Chutes & Ladders—Bristol-Myers recruits former Delinia CEO for R&D leadership

Bristol-Myers Squibb hired former Delinia CEO Saha to lead translational medicine operations.

Chutes and Ladders

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.

Bristol-Myers Squibb taps former Delinia CEO Saha for SVP job

Bristol-Myers Squibb small logo
Saurabh Saha

Bristol-Myers Squibb
Saurabh Saha, M.D., Ph.D., became SVP and head of translational medicine.

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Saurabh Saha is perhaps best known in the industry as the former CEO of Atlas Venture’s portfolio company Delinia, a position he held through his role as a venture partner at the VC firm. It was during his leadership that the biotech went from a $35 million series A to a $775 million takeover by Celgene in just four months early 2017. He started his career as a consultant in the pharma practice at McKinsey, and later walked away from Big Pharma as head of the new indications discovery unit at Novartis to establish translational R&D organization BioMed Valley Discoveries. Now he’s back with Big Pharma, appointed to lead Bristol-Myers Squibb’s translational medicine operation from its Cambridge, Massachusetts, R&D site, slated to open late 2018. His appointment marks the first key hire at BMS since Tom Lynch, M.D., stepped into the CSO role in March. FierceBiotech

Former GlaxoSmithKline pharma chief Hussain joins Chinese PE firm C-Bridge

C-Bridge Capital logo
Abbas Hussain

C-Bridge Capital
Abbas Hussain joined as senior partner.

GlaxoSmithKline announced Abbas Hussain’s departure as president of global pharma in January, without specifying a date. Luke Miels, then-EVP of AstraZeneca’s European business will step in once Hussain leaves—a defection that later involved a lawsuit and heated exchanges between Miels and AZ CEO Pascal Soriot. Now Hussain is joining a deluge of former Big Pharma execs who have taken roles at investment shops. As a senior partner at Chinese private equity firm C-Bridge, Hussain will help direct its $700 million fund to bring innovation from around the world to China. C-Bridge has expanded in the U.S. over the past 12 months, having put together a U.S. team based out of offices in Boston, New York and San Diego, with leaders who have decades of biopharma experience in the U.S. and China to run them. FierceBiotech

Ex-FDA commissioner von Eschenbach joined former Elan team at VC Malin

Andrew von Eschenbach

Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D., was named chief medical adviser.

Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D., the FDA chief from 2006 to 2009, and previously director of the National Cancer Institute, has taken the chief medical adviser job at Dublin-based investment firm Malin. Von Eschenbach has worked with Malin as an advisory partner since around the time Kelly Martin and other former Elan executives set up the fund and pulled off a €330 million ($390 million) IPO in 2015. At his new role, von Eschenbach will work closely with the fund’s management team and therapeutic assets, with an initial focus on oncology. The Irish VC firm has invested more than €70 million in British immuno-oncology star Immunocore and €27 million in West Coast CAR-T and gene therapy startup Poseida. FierceBiotech

> Amgen Chairman and CEO Robert A. Bradway has been elected to succeed Johnson & Johnson's EVP and worldwide chairman of pharmaceuticals, Joaquin Duato, as PhRMA board chairman; and Sanofi CEO Olivier Brandicourt will become chairman-elect; both effective next February. Release

> Michael Lark, Ph.D., Trevena's founding CSO, will soon leave the company, along with a third of the company's workforce, as the company channels its energy on soon-to-be-filed injectable pain therapy Olinvo. FierceBiotech

> Michael Diem, M.D., who previously held leadership roles at AstraZeneca and GSK rare diseases unit, was hired by Amicus Therapeutics as SVP of business and corporate development. Release

> Metabolic diseases-focused Zafgen named Jeffrey Hatfield, most recently CEO of Vitae Pharma until its acquisition by Allergan, as CEO; while its CEO since 2008, Thomas Hughes, Ph.D., transitioned to the new role of CSO. Release

> Children’s National Health System appointed transfusion medicine expert Meghan Delaney, D.O., as chief of pathology and lab medicine. Release

> Viennese immunotherapy firm Apeiron Biologics hired industry veteran Peter Llewellyn-Davies as CFO and CBO. 

> CRF Health, which provides patient-centered eSource solutions, expanded its operations team with the addition of Neil Conroy as VP of business transformation, and Daniella Mulder as VP of client relations. Release

> Immuno-oncology expert Scancell brought on Cliff Holloway, Ph.D., as CEO, starting early next year. Release

> Envigo welcomed a new member to its regulatory consulting team: Naheed Rehman was named as new business lead consultant of chemicals. Release

> Swedish orthobiologics company Bonesupport, hired Helena L Brandt as its new head of human resources.