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 Kyle Blankenship, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.
Ex-Shire/Takeda clinical trials chief Ivarsson lands at Moderna
Melanie Ivarsson, Ph.D., will join as CDO.
Ivarsson, who led clinical programs at Shire before overseeing global clinical operations at Takeda, is now chief development officer at Moderna. She’s just the latest in a stream of Shire leaders to hit the exit after Takeda bought out the rare disease specialist. Last year, Shire’s former R&D chief, Andy Busch, Ph.D., and Howard Mayer, M.D., its ex-chief medical officer, vice president and neuroscience R&D head both found new homes—Busch to Cyclerion as its chief innovation officer and Mayer to Ipsen as its new R&D chief. Another alum, David Altarac, M.D., landed at AstraZeneca spinout Entasis as its CMO having been head of global regulatory affairs, global drug safety and R&D quality and compliance at Shire, and Brigitte Robertson, M.D., who led global development teams within Shire’s neuroscience division, became Yumanity’s chief medical officer. FierceBiotech
Rare disease biotech Passage Bio nabs Deerfield veteran as CEO
Bruce Goldsmith has been tapped as CEO.
Goldsmith will replace interim CEO and founder Stephen Squinto, Ph.D., as Passage brings a venture capitalist veteran to the helm. Goldsmith comes from Deerfield Management where he was a venture partner responsible for early-stage investments and also served as interim CEO at Civetta Therapeutics. He’s also been the chief operating officer at Lycera, an immuno-oncology and autoimmune disease biotech. He comes to a well-funded startup. In September, it raised its second mega-round: Months after breaking cover with a $115.5 million series A, the James Wilson-founded gene therapy startup reeled in another $110 million to take several assets into the clinic while hustling other programs through preclinical studies. FierceBiotech
Reid returns to biotech as he takes up Decibel CEO role
Biotech insider Laurence Reid will take command as CEO.
Reid will take the reins over at hearing drug therapy company Decibel Therapeutics, as its former leader Steven Holtzman “is retiring and will become a strategic business advisor to the company,” Decibel said in a statement. Reid has been an entrepreneur-in-residence for venture capital firm Third Rock the last few months, but spent three years at cancer and anti-infective biotech Warp Drive Bio before selling it to Revolution in 2018. Reid comes with an impressive CV: a decade at Millennium Pharmaceuticals (his first transition to the business of biotech, serving in various business development roles and ultimately as general manager of Millennium in Europe), five years at Ensemble Therapeutics (as chief business officer) and, most recently, five years at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (as CBO). FierceBiotech
> Former Roche Chief Medical Officer Sandra Horning, M.D., has been named to the board of directors at Gilead Sciences. Horning retired in 2019 after a 10-year career at Roche and Genentech. Prior to her career at Roche, Horning spent 25 years as a practicing oncologist, investigator and tenured professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. From 2015 to 2018, Dr. Horning served on the Foundation Medicine board of directors, and she currently serves as an adviser to EQRx. Release
> Ex-Novartis boss Joe Jimenez joined the board of Century Therapeutics, a startup working on off-the-shelf cell therapies that emerged last July with $250 million from the likes of Versant Ventures and Bayer’s VC arm. He arrives at Philadelphia-based Century as the biotech nets a new chief technology officer: Greg Russotti, Ph.D., who wore various hats at Celgene but was most recently vice president of cell therapy development and operations. FierceBiotech
> David Roblin has resigned as chief operating officer, chief medical officer and president of R&D at Summit Therapeutics. No reason nor successor has been named. The biotech has been rebuilding in recent years. Eighteen months ago, Summit’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug missed its primary and secondary endpoints in a phase 2 trial, leading the biotech to drop the program and focus its energies behind its antibiotic pipeline. FierceBiotech
> Lyon, France-based Poxel SA has tapped David Moller, M.D., as chief scientific officer. Moller joins Poxel from Sigilon Therapeutics, where he worked as CSO. Prior to that, Moller served in senior roles at Eli Lilly over a 12-year period, including VP of endocrine and cardiovascular research and clinical investigation, and VP of business development for emerging technology and innovation. Release
> Borehamwood, U.K.-based H.E.L Group is fleshing out its senior management team with the appointments of Roy Eggleston as global quality manager; Tony Heywood from AB Turnkey Solutions as production manager; and John Forbes, formerly a senior manager at Thermo Fisher Scientific, as global service manager.