Chutes & Ladders—Dermavant hires Todd Zavodnick as CEO


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.

Dermavant hires Todd Zavodnick as CEO 


Todd Zavodnick was named CEO.

The dermatology-focused Roivant subsidiary hired Zavodnick to fill the role vacated in September by Jackie Fouse, who left to lead Agios after joining Dermavant in July 2017. Zavodnick makes the jump from Revance Therapeutics, where he was chief commercial officer and president of aesthetics and therapeutics. Revance has been developing a potential rival to Allergan’s Botox. Previously, Zavodnick served as president of Zeltiq ahead of its acquisition by Allergan and spent several years at Galderma. FierceBiotech


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Bayer VP Alan Westwood to lead antimicrobial firm Matoke Pharma

Alan Westwood

Matoke Pharma
Alan Westwood was appointed managing director.

Westwood spent 35 years at Bayer Health Care, becoming its VP of global strategic marketing for anti-infectives. At Matoke, he will oversee its lead candidate from the company’s “reactive oxygen” platform, being developed as a primary treatment for chronic, nonhealing wounds. The company previously received a CE mark for a bioengineered honey, SurgihoneyRO, approved as an antimicrobial gel that slowly releases hydrogen peroxide for acute and chronic wound care. FierceBiotech

Genentech I-O leader Wei Lin to head up Nektar's oncology work

Nektar Therapeutics
Wei Lin, M.D., will serve as VP of clinical development.

Lin was a global clinical and development leader for immunotherapies in lung, head and neck cancersD during his seven years at Genentech, where he helped execute proof-of-concept and registration trials. He joins Nektar as it moves forward with its phase 3 trial for its lead combination of NKTR-214 and BMS' Opdivo. Previously, he was a site head for Roche’s Asia Pacific oncology development and was on the faculty of MD Anderson Cancer Center. FierceBiotech

Google brings on Geisinger’s CEO to direct its healthcare efforts

Google Health
Geisinger President and CEO David Feinberg will officially step down from the health system on Jan. 3, 2019.

Feinberg will help Google develop a cohesive strategy for its various health-related enterprises, including through home automation devices and wearables. During his four years at Geisinger, the health system pursued several programs to integrate big data, electronic health records and genomics into its care. Google also recently announced it would reclaim the health AI team from Alphabet's DeepMind outfit. Geisinger’s executive VP and chief medical officer, Jaewon Ryu, M.D., will take over as interim president and CEO starting Dec. 1. FierceMedtech

> Elliot Ehrich, M.D., who capped an 18-year career at Alkermes in January after serving as chief medical officer and heading up R&D, has joined Expansion Therapeutics as its CMO. In the interim, he became a venture partner at 5AM Ventures, which led Expansion's $55 million series A round. FierceBiotech

Allosteric modulator startup Cadent Therapeutics brought on Bob Dagher, M.D., to be its CMO as it comes out of stealth mode. Dagher was a senior medical director in neuroscience at Covance and also served as head of medical affairs at Dyax. Previously, he held roles at Sanofi Genzyme and GlaxoSmithKline. FierceBiotech

Surgical biomaterials company Abyrx named former Goldman Sachs president and Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn to its board of directors. Abyrx's lead asset is a moldable, resorbable putty applied to cut or bleeding bones that hardens within minutes. Cohn resigned from the Trump administration in March. Release

Alkahest hired Elizabeth Jeffords as chief commercial and strategy officer. She was previously VP of Genentech's U.S. ophthalmology portfolio, responsible for sales and marketing of Lucentis. Release

Orchard Therapeutics appointed Robin Kenselaar as senior VP and general manager of its commercial operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Brad Mathis as VP of its U.S. commercial operations, as the company plans its first three potential product launches. Kenselaar joins Orchard from Sanofi Genzyme, while Mathis comes from Sucampo Pharmaceuticals. Release

Genentech is suing its indicted ex-employees for "brazen" trade secrets theft, as well as the Taiwanese biosimilar firm JHL. It's calling for damages and an injunction against future copies of its drugs Rituxan, Herceptin, Avastin and Pulmozyme. FiercePharma

South Korean stock regulators have halted trading of Samsung BioLogics, fined it 8 billion Korean won ($7.1 million), and recommended the dismissal of chief executive Kim Tae-han. The government agency ruled that the company intentionally inflated its value before going public in 2016 and referred the case to prosecutors. FiercePharma

Edinburgh Molecular Imaging named Bernhard Sixt as its new CEO. Sixt helped found Agendia and Ipotuba, and also led ImmunID. Release

> David Smith joins Five Prime Therapeutics as chief financial officer. Smith most recently served as chief operating officer of IntegenX until its acquisition earlier this year by Thermo Fisher Scientific. Release

Lundbeck's new CEO, Deborah Dunsire, announced a strategic review of the company's programs, with the results to come as an annual report next February. Dunsire said she doesn’t plan to restructure the company significantly, after it cut about 1,000 staffers in a restructuring under former helmsman Kåre Schultz. FiercePharma

AbbVie signed a long-term lease at a new biotech campus in South San Francisco, near its research center in Redwood City and the homes of its subsidiaries Pharmacyclics and Stemcentrx. FierceBiotech

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