Chutes & Ladders—Exoduses continue at AstraZeneca

Chutes & Ladders

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.

Sean Bohen to leave AstraZeneca as exodus continues

AstraZeneca Logo

Sean Bohen, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer and EVP of global medicines development, will depart.

After the creation of two new pairs of R&D and commercial units, the changes keep coming at AstraZeneca. Bohen's exit comes alongside the departures of Bahija Jallal, Ph.D., former head of AZ's biologics arm MedImmune, portfolio strategy chief Mark Mallon, and immuno-oncology franchise head David Berman, M.D., Ph.D. The R&D and commercial changes were announced amid former MSKCC Physician-in-Chief José Baselga, M.D., Ph.D., being chosen to run the big biotech's new cancer-focused unit, while AZ's Mene Pangalos, Ph.D., was named head of a new biopharmaceuticals R&D group. FierceBiotech

Another AZ exec joins alumnus at Immunocore as R&D head

immunocore 2

David Berman, M.D., Ph.D., was named head of research and development.

Berman has spent the past decade overseeing the rise of immuno-oncology drugs at AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb, most recently as the head of AZ's franchise. At Immunocore, Berman will work alongside CEO Bahija Jallal, Ph.D., who also recently joined the British biotech from AstraZeneca. FierceBiotech

Roche R&D executive begins new voyage with biotech move

Voyager Therapeutics
Omar Khwaja
, M.D., Ph.D., was appointed chief medical officer.

Khwaja was a top research executive at Roche, leaving his dual positions as global head of neuroscience translational medicine and global head of rare diseases to become CMO at the neuroscience biotech and 2014 Fierce 15 honoree. He helped push its first clinical programs in gene therapy while working on CNS and rare disease programs including spinal muscular atrophy and Huntington’s disease. FierceBiotech

Ex-Roche SVP named CEO of cancer startup Cygnal

Cygnal Therapeutics
Pearl Huang was made CEO.

The ex-Roche senior vice president and Beigene founder will lead the Flagship Pioneering startup as it builds a pipeline of cancer drugs targeting the peripheral nervous system. Huang worked as SVP and head of therapeutic modalities at Roche until September when she left after four years at the company. Before joining Roche, she served as global head of discovery academic partnerships at GlaxoSmithKline and co-founded Beigene. FierceBiotech

> Reckitt Benckiser CEO Rakesh Kapoor announced he would retire by the end of 2019, following more than eight years at the helm, with 32 total at the British company, and after he announced plans to split its business into two units. FiercePharma

> Five Prime Therapeutics is axing 20% of its workforce and its early-stage R&D in order to focus on its clinical cancer programs, amounting in a total of 41 jobs lost mainly in research, pathology and manufacturing. FierceBiotech

> Gilead’s vice president of clinical research, Erin Quirk, is joining NASH and cancer-focused Terns Pharmaceuticals as its new chief medical officer. FierceBiotech

> Paul Streck, M.D., will leave his role as CMO of Insmed to "pursue an employment opportunity on the West Coast." FierceBiotech

> Seres Therapeutics promoted its chief operating and financial officer, Eric Shaff, to succeed Roger Pomerantz as its president and CEO. Shaff takes the reins for what he describes as the company’s “next phase of development,” with a look toward immunological indications. FierceBiotech

> Aruna Bio has named Mark Sirgo, Pharm.D., as CEO. Going forward, co-founder Steven Stice, Ph.D., current CEO and chief scientific officer, will focus on directing the company’s R&D efforts in exosomes for CNS and neurodegenerative disorders. Sirgo was most recently president and CEO of BioDelivery Sciences. Release

> Dialysis-focused Outset Medical appointed Michael Aragon, M.D., as CMO, and Stacey Porter as VP of people operations. Aragon previously spent 14 years in clinical practice and as a medical director for DaVita and U.S. Renal Care, while Porter served as head of global talent development for Intuitive Surgical and held leadership roles at VMware and Roche. Release

> The European Medicines Agency increased its forecast of the proportion of staff that will relocate with it to Amsterdam and predicted its core drug evaluation activities will be unaffected by the Brexit-enforced move. FierceBiotech

> As part of a global overhaul that will cut 12,000 jobs, Bayer is shutting down operations near Pittsburgh, including cuts of 569 employees and 96 contractors over the next two years. The jobs are primarily administrative support roles in IT, accounting, legal and compliance areas. FiercePharma

> With the government shutdown now in its fourth week—the longest ever—FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., says about 400 staff have been recalled to restart drug, biologics and device inspections. FiercePharmaManufacturing

> AstraZeneca is laying off 210 workers in Colorado as it closes two ex-Amgen plants. FiercePharmaManufacturing