Chutes & Ladders—Ex-Ariad, Roche executives lead Roivant and Arbutus’ RNA joint venture

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 Angus Liu (email), and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Roivant and Arbutus’ RNA newco launched with ex-Ariad, Roche execs

Roivant Arbutus

Paris Panayiotopoulos

Paris Panayiotopoulos leads as executive chairman.

Genevant, a new joint venture between Arbutus and Roivant, has come into life, two months after the two went public about a potential deal. The startup focuses on RNA-based therapeutics based on Arbutus’ lipid nanoparticle and ligand conjugate delivery technologies. Like Roivant’s other member companies, Genevant is led by an experienced management team. Paris Panayiotopoulos, who took Ariad to its $5.2 billion buyout by Takeda, leads as executive chairman. Bo Rode Hansen, Ph.D., currently global head of RNA therapeutics at Roche, will join as president, CSO and head of R&D. Peter Lutwyche, Ph.D., who led the development of Arbutus’ deliver platforms, will become chief technology officer. FierceBiotech

Purdue Pharma names new R&D head as it dials down commercial activities


John Renger

Purdue Pharma
John Renger, Ph.D., was named VP, head of R&D and regulatory affairs.

Though Purdue Pharma recently stopped marketing Oxycontin to doctors, it’s still at the center of the nationwide furor and lawsuits over drugmakers’ role in the opioid crisis. With commercial operation reduced, perhaps it’s time to focus more on R&D, and Purdue has a new leader for it. John Renger, Ph.D., who has been the company’s head of clinical research and translational medicine for the past two years, will take over from Alan Dunton, M.D., as Purdue’s head of R&D and regulatory affairs. Over his career, Renger has helped advance more than 30 preclinical candidates across multiple CNS disease areas. Prior to Purdue, he spent quite some time with Merck Research Laboratories, where he led a translational medicine group in neuroscience. Release

Troubled Immunomedics taps I-O veteran as head of R&D


Robert Iannone

Robert Iannone, M.D., became head of R&D and CMO.

After Immunomedics saw a potential $2 billion deal with Seattle Genetics scrapped after intense legal battle, it replaced former president and CEO Cynthia Sullivan with Celgene veteran Michael Pehl. Now it has brought on a new R&D leader. Robert Iannone, who oversaw the development of such immuno-oncology drugs as Imfinzi and Keytruda, has joined as head of R&D and CMO. He was most recently SVP and head of immuno-oncology, global medicines development at AstraZeneca/MedImmune. The hope now rests on Pehl and Iannone to help the company's lead candidate, IMMU-132, which was at the center of the Seattle Genetics drama, to win FDA approval as a third-line treatment for late-stage, metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. FierceBiotech

> Aerie hired Scott Laranjo, who previously held marketing positions at UCB and Allergan, to oversee the marketing activities of its NDA-ready new drug Roclatan—a fixed-dose combo of Rhopressa and latanoprost. Release

> Torque brought on Technical University of Denmark professor Thomas Andresen, Ph.D., as CSO. Release

> John Flavin, leader of Polsky Center, University of Chicago's entrepreneurship and innovation hub, joined medtech company Endotronix as CFO. Release

> Edward “Tad” Stewart, who was Merrimack's SVP of business development and head of its commercial business unit, joined PureTech Health's affiliate Commense, which develops microbiome-derived immune modulators for pediatric and maternal health, as president and CEO. Release 

> Immunotherapy developer OSE Immunotherapeutics lifted COO Alexis Peyroles to CEO. Release

> Genprex, a clinical-stage gene therapy company, expanded COO Julien L. Pham's title to lead its clinical development program as well as establish and grow strategic partnerships. Release

> U.K.-based immuno-oncology company NeoPhore, a spinout from PhoreMost, appointed PhoreMost's COO Jeffrey Roix as CEO. 

> Dennis Shin joined precision medicine firm Syapse as CCO. Release

> BioAxone BioSciences, which develops drugs to restore neurological function, appointed Ronald S. Goldstein as CFO. Release

> Intezyne promoted Bradford Sullivan, Ph.D., to director of chemistry, manufacturing and controls. Release