Chutes & Ladders—Califf’s post-FDA role at Duke, PCORI-backed foundation

Former FDA commissioner Robert Califf returned to Duke University and will lead a PCORI-backed research foundation.

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.

Former FDA commissioner Califf chairs new research foundation

Robert Califf

People-Centered Research Foundation
Robert Califf became chair.


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Since former FDA commissioner Robert Califf was no longer needed of his service as President Donald Trump has picked Scott Gottlieb to head the agency, it’s about time Califf finds a new role. He has become the new chair of the newly formed People-Centered Research Foundation, formed by a group of investigators within PCORnet, itself developed with funding from PCORI, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. At the same time, he has returned to the Duke Clinical Research Institute—which he founded in 1996—as the Donald F. Fortin professor of cardiology. Califf spent more than three decades with Duke University School of Medicine and the Duke University Medical Center, and was vice chancellor of clinical and translational research before becoming FDA commissioner last year under the Obama administration. FierceBiotech

Former Shire exec Shepard jumps to Eisai’s oncology business

Kirk Shepard

Kirk Shepard, M.D., was named SVP of global medical affairs of the oncology business group.

Kirk Shepard, M.D., will oversee Eisai’s global oncology medical strategies in his new role as SVP of global medical affairs of the company’s oncology business group. He was previously with Baxalta, and later SVP and head of global medical affairs at Shire, following the company’s acquisition of Baxalta. He spent a combined four more years with the two companies, where he managed the company's oncology, neurology, hemophilia, hematology and immunology products, as well as biosimilars. Prior to that, he was with another Japanese pharma—Takeda, where he served as SVP of Global Medical Affairs for over four years. Shepard’s first industry job was with Roxane Labs, which later became part of Boehringer Ingelheim, where he spent 17 years. Release

Forty Seven taps former Novartis’ Sandoz exec as CEO

Forty Seven

Forty Seven
Mark McCamish, M.D., Ph.D., joined as CEO.

Forty Seven, a California-based clinical-stage immune-oncology company, announced that Mark McCamish, M.D., Ph.D., will succeed the company’s founding CEO Jonathan MacQuitty, Ph.D. and become the company’s president and CEO on May 1. McCamish was most recently global head of biopharmaceutical development at Novartis’ Sandoz, where he helped pioneer global biosimilar development. He has also held executive positions at Abbott, Amgen and PDL Biopharma. The company’s lead candidate Hu5F9-G4 is a monoclonal antibody against the CD47 receptor. This antibody is currently being evaluated in four phase 1 clinical studies in patients with solid tumors or cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, acute myeloid leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and colorectal carcinoma. Release | Read more on FierceBiotechResearch

> Machine learning and computational biology expert David Heckerman, M.D., Ph.D., a 25-year veteran of Microsoft, joined Human Longevity as Chief Data Scientist. Release

> Cipher Pharmaceuticals appointed Robert D. Tessarolo, most recently Celgene’s VP & GM leading the U.S. inflammation & immunology business, as CEO. Release

> ImaginAb, a company using antibody technology for in vivo imaging, announced the appointment of Martyn Coombs as CEO. Release

> Therapeutic antibody-focused Abpro tapped Gavin MacBeath, Ph.D., as CSO. Release

> Maarten Kraan, M.D., Ph.D., formerly SVP and head of innovative medicines of respiratory and inflammation at AstraZeneca, was tapped by rare disease startup Therachon as CMO. Release

> Amsterdam-based Kiadis Pharma, with a focus on blood cancers and inherited blood disorders, named Jan Feijen as COO. Release

> Arena Pharmaceuticals recruited Preston Klassen, M.D., as EVP of R&D and CMO. Release

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