Chutes & Ladders—Biogen veteran Ong joins Flagship Pioneering as CEO-partner

Parachute landscape

             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.

Ong leaves Biogen to become CEO-partner at Flagship

Flagship Pioneering
Tuyen Ong will join as CEO-partner.

Ong has spent the past few years working on ophthalmology gene therapies, spending two years as chief development officer at Nightstar Therapeutics before transferring to Biogen as part of its $877 million takeover of the startup. At Biogen, Ong took up the position of head of the ophthalmology franchise. Now, Flagship has persuaded Ong to leave Biogen and get into the founding and building of biotechs. The dual role of CEO-partner will enable Ong to contribute to the Flagship leadership team and sit on the boards of its biotechs while also serving as CEO of Ring Therapeutics. Fierce Biotech

DNA maker Touchlight adds Lonza manufacturing vet as it swings at COVID-19 vaccine, cell and gene therapy markets

Karen Fallen will come on board as the CEO of Touchlight DNA Services. 

Fallen joins Touchlight from her role as president of mammalian and microbial development and manufacturing at Lonza, where she guided 4,500 workers at 10 sites spread over three continents. Fallen was promoted to that role in April 2019 and has 30 years of experience in the industry, according to a release. At Touchlight, Fallen will be tasked with expanding the DNA business' manufacturing capacity and bringing on more customers to the fledgling unit. The company's novel, synthetic "doggybone" DNA can be used as starting material for mRNA vaccines used against COVID-19, like those produced by Pfizer and Moderna, and in cell and gene therapy applications, Touchlight said. Fierce Pharma

Dewpoint Therapeutics names Nathwani as CEO

Dewpoint Therapeutics
Ameet Nathwani
, M.D., has been named CEO.

Nathwani joins Dewpoint after serving as chief medical officer, chief digital officer and executive committee member at Sanofi. Prior to Sanofi, Nathwani was the global head of medical affairs and a member of the pharma executive committee at Novartis. Over his 12-year tenure there, he held a number of senior development and commercial positions including senior VP and global head of the critical care business franchise as well as senior VP and global development head of the cardiovascular and metabolism franchise. Fierce Biotech

> South San Francisco-based Medeor Therapeutics has named Daniel Brennan, M.D., as chief medical officer. Brennan also serves as medical director at the Comprehensive Transplant Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital and professor of nephrology at the Johns Hopkins division of renal medicine. Release

> San Diego-based eFFECTOR Therapeutics has tapped Premal Patel, M.D., Ph.D., as chief medical officer. Patel was most recently chief medical officer at Lyell Immunopharma. Release

> Australian biotech Recce Pharmaceuticals has tapped Michele Dilizia as chief scientific officer. Dilizia will continue her role as executive director and as a member of the board.

> Biotech Oxurion NV has named Tom Graney as its chief financial officer. Graney will succeed Dominique Vanfleteren who is leaving Oxurion "to pursue other interests," the company said. Graney most recently served as senior VP and CFO at Vertex. Release

> San Diego-based Epirium Bio has tapped Alexander Casdin as chief financial officer. Casdin was most recently founder, CEO and portfolio manager of Reneo Capital Management. Release (PDF)

> Irish biotech Ovoca Bio has named Christopher Wiltshire, a former nonexecutive director, as chief business officer and executive director of the board. Wiltshire previously served in senior roles at Pfizer, including as head of business transactions and investments within The Pfizer Incubator. 

> Gaithersburg, Maryland-based MaxCyte has promoted Brad Calvin to the role of chief commercial officer and hired Sarah Haecker Meeks, Ph.D., as VP of business development and Steve Nardi as VP for manufacturing and engineering operations. Calvin previously served as executive VP of global commercial operations. Release

> Gaithersburg, Maryland-based Novavax is building to take its influenza vaccine candidate across the regulatory finish line with the appointments of Russell (Rip) Wilson as executive VP and NanoFlu general manager; Tim Hahn, Ph.D., as senior VP of CMC for NanoFlu; and Vivek Shinde, M.D., as VP of clinical development for NanoFlu. Release