofberger, Ph.D. took the top post at the cancer drug discovery startup as a way to get back to his science roots. He stepped down in April as Gilead’s executive VP for R&D and chief scientific officer. Kronos also announced $18 million in seed funding. FierceBiotech article 

> Curis named former Tesaro CMO Robert Martell, M.D., Ph.D., its new head of R&D, while its own chief medical officer, David Tuck, M.D., plans to step down and return to academic research. Martell also served as director of global oncology at Bristol-Myers Squibb, as well as on Curis’ board. FierceBiotech

> GSK VP Richard Marshall, M.D., was named CMO of Galecto Biotech, as it moves into late-phase clinical trials in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Marshall was head of fibrosis and lung injury discovery at GSK. FierceBiotech

> Frances Rena Bahjat, Ph.D., Bristol-Myers Squibb’s former senior director of in vivo studies, joined Apexigen as VP for discovery research, overseeing preclinical development of its immuno-oncology pipeline and its lead CD40 agonist currently in a phase 2 trial in collaboration with UCSF. FierceBiotech

> ImmusanT went on a spree of hires ahead of a phase 2 trial of its celiac vaccine, installing Ken Truitt, M.D., former SVP at Daiichi Sankyo, as CMO. Other hires included Kristin Neff as VP of clinical operations and project management; Joyce Pinkham as VP of program management; and Jonathan Yeadon as finance director. FierceBiotech

> The plans for Novartis’ former CEO, Joe Jimenez, to join the board of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates have been put on hold, in more fallout from the revelation of the company’s dealings with President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, according to reports. FiercePharma

> Astellas Pharma plans to discontinue work at its R&D subsidiary and other support companies, offering early retirement incentives that it expects will draw 600 employees to the exit by next March. FierceBiotech

> Two former executives at Valeant and Philidor, Gary Tanner and Andrew Davenport, have been found guilty of fraud through a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme. FiercePharma

> Rocket Pharmaceuticals appointed Gayatri Rao, M.D., J.D., former director of the FDA’s Office of Orphan Products Development, as VP of regulatory policy and patient advocacy. Release

> OptiScan Biomedical has named Cary Vance president and CEO. Vance served as CEO for Myoscience and Hansen Medical, which was acquired by Auris Health in 2016. Vance replaces William Mince, interim CEO since last October. Release

> Former Walgreens and Wellpoint executive Michael Nameth joined Blink Health as EVP for cloud and specialty pharmacy. Most recently, Nameth was CEO of specialty pharmacy Aureus Health Services. Release