Chutes & Ladders—BridgeBio oncology execs take the reins of new spinout

Chutes and LaddersWelcome 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 Max Bayer or Gabrielle Masson, and we will feature it here at the end of each week. 

BridgeBio’s oncology team takes the reins of new spinout

BridgeBio Oncology Therapeutics

With BridgeBio’s attention squarely on seeing acoramidis through regulatory approval, the company is slicing off its oncology unit as a standalone company. 

Leaders of the existing unit are joining the move, with oncology R&D chief Eli Wallace, Ph.D., named as CEO. Pedro Beltran, Ph.D., head of biology, will be the spinout’s CSO. BridgeBio Oncology Therapeutics—a name that clearly prioritizes clarity over wit—will be chaired by University of California, San Francisco scientist Frank McCormick, Ph.D.

The new company, which will focus on RAS-driven tumors, has been equipped with $200 million in private funds to chart the path forward. Cormorant Asset Management led the financing while Omega co-led, with participation from the likes of GV, Deerfield and Wellington. Fierce Biotech 

Ipsen names North America prez after latest FDA nod


French pharma Ipsen is adding an AstraZeneca veteran to lead its North America operations, naming Keira Driansky to the role. 

She cut her teeth in AstraZeneca’s oncology unit, working across sales and marketing teams. She was promoted to spearhead commercial work on cancer treatment Tagrisso before taking the helm of the pharma’s Belgium outpost. All told, Driansky spent 13 years at AstraZeneca. 

Her experience growing the cancer business will come in handy, after Ipsen snagged FDA approval for Onivyde as a first-line treatment for a form of pancreatic cancer when combined with Nalirifox. The drug was developed in conjunction with Servier, which holds commercialization rights almost everywhere except the U.S. and Taiwan. 

Driansky will officially jump to the new job May 13. Release

George Medicines sharpens leadership team with ex-Ironwood CEO

George Medicines

Mark Mallon is taking over as CEO of George Medicines, the company announced this week. 

The former chief executive of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals is tasked with successfully marketing George’s uncontrolled hypertension med GMRx2. The drug recently completed a phase 3 study and is expected to be submitted to regulators later this year. 

Before leading Ironwood, Mallon spent some 24 years at AstraZeneca, holding a couple of executive positions including executive vice president of international and executive vice president of product and portfolio strategy.

George Medicines was spun out of the George Institute for Global Health, an Australian nonprofit working to improve global health disparities. Release

> The head of Moderna Genomics Eric Huang, Ph.D., left the company earlier this year, according to a report from Stat. Word of his departure came to light after Moderna ended a collaboration with gene editor Metagenomi, citing a shift in priorities. Stat

> Innovent Biologics has chosen Samuel Zhang, Ph.D., to serve as the company’s global chief business officer. Zhang previously held the same title at Gracell Biotechnologies, where he led partnership discussions that led to a $1.2 billion acquisition by AstraZeneca. Release

> Swiss biotech Alentis Therapeutics has tapped the company’s head of oncology Alberto Toso, Ph.D., to serve as chief scientific officer. Before joining Alentis in 2021, Toso was the department head in the molecular targeted therapy group, oncology at Roche. Release

Monte Rosa Therapeutics Chief Scientific Officer Owen Wallace, Ph.D., is departing from his position to take on the CEO spot at an unamed U.K.-based biotech. Release

> Lexicon Pharmaceuticals’ CEO Lonnel Coats is retiring, effective July 7—his 10th anniversary with the Texas-based biopharma. The Lexicon board has launched a search for a successor. Release

> Generate:Biomedicines is building out its leadership team, bringing on Kimberly (Kym) White to serve as chief corporate affairs officer and promoting Lisa Wyman, former SVP of technical operations, to chief technical operations officer. White has previously served as SVP and chief communications officer for CVS Health and also previously held the same roles at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Release

> Barinthus Bio, formerly known as Vaccitech, is welcoming Leon Hooftman, M.D., on as chief medical officer. Hooftman joins from ISA Pharmaceuticals, where he also served as CMO, and has held senior management positions at Roche and UCB Celltech. Release

> London-based Epsilogen has hired Ashley Nagle to serve as the company’s chief business officer. Nagle most recently served as VP of business development at RemedyBio and has held roles across Lonza Biologics, Almac Sciences, Fulcrum Pharma, OncoSynergy, NexGenix and SeaGull Therapeutics. Release 

> Stephan Toutain has joined the PDS Biotech team as chief operating officer. Before PDS, Toutain was the chief operating officer at Anavex Life Sciences, and he previously held positions at Interleukin Genetics, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Sarepta Therapeutics, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Celgene and Johnson & Johnson. Release

> Michael Sofia, Ph.D., is set to retire from his role as Arbutus’ chief scientific officer at the end of this year. Sofia is a co-founder of the virology-focused biotech and has had an industry career spanning 38 years. Release

> Carisma Therapeutics has chosen Eugene Kennedy, M.D., to serve as the immunotherapy company’s chief medical officer. Before Carisma, Kennedy was CMO at Galera Therapeutics and has held that same title at Innovative Cellular Therapeutics, Lumos Pharma and NewLink Genetics. Release

> Bicycle Therapeutics has promoted Mike Hannay to the role of chief product and supply chain officer. Before joining Bicycle more than two years ago, Hannay clocked in time at Sanofi, Schwarz Pharma, Teva Pharmaceuticals and AstraZeneca. Release

> Vicinitas Therapeutics has promoted VP of Medicinal Chemistry Adam Hughes, Ph.D., to the chief scientific officer spot. Before Vicinitas, Hughes was head of chemistry at Terray Therapeutics. Release

> SFA Therapeutics has tapped Stefan Weiss, M.D., as chief medical officer. Before SFA, Weiss was managing director of dermatology at OM1. Release

> The National Organization for Rare Disorders has elected Pamela Gavin as CEO, succeeding Peter Saltonstall, who is retiring after serving as president and CEO since 2008. Gavin has been with the organization since 2012, serving as the company’s first chief operating officer. Release