Chutes & Ladders—Allergan architect bids farewell


Chutes and Ladders

Welcome to this week's Chutes & 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.



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Allergan architect bids farewell as board revamp continues


Nonexecutive director Paul Bisaro is retiring.

Once CEO and chairman of the company, and its leader through multiple iterations, Bisaro is the man who arguably built the company. His departure will bring Allergan’s board roster down to 11, 10 of whom are independent, and may please some investors looking for change. Bisaro currently serves as chief executive at generics-maker Impax. FiercePharma

Gilead steals commercial chief from Amgen to tackle sales challenges


Gilead Sciences
Amgen veteran Laura Hamill will take the top commercial post.

Following a search launched after James Meyers announced his retirement in February, Gilead will call on Hamill, who has been Amgen's SVP of U.S. business operations since early 2016, to help usher in a new era for the company and deal with looming commercial challenges. Its newly acquired Kite unit won an FDA approval for its CAR-T treatment Yescarta, but billing issues have kept patients from the drug and dinged sales forecasts. FiercePharma


Roche Diagnostics head to step down

Roche Logo
Roland Diggelmann

Roche Diagnostics
CEO Roland Diggelmann announced plans to leave the company, effective Sept. 30.

Diggelmann began at Roche in 2008, and previously served as region head of Asia Pacific for Roche Diagnostics before being named chief in 2012, later presiding over a $300 million expansion of its Indianapolis headquarters. Michael Heuer, Roche Diagnostics’ region head for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, will take over until a successor is named, and will also take Digglemann’s spot on the company’s corporate executive committee. FierceBiotech

Editas to lose CMO as it continues push for clinical trials

Editas small logo

Editas Medicine
Chief Medical Officer Gerald Cox, M.D., Ph.D., will step down at the end of the year. 

Cox has been at the CRISPR biotech for nearly two years, coming from a 16-year stint at Sanofi Genzyme as VP of clinical development in rare diseases. Editas is focused on treating a form of severe blindness caused by a rare genetic disorder, with its start date for first clinical trials delayed due to manufacturing issues. No reason for his departure was given, and it’s not clear whether Cox will be turning up elsewhere in 2019. FierceBiotech

Bristol-Myers Squibb is moving up Christopher Boerner, who's been running the company's international marketing, to be its new commercial chief and the person charged with maximizing Opdivo's potential. Boerner is stepping in for commercial head Murdo Gordon, who left earlier this month to take over for Amgen commercial leader Tony Hooper. Boerner has been with BMS for almost four years, coming on as its U.S. commercial head. FiercePharma

> WuXi AppTec has promoted Edward Hu was promoted from chief financial officer to co-CEO. Hu, who joined WuXi AppTec in 2007, has served as chief operating officer, CFO and chief investment officer, and will continue to oversee corporate finance, investment and M&A until a new CFO is named. He will report to Ge Li, chairman and chief executive, and share responsibilities including small-molecule drug discovery, development, manufacturing services, and drug and medical device testing. FierceBiotech

> Astellas promoted Rodrigo Fernandez to vice president of Latin America, reporting to Astellas Americas President Percival Barretto-Ko. Fernandez previously served as executive director of Astellas' international business, including responsibility for work in Latin and South America outside of Brazil and Colombia. Astellas also moved up Shontelle Dodson, Pharm.D, to SVP for health systems. Dodson was SVP for medical affairs for the Americas.

> Roivant Sciences named New Enterprise Associates partner Frank Torti, M.D., as Vant investment chair, to help oversee its subsidiaries, by serving as one of two appointed representatives on its companies’ boards. Torti will work alongside Myrtle Potter, former Genentech president and COO, who was named Vant operating chair in July. FierceBiotech

> PrescribeWellness, a cloud-based patient management company, brought on Patty Kumbera as chief operating officer. Kumbera co-founded and spent 15 years serving as COO of OutcomesMTM, working in medication therapy management services, before being acquired by Cardinal Healthcare in 2015. Release

> Telehealth firm Rhinogram has appointed Kathy Ford as president and Shannon Hastings as chief technology officer. Ford previously held roles in sales, marketing, portfolio management and M&A at GE Medical Systems, McKesson, Siemens Medical, Carestream Dental, NantHealth and others, while Hastings has held leadership positions at healthcare tech companies such as NantHealth, iSirona, Inventrio. Release

> Stem cell company Longeveron named Arin Maercks as chief commercial officer. Maercks previously served as an operating executive and advisor to CheckedUp, a point-of-care tech platform company, as well as COO of Lexington International, a dermatological laser medical device company. Release

> Boehringer Ingelheim has started building a $100 million R&D and manufacturing facility for complex solid medicines in Germany, slated to open in 2020 with 75 employees. FiercePharma

> The SEC has charged former Sangamo BioSciences executive Winson Tang with insider trading, accusing him of divulging a 2014 agreement between Sangamo and Biogen before it became public. FierceBiotech

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Boehringer Ingelheim tapped Healx to help identify new drug indications and leverage its AI to explore R&D options in neurological diseases.

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CMR Surgical will have a new CEO at the top of the year, as it kicks off the global launch of its modular Versius system while awaiting FDA approval.