Chutes & Ladders—Allergan ex-CEO Saunders takes board seat at BridgeBio

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

Saunders finds life after Allergan on board at newly IPO'ed BridgeBio


Former Allergan CEO Brent Saunders will join the board.

Saunders has been named an independent director of BridgeBio Pharma, the California biotech said Wednesday. He joins two other new additions to the board: Incyte co-founder and former chairman Randy Scott and BridgeBio’s own co-founder, economist Andrew Lo. At his new job, Saunders hopes his experience “leading and growing global pharmaceutical companies” will help guide BridgeBio as it draws closer to commercializing its first drugs, he said in a statement. But BridgeBio also called Saunders a “dealmaker,” hinting drug launch advice isn’t all the company’s looking for from an executive known for pulling off big M&A. FiercePharma

Sangamo R&D chief hits the exit as it splits R&D into separate units

Adrian Woolfson, Ph.D., Sangamo's executive VP of R&D, will depart after just five months on the job.

Woolfson will depart as the biotech splits its research and development into two “separate functions,” it said in a statement, and Sangamo will seek out a new head of development to lead the latter. The former will in the interim be led by Jason Fontenot, senior vice president of cell therapy. CEO Sandy Macrae gave no details on why Woolfson was leaving nor why he wasn't taking up a new role within the reorganized R&D units. He did say: “Adrian contributed a great deal to Sangamo. With endless energy and excitement, he inspired many with his scientific understanding and his belief in the potential of our technology. We wish him every success as he pursues his next endeavor.” He gave no word on what that endeavor will be. FierceBiotech

Sygnature Discovery nabs Eurofins exec to help boost U.S. presence 

Sygnature Discovery
Paul Overton, Ph.D., will join as senior VP of business development.

Overton will work in a newly created role that will focus “primarily on expanding Sygnature’s North American market,” the company said in a statement, and comes after it recently moved its U.S. base to life science mecca Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to be closer to the action. Overton will work alongside Paul Clewlow, Ph.D., senior VP, business development and executive board director. He comes with more than two decades of experience in business development roles within the CRO sector, joining the company from global testing specialist Eurofins where he was head of European sales, marketing and key account management. FierceBiotech

> Durham, North Carolina-based Chimerix has tapped Allen Melemed, M.D., as CMO. Melemed joins Chimerix from Eli Lilly, where he most recently served as a distinguished medical fellow and senior director of regulatory affairs for North American oncology. Release

> Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Seres Therapeutics has named Terri Young, Ph.D., as executive VP and chief commercial and strategy officer, effective June 29. Young most recently served as VP of global commercial strategy at Sage Therapeutics. Release

> Tustin, California-based Avid Bioservices has named Nicholas Green as president, CEO and board member effective July 30. Green most recently served as president and CEO of Therapure Biopharma. Release

> Menlo Park, California-based Sight Sciences has hired Sam Park as chief operating officer and Jeremy Hayden as general counsel and chief compliance officer. Release

> Redwood City, California-based Adverum Biotechnologies has named Heikki Jouttijärvi as VP of manufacturing. Prior to joining Adverum, Jouttijärvi was VP of technical operations at Menlo Therapeutics. Release