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 Eric Sagonowsky (email) or Angus Liu (email) and we will feature it here at the end of each week.
Sarepta taps ex-Allergan leader as new CEO
Doug Ingram will become Sarepta’s president and CEO.
Doug Ingram, who used to serve as Allergan’s president, is set to replace Ed Kaye, M.D., as Sarepta Therapeutics’ CEO. Analysts and investors reacted positively to the pick, particularly because Ingram's background aligns with Sarepta’s focus on central nervous system diseases. Ingram took on the CEO role of neurodegenerative disorders-focused Chase Pharmaceuticals after his Allergan role ended on a high note of merger with Actavis in 2015. During his tenure at Chase, Ingram guided the biotech through a phase 2 Alzheimer’s disease trial and on to a takeover by Allergan last November. Now it’s time for him to turn the hard-fought Exondys 51 approval into a commercial success and to help flesh out Sarepta’s pipeline. Besides, the appointment also draws M&A speculations given the sale of Ingram’s last two companies. FierceBiotech | FiercePharma
Biogen taps public affairs vet Steele to lead its corporate efforts
Catherine Steele was named SVP of corporate affairs.
In February, Sanofi poached Biogen’s then-SVP of corporate affairs and former U.S. Congress staff Kathleen Tregoning as its EVP of external affairs. Now the Biogen post left by Tregoning has been filled by Catherine Steele, who most recently served as Novartis’ global head of communications and patient relations. Prior to that, she spent more than a decade with Roche, responsible for corporate communications, patient advocacy and public and government affairs, which is pretty much the same job description of her upcoming Biogen role. Release
PPD has a new leader for lab services
Christopher Fikry, M.D., became EVP of PPD Laboratories.
PPD’s laboratory services offer support for development of small molecules, biologics and vaccines from preclinical studies through late-stage researches. This core capability of the CRO giant now has a new leader—Christopher Fikry, M.D. He joins from Quest Diagnostics, where he was most recently VP and GM for oncology and companion diagnostic. Prior to that, he led the company’s central laboratory, biomarker and companion diagnostic services in the role of VP of clinical trials. He also served several leadership roles with Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, including head of U.S. influenza, travel vaccine and meningococcal vaccine franchises. The news came about a month after PPD expanded its vaccine sciences lab in Virginia by another 17,000 square feet. Release
> Days after it landed a deal with Celgene on natural killer cell-based blood cancer therapeutics, Dragonfly Therapeutics named Nicolai Wagtmann, Ph.D., who previously spent 14 years at Novo Nordisk as VP and head of cancer and immunobiology, as its CSO. Release
> Linda Palczuk, who spent 30 years on several senior-level commercial and general management roles at AstraZeneca, joined Osiris Therapeutics as CEO, replacing interim CEO David A. Dresner, who had left the company. Release
> Astellas promoted Caroline Walkinshaw to executive director of market intelligence and analytics within its marketing strategy section, and lifted Jacquelyn Bonnell to VP of U.S. oncology sales. Release
> Inovio promoted Keiko Simon to VP of alliance and program management, responsible for managing the company’s relationships with its external partners including MedImmune, Regeneron, and Genentech, and promoted Jeffrey C. Richardson to VP of strategic relations, in charge of media relations, human resources, government affairs and executive communications efforts. Release
> Ophthalmology-focused Novaliq hired Gabriela Burian, M.D., as its CMO. Release
> Casebia Therapeutics, the joint venture founded by Bayer and CRISPR Therapeutics, brought on Robin A. Walker as the company’s VP and head of legal. Release
> European Society for Medical Oncology elected Solange Peters, M.D., Ph.D., as its president for 2020-2021. Release
> Flexion Therapeutics, which focuses on musculoskeletal conditions, appointed Mark Levine as SVP, general counsel and secretary. Release
> BlueRock Therapeutics, which develops cell therapies for degenerative diseases, made a trio of appointments: Emile Nuwaysir, Ph.D., joined president and CEO; Robert Deans, Ph.D., joined as chief technology officer; and Eric Soller, Ph.D., was appointed VP of corporate development and strategy. Release
> Akili Interactive Labs, a subsidiary of PureTech Health that develops treatment and assessment products for neurological conditions wrapped up in video game interfaces, named former Cubist Pharmaceuticals CEO Robert J. Perez as executive chairman. Release
> Medherant, a University of Warwick spinout developing a transdermal drug delivery patch technology, named Sally Waterman as COO and Angus Hone as CFO. Release
> NeuroMetrix, which has wearable device Quell for chronic pain, promoted Xuan Kong, Ph.D., to chief data scientist. Release
> Prothena named Wagner Zago, Ph.D., as its CSO to advance its pipeline of immunotherapies. Release
> Q Biomed announced that nuclear medicine expert Christopher Manuele will join the company and co-direct the commercialization of its Strontium 89 Chloride. Release