Chutes & Ladders—Ex-Biogen leader John Cox continues biotech CEO run, taking Dyne job

 Chutes and LaddersWelcome 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 Max Bayer or Gabrielle Masson, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Former longtime Biogen exec John Cox continues biotech run, tapped as new Dyne CEO

Dyne Therapeutics

John Cox cut his teeth at Biogen, where over nearly 14 years he ascended from the director of manufacturing sciences to the executive vice president of global commercial and technical operations. Most of his final year was spent orchestrating the spinoff of the company’s hemophilia business into a standalone biotech, Bioverativ. Despite that company getting acquired by Sanofi, Cox’s career was catapulted into its second chapter as a perennial biotech CEO. 

Dyne Therapeutics has taken notice, hiring Cox as its new CEO. Current CEO Joshua Brumm is stepping down to pursue jobs in healthcare investing, the company said in its announcement. 

Following Bioverativ, Cox was CEO of Flagship biotech Torque Therapeutics before helming Repertoire Immune Medicines, a merger of Torque and Cogen Immune Medicines. He left Repertoire in November 2022, holding a couple of board positions since. Release

Madrigal’s former US sales leader joins Nuvation as CCO

Nuvation Bio

A few months before Mirati’s KRAS inhibitor was approved, VP of U.S. sales Colleen Sjogren left for a similar role at Madrigal. A few months before Madrigal won FDA approval for the first MASH treatment, Sjogren bolted as part of a larger leadership overhaul.

Now, the veteran commercial executive is back, called on to lead the commercial unit at Nuvation Bio, which itself is expected to have a licensed product in less than two years. 

It’s a critical hire for the company, with Sjogren sporting one of the most consistent track records in recent years. Prior to her gigs at Mirati and Madrigal, she was VP of the national cell therapy team at Gilead’s Kite, one of the most successful wings of the company.

Nuvation is advancing its own oncology pipeline, led by two clinical-stage solid tumor meds, NUV-868 and NUV-1511. The former is slightly in the lead and preparing to launch into a phase 2 trial, with Nuvation CEO David Hung, M.D., saying in a release that the company is working to become commercial stage by the end of 2025. Release

The revolving door between biopharma and federal health agencies sweeps up 35-year vet


When Michael Lenardo, M.D., joined the National Institutes of Health's (NIH's) National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), director Anthony Fauci, M.D., was just five years into the job. The latter legend left in 2022 after working through the toughest days of the pandemic and completing a directorial stint that spanned numerous presidents of both major parties. 

Leonardo is now heading for the exits himself, taking a gig in the biopharma industry as chief scientific officer at Calico. The biotech was founded by Google parent company Alphabet and is working on age-related diseases. 

Leonardo is co-director of NIAID’s clinical genomics program and also chief of the institute’s molecular development of the immune system team. The NIH division credits him with founding or co-founding numerous joint ventures with well-known research institutions and scholar programs. He'll join Calico in August once his NIAID term ends. Release

> George Eliades, Ph.D., has ended a three-year stint at Jazz Pharmaceuticals, traversing over to Mythic Therapeutics to helm the ADC-focused biotech. Before joining Mythic as president and CEO, Eliades was Jazz’s SVP of corporate development and chief transformation officer. Release

> Caribou Biosciences’ former chief medical officer Syed Rizvi, M.D., is switching CAR-T teams, heading over to serve as Poseida Therapeutics’ CMO starting April 1. Rizvi has clocked in extensive experience in the industry, holding leadership roles at Chimeric Therapeutics, Legend Biotech, Celgene, Novartis and Merck. Release

> Ardelyx has hired Mike Kelliher to serve as the company’s EVP of corporate development and strategy. Before Ardelyx, Kelliher served as Horizon’s group VP of M&A and business development before the company’s $27.8 billion Amgen buyout. Release

> Paris-based Egle Therapeutics is adding two new members to the team, bringing on Monica Gostissa, Ph.D., to serve as chief scientific officer and Reno Winter, Ph.D., as chief technical officer. Gostissa most recently served as VP of preclinical sciences for Jounce Therapeutics, while Winter is a biochemist that joined Egle in 2023 to help with manufacturing and supply strategy. Release

> As Replimune revs up for a potential market approval, the company is remixing its leadership team, with Chief Strategy Officer Sushil Patel, Ph.D., set to succeed CEO Philip Astley-Sparke on April 1. Furthermore, Robert Coffin, Ph.D., co-founder, president and chief R&D officer, will move to an advisory role as Paul Bullock steps on as chief manufacturing officer after the retirement of co-founder and Chief Operations Officer Colin Love, Ph.D. Meanwhile, Chief Business Officer Pamela Esposito, Ph.D., and Chief Development Operations Officer Tanya Lewis are departing from their executive positions. Release

> Precision therapy company IDRx has chosen David Kerstein, M.D., to serve as chief medical officer. Kerstein joins from Theseus Pharmaceuticals, where he held the same title, and has experience working across Anchiano Therapeutics, Takeda and Boston Biomedical. Release

> Rocket Pharmaceuticals is revamping its leadership team, welcoming former Mirati (acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb) CFO Aaron Ondrey to lead Rocket’s financial team. Other changes include current Chief Operating Officer Kinnari Patel tacking on the role of president, head of R&D to her title, while Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Schwartz, M.D., has been appointed chief medical and gene therapy officer. Mark White, also listed as chief medical officer at Rocket on LinkedIn, has now been appointed general manager of commercial affairs, while previous general counsel and Chief Compliance Officer Martin Wilson will now serve as general counsel and chief corporate officer. Release 

> Synthego CEO Paul Dabrowski has stepped down, with Craig Christianson taking the helm as the company zooms its focus into therapeutic applications of CRISPR. New leader Christianson has been chosen after an “extensive search process” and joins the company from Water Street Healthcare Partners. Release

> TransCode Therapeutics has tapped Daniel Vlock, M.D., to serve as the Boston-based biotech’s chief medical officer. The medical oncologist has served as Alopexx Pharmaceuticals' CMO and also led Alopexx Enterprises as CEO for more than 18 years. Release