Chutes & Ladders—Bristol-Myers unveils post-Celgene R&D team

Chutes & Ladders

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 Conor Hale, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Bristol-Myers unveils team to lead R&D after Celgene deal closes

Bristol-Myers Squibb

Bristol-Myers Squibb
BMS Chief Scientific Officer Tom Lynch is set to leave by the start of October.

The Big Pharma is dividing its new-look R&D group into early- and late-phase development, handing Celgene’s Rupert Vessey responsibility for the former and bringing on Novartis’ Samit Hirawat to run the latter. Vessey currently serves as Celgene's president of research and early development, and once Bristol-Myers closes its $74 billion takeover the ex-Merck and GSK researcher will take on the same title at his new employer, overseeing discovery and translational medicine. Hirawat, meanwhile, will leave his position as Novartis' head of oncology global development to become chief medical officer at Bristol-Myers, where he will lead its global drug development group. Lynch, an oncologist, had replaced Francis Cuss as CSO in 2017 and now plans to pursue "opportunities in healthcare." FierceBiotech

The planned shake-up will also include the departure of Celgene CEO Mark Alles, who will leave with a $27.9 million severance package after the merger closes and plans for other opportunities in the industry. Meanwhile, Celgene CFO David Elkins will replace BMS' Charlie Bancroft, who will focus on integration until he retires next year. On the commercial side, Celgene's hematology and oncology chief Nadim Ahmed will head up BMS' hematology business. BMS' current CEO Giovanni Caforio will stay on, of course, as will chief commercial officer Chris Boerner. FiercePharma

GE Healthcare exec to lead dermatology biotech LEO Pharma

LEO Pharma logo

LEO Pharma
Catherine Mazzacco will be president and CEO, effective Aug. 1.

After more than a decade, LEO Pharma is getting a new chief executive as it looks to boost its pipeline. Gitte Aabo, with 11 years as president and CEO and 27 in total at the Denmark-based company, will step aside Aug. 1. Mazzacco is currently head of global commercial operations for GE Healthcare’s BioPharma division, where she has been for the past 18 months. Previously, she served a 15-year stint in various positions at Abbott in its vision division and in diabetes care. FierceBiotech

After 31 years at Merck, Schechter jumps for LabCorp CEO job

Adam Schechter was named president and CEO, effective Nov. 1.

Schechter will take the reins from LabCorp's longtime chief David King, who will become executive chairman. King has served as CEO since 2007, and said he and LabCorp’s board have been working for “several years” on a succession plan. Schechter, meanwhile, has been a LapCorp director since 2013 and became the company's lead independent director in January. He also announced his departure from Merck at the top of the year. After joining Merck in 1988 as a sales rep, Schechter has worked his way up to executive VP and president of global human health. FiercePharma

> According to reports, AstraZeneca is scouting successors for Leif Johansson, who's served as chairman for seven years. The company hasn't set a timetable for a transition, and declined to comment, but in England board members are no longer considered "independent" after nine years of service. AstraZeneca could be aiming to keep an independent chair as Johansson nears that point. FiercePharma

> Eli Lilly's Pete Salzmann, M.D., was named CEO of Immunovant, one of the latest in a growing list of the Roivant family of companies headed up by Vivek Ramaswamy. Salzmann most recently was global clinical development leader for Lilly’s recently approved rheumatoid arthritis drug Olumiant, and also helped get the immunology drug Taltz on the market. FierceBiotech

> Pfizer has hired Jeff Settleman from Calico to lead its oncology R&D group, including all programs from discovery to clinical proof of concept. Since leaving Genentech in 2015, Settleman has served as head of oncology research for Google's life science and aging-focused sister company. FierceBiotech

> OncoCyte board member Ronald Andrews was named the company's new CEO, effective July 1, with current chief William Annett remaining with the company in an advisory role for the transition. Andrews was founder and principal of the Bethesda Group, a company focused on helping organizations in the molecular diagnostics and genomics industries. Before that, he served as the president of the Genetic Science Division of Thermo Fisher Scientific. Release

> After walking out as CMO and R&D head at the troubled cancer biotech Immunomedics this past April, Robert Iannone, M.D., has taken up the chief research job at Jazz Pharmaceuticals. He will help lead Jazz's growing global organization, including preclinical and clinical development, biostatistics, regulatory affairs and safety work. FierceBiotech

> Theravance Biopharma is bringing on Andrew Hindman as a senior VP and chief financial officer. Most recently chief business officer of Acorda Therapeutics, Hindman has also held roles at Gilead and Onyx Pharmaceuticals. Release

> Portable dialysis machine developer Outset Medical has named Rebecca Chambers as chief financial officer. Chambers joins Outset from Illumina, where she has helped lead numerous financial functions including treasury, clinical financial planning and analysis and investor relations. Release

> Tracey Lodie will take over as chief scientific officer for Tony Peled at Gamida Cell to oversee its synthetic biology and translational research operations. Lodie previously served as senior VP of translational immunology at BlueRock Therapeutics. Peled, meanwhile, will transition to the new role of chief technology officer. Release

> Progenity hired Eric d’Esparbes as senior VP and CFO, who was most recently CFO and interim principal executive officer of Innoviva. Release

> Merus product VP Samuel Zhang was named CBO of the T cell-focused NeoImmuneTech. Before Merus, Zhang held positions at Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novartis Oncology. Release

> Aldevron, a maker of plasmid DNA proteins, mRNA and antibodies, plans to expand its headquarters into a 14-acre campus in Fargo, North Dakota. The project is set to increase production by as much as 10 times and will house up to 1,000 employees when complete. FiercePharmaManufacturing

> Lonza will carve out its Specialty Ingredients business as part of its effort to reorganize the slumping division, eliminating about 130 jobs by mid-2020. FiercePharmaManufacturing