Chutes & Ladders—Arena Pharma R&D chief Cabell leaves post after 6 months


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

Arena Pharma's R&D lead quits 6 months into the job, replaced by Alder CMO

Arena Pharma
Chris Cabell, M.D., has stepped down from the CMO role.

Cabell will step down and remain an “adviser” to the company. Replacing Cabell is Paul Streck, M.D., who takes over as CMO along with the slightly different role of SVP, clinical development. He joins the biotech from Alder BioPharmaceuticals, bought out by Lundbeck a year ago, and worked on drugs including migraine treatment Vyepti. He’s also served stints at Insmed as well as Amgen, Shire and GlaxoSmithKline. Cabell leaves Arena just a few weeks after it posted mixed phase 2 results for its eczema hopeful etrasimod. The drug missed its primary endpoint, not hitting a statistical difference between either of the two dose levels of etrasimod compared to a placebo after 12 weeks of treatment. Fierce Biotech

Chinese biotech Zai Lab nabs Roche cancer veteran as new R&D exec, drug hunter

Zai Lab
Alan Sandler, M.D., was named president and head of global development, oncology.

Sandler joins the biotech after being president and global head of product development oncology at Genentech, Roche’s biologics arm, one of the biggest jobs in cancer, and was key in the work to get checkpoint inhibitor Tecentriq developed and approved. Now, he moves over to Zai Lab, which has been working on infectious and autoimmune diseases but also has a focus on cancer, which will now presumably be ramped up. It already has its GlaxoSmithKline/Tesaro-licensed PARP filed in China (known as Zejula in the U.S.), with a similar deal for Deciphera’s Qinlock in China and with MacroGenics for the bispecific tebotelimab. Fierce Biotech

4D hires a trio of area heads as it ramps up its gene therapy pipeline

4D Molecular Therapeutics
The company has hired on three new execs, including Robert Fishman, M.D.

Fishman becomes 4D’s chief medical officer and therapeutic area head for pulmonology. He joins from Xoc Pharmaceuticals, where as chief medical officer he led phase 1 development for programs in Parkinson’s disease and migraine. Raphael Schiffmann, M.D., signs on as senior VP and therapeutic area head for 4D’s cardiology stable and Robert Kim, M.D., joins 4D as a senior VP and clinical therapeutic area head of ophthalmology. Fierce Biotech

> U.K.-based IntraBio has tapped Jim Meyers as president and CEO, replacing Mallory Factor, who will continue as executive chairman. Meyers most recently served as executive VP of worldwide commercial operations and chief commercial officer at Gilead Sciences. 

> Weston, Florida-based Apotex has promoted Peter Hardwick to the roles of president and CEO. Hardwick, a 14-year Apotex veteran, has served as interim head since 2019. 

> Atlanta-based Antios Therapeutics has tapped Gregory T. Mayes as its new CEO. Mayes is the co-founder and former CEO of Engage Therapeutics and left after its acquisition by UCB in June. 

> Penrose TherapeuTx has named Mark de Souza as CEO. De Souza most recently Most recently served as CEO of Revolution Global. Release

> Pittsburgh-based NeuBase Therapeutics has tapped Curt Bradshaw, Ph.D., as its new chief scientific officer. Bradshaw most recently served as chief scientific officer at Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals. Release

> Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Mersana Therapeutics has named Arvin Yang, M.D., Ph.D., as senior VP and chief medical officer. Yang succeeds Dirk Huebner, M.D., who has stepped down as CMO but will remain with Mersana until Jan. 15. 

> Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Praxis Precision Medicines will move current Chief Financial Officer Stuart Chaffee, Ph.D., to a part-time role as a strategic adviser. The company is searching for a full-time CFO while Lauren Mastrocola, VP of finance and principal accounting officer, will hold the position on an interim basis. 

> U.K.-based Achilles Therapeutics has tapped Robert Coutts as chief financial officer. Prior to Achilles, Coutts led the finance functions of new entities for the life science portfolio at Syncona. Release

> Adagene has fleshed out its executive team with the appointments of: Hua Gong, M.D., Ph.D., as chief operating officer and head of precision medicine; JC Xu, M.D., Ph.D., as chief scientific officer; and Qinghai Zhao, Ph.D., as chief manufacturing officer. Release

> Billerica, Massachusetts-based Quanterix Corporation has tapped William Geist as chief operating officer. Geist most recently served as VP and general manager for twoThermo Fisher Scientific business units: protein and cell analysis and qPCR. Release

> New York-based HiberCell has appointed Joseph Talamo as chief financial officer and promoted Ari Nowacek, M.D., Ph.D., from senior VP of business development to chief business officer. Release

> Salt Lake City-based Elevar Therapeutics has appointed Gus Aromin as VP of regulatory affairs. Aromin most recently served in senior regulatory affairs roles at Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Allergan and Elan. Release

> Marietta, Georgia-based MiMedx Group has named Jack Howarth as senior VP of investor relations. Howarth joins MiMedx from Antares Pharmaceuticals, where he served as VP of corporate affairs. Release

> U.K.-based Quanta Dialysis Technologies has promoted John S. Lipman as president of North America. Lipman was previously a consultant with the company.