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.
J&J vet named Celgene CFO months before current one set to retire
David Elkins will join the company July 1, becoming CFO a month after.
Celgene's current CFO, Peter Kellogg, previously announced his plans to retire in mid-2019. Following Elkins' appointment, Kellogg will take the position of chief corporate strategy officer. The shake-up news follows the abrupt departure of COO Scott Smith, with CEO Mark Alles taking on his responsibilities in the interim. Business development chief George Golumbeski also posted his notice. FiercePharma
Zai Lab grabs top AstraZeneca cancer executive
William Liang was named chief commercial officer.
Previously AstraZeneca’s oncology sales chief in China, Liang oversaw the successful launch of Tagrisso in the country, making up a large part of the company’s 31% sales increase there in the first quarter. Zai has doubled its staff from about 75 since it went public last September, as it prepares for its first drug launch with the China rights to Tesaro’s PARP inhibitor Zejula. FiercePharma
Axovant brings on Spark co-founder as CTO
Fraser Wright, Ph.D., joins as chief technology officer.
The Roivant neuro-focused subsidiary is moving to pivot away from its disappointments in Alzheimer's research with a new gene therapy licensed from Oxford Biomedica for Parkinson's disease. As Spark Therapeutics' scientific co-founder and former CTO, Wright brings his experience in helping to develop the gene therapy Luxturna. FierceBiotech
Gilead promotes dealmaker to lead strategy
Andrew Dickinson was promoted to executive VP of corporate development and strategy.
Dickinson, who joined Gilead in 2016, has spearheaded some of the company's largest deals as its corporate development chief, including its $11.9 billion acquisition of Yescarta inventor Kite Pharma and the $567 million purchase of Cell Design Labs. The move comes after Gilead reported a 21% first-quarter revenue drop, down to $5.1 billion. FiercePharma
> Anti-CD47 developer Trillium Therapeutics named Yaping Shou, M.D., Ph.D., as its CMO. Shou previously served as executive medical director of Takeda’s oncology department. FierceBiotech
> Sarepta Therapeutics poached Biogen's senior VP of late stage programs, Gilmore O’Neill, M.B., M.M.Sc., to serve as CMO. Sarepta's previous CMO, Catherine Stehman-Breen, M.D., departed the company in December 2017, after eight months in the job. FierceBiotech
> Sarepta also appointed Louise Rodino-Klapac, Ph.D., to lead a newly created business unit as VP of gene therapy. An NIH fellow, Rodino-Klapac was head of the laboratory for gene therapy research for muscular dystrophies at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She also co-founded Myonexus Therapeutics and invented its limb-girdle muscular dystrophy portfolio. Release
> Enzyvant named Alan Kimura, M.D., Ph.D., as CMO and Tamara Joseph as general counsel. Kimura recently served as CMO at SutroVax and previously held R&D roles at Shire, Novartis Vaccines, Translate Bio and Altus Pharmaceuticals. Joseph served as general counsel and chief compliance officer at InVivo Therapeutics, as well as general counsel at Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Mayne Pharma, and Transkaryotic Therapies. Release
> Portola Pharmaceuticals CEO William Lis announced plans to retire August 1. Lis joined Portola in 2008 and plans to remain in an advisory role. The board appointed R&D EVP John Curnutte, M.D., Ph.D., and CFO Mardi Dier as interim co-presidents. Release
> Daré Bioscience appointed David Friend, Ph.D., to the newly created role of chief scientific officer. Previously, Friend served as CSO at Evofem Biosciences and director of product development at CONRAD. Release
> Atara Biotherapeutics named Utpal Koppikar chief financial officer. Koppikar held several senior positions at Gilead Sciences, including VP of corporate and finance operations and VP of finance for Europe, the Middle East and Australia. Release
> SutroVax named former GSK vaccines president Moncef Slaoui as chairman of its board of directors, following an $85 million funding round. FiercePharma
> Activist Allergan investors are demanding a C-suite shake-up after the company's "half-hearted" strategic review. FiercePharma