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.
Corsico jumps from Boehringer to head development at GSK
Chris Corsico joins as senior VP of development, effective Jan. 1, 2019.
Following two decades at Boehringer Ingelheim, most recently as chief medical officer, Corsico will now report to Hal Barron, GSK's chief scientific officer and R&D chief. Barron joined the company in January as part of CEO Emma Walmsley’s reorganization, which has replaced 40% of GSK’s top management team across all its businesses. At Boehringer, Thor Voigt, currently medical director for Germany, will take over the CMO role starting Oct. 1. FierceBiotech
Polverino swaps interim CSO role at Kite for permanent gig at Zymeworks
Tony Polverino, Ph.D., was appointed chief scientific officer.
Polverino previously held the CSO position at Gilead's Kite Pharma on an interim basis, during the company's CAR-T approval for Yescarta, as well as its clinical launch of the T-cell receptor therapy KITE-718 in solid tumors. Zymeworks, meanwhile, presented positive data at ASCO for its lead bispecific antibody ZW25 in HER2-positive cancers, signed a $1 billion-plus collaboration with Janssen and expanded its $485 million deal with Daiichi Sankyo over the past year. Polverino, who also spent 20 years at Amgen, will oversee the translation of the pipeline from discovery into early development. FierceBiotech
Kymera taps former Alnylam executive as CMO
Jared Gollob, M.D., was named chief medical officer of the startup.
Gollob's appointment comes nearly a year after Kymera raised $30 million from Atlas, Amgen Ventures, Lilly Ventures and others, as the company aims to move its first drug into clinical testing. Shortly after its series A round, Kymera partnered with GSK in a two-year discovery deal focused on small molecules targeting protein degradation and its encoded libraries. FierceBiotech
BioTime names new CEO amid leadership shuffle
Brian Culley will serve as its new, sole CEO.
As part of a corporate restructuring led by the board of directors, Culley took over for co-CEOs Adi Mohanty and Michael West. Mohanty will stay on to assist with the transition while seeking opportunities elsewhere, while West will serve as CEO of BioTime's affiliate company, AgeX Therapeutics. Culley previously lead Mast Therapeutics for seven years, which completed a reverse merger with Savara in 2017. FierceBiotech
> A second former GSK researcher has admitted to stealing trade secrets and conveying them to a Chinese rival, Nanjing-based Renopharma. Tao Li, who worked at GSK's R&D unit in Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to stealing scientific documents. His former colleague, Yu Xue, pleaded guilty to similar charges in August. FierceBiotech
> Virion Biotherapeutics has brought on Vanessa King and Isabel Najera as CEO and chief scientific officer, respectively. King has held a number of business development and operations roles at Novartis and deCode Genetics, and led Luc Therapeutics as CEO. Najera most recently served as Roche's deputy head of discovery and helped lead its clinical microbiology and influenza discovery teams. FierceBiotech
> Scott Garland was named president and CEO of Portola Pharmaceuticals, effective Oct. 8. Garland joins from Relypsa, where he was president and CCO, including after it was acquired by Vifor Pharma in 2016. Before Relypsa, Garland was executive VP and CCO of Exelixis. Release
> José Baselga resigned from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center over a controversy surrounding his failure to disclose financial ties to drug developers in research papers. “I fear my continued role leading clinical care and research will become too much of a distraction to the hospital,” Baselga wrote in his resignation. FierceBiotech
> Melinta Therapeutics named Peter Milligan as chief financial officer, effective immediately. He takes over for Paul Estrem, who retires Oct. 1. Milligan most recently served as CFO of G&W Laboratories. Release
> Moji James joined Tmunity Therapeutics as general counsel and executive VP. James previously was senior VP, general counsel and corporate secretary of Iroko Pharmaceuticals. Release
> Harpoon Therapeutics appointed Jonathan Drachman, M.D., to its board of directors and Chris Whitmore as VP of finance. Drachman was most recently CMO and executive VP of R&D at Seattle Genetics, while Whitmore was VP of finance and administration at Immune Design. Release
> Gregory Reyes, M.D., Ph.D., joined Benitec Biopharma as senior scientific advisor, overseeing its portfolio. Reyes has held leadership roles at Pfizer and Schering-Plough, and most recently was senior VP of drug discovery at Celgene. Release
> BlueRock Therapeutics named Shane Kovacs as its chief business and financial officer. Kovacs most recently served as managing director and head of biotechnology investment banking at RBC Capital Markets, and previously served as CFO and head of corporate development at PTC Therapeutics. Release
> Verana Health brought on Don Butler as VP of commercial life science; Marc Berger as senior VP and general counsel; and Ellenmarie Rhone as senior VP of people and culture. Butler will co-lead commercialization strategy with VP Chet Kumar. Butler previously held positions including VP of global enterprise sales at Medidata Solutions, senior VP of clinical research solutions at Outcome Health and director of sales at Oracle Life Sciences. Berger was general counsel at Flatiron Health, and also served as VP and assistant general counsel at Medidata Solutions. Rhone was VP of human resources at FirstBest, and most recently was VP of talent and training at ReacHIRE. Release
> The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, the national trade association for pharmacy benefit managers, named JC Scott its next president and CEO, effective Oct. 15. Scott is currently chief advocacy officer for AdvaMed, the medical device group. There, Executive VP of Public Affairs Greg Crist will take over the vacancy. Release
> Novo Nordisk is laying off 400 employees in China and Denmark as part of a reorganization of its R&D department, as it aims to build a pipeline of chronic disease drugs. FierceBiotech
> After more than 50 years in Arnhem, the Netherlands, Novartis has decided to relocate its Dutch operations and 400 employees 95 km to Amsterdam, the new home of the European Medicines Agency. FiercePharma