Chutes & Ladders: Flagship creates CMO role, welcomes former Merck exec to the position

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 Eric Sagonowsky (email) or Alyssa Huntley (email | Twitter), and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Flagship creates CMO role, welcomes former Merck exec to the position

Michael Rosenblatt joins Flagship as CMO

Flagship Ventures welcomed Michael Rosenblatt, former Merck ($MRK) EVP and CMO, as its new CMO. The CMO position is new for Flagship. Rosenblatt worked at Merck since 2009, before which he was the dean of Tufts University School of Medicine, a professor at Harvard Medical School, the president of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the director of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Naturally, with a CV like that, Rosenblatt will play a role in partnerships with academic researchers and other biopharmaceutical partners, Flagship founder and CEO Noubar Afeyan noted. He will also support Flagship companies as they ramp up clinical research. FierceBiotech

Baxalta exec loses role to Shire acquisition, finds a new home at Ipsen

David Meek joins Ipsen as CEO

Baxalta’s former head of oncology, David Meek, found a new home at Ipsen after his role at Baxalta was subsumed by new owner Shire ($SHPG). Meek slipped into the CEO seat at the cancer biotech, settling some of Ipsen’s leadership issues. Meek--who takes on his new job starting Monday, July 18--brings along 25 years of industry experience from big names like Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), Novartis ($NVS) and Endocyte ($ECYT). Ipsen has been doing some shuffling as of late, pushing former head Marc de Garidel to a nonexecutive chairman role and ousting deputy CEO Christel Bories after strategy disagreements. FierceBiotech

Biogen vet joins Decibel as president and CEO

Decibel Therapeutics 
Steve Holtzman joins Decibel as president and CEO

Biogen vet Steve Holtzman is taking on the president and CEO roles at Decibel Therapeutics, which was launched by Third Rock Ventures last October. Holtzman previously served as the executive vice president of corporate development at Biogen ($BIIB), where he and his team earned 6 drug approvals. Holtzman will be in charge of creating a culture in which employees feel free to innovate and realize their potential, he explained. He also has plans to differentiate Decibel among the many biotech hopefuls through product engine platform buildout and working on specific product candidates. “If you look at successful biotechs, they don’t just focus on a single product or two. They build out their capacity for cutting-edge discovery to generate multiple products,” he said. FierceBiotech

Germany's Vetter plans to build a production facility in the Chicago area and promises about 300 jobs to come along with it. FiercePharma


> James Hussey joins Anthenex as executive vice president of the pharmaceutical division. Release

> Joseph Devaney will become VP of government affairs and policy for the Americas at Astellas. Release

> Joseph Johnston was named VP of regulatory affairs for Catabasis Pharmaceuticals ($CATB). Release

> The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America welcomed James Stansel as executive vice president and general counsel. Release

Medical Devices

> Iridex ($IRIX) will welcome Atabak Mokari as chief financial officer and VP of corporate development. Release

> Dr. Nathalie Fay will join Median Technologies as medical director for Europe. Release

> Julie Brown will leave her position as CFO at Smith & Nephew ($SNN) to join Burberry Group as chief operating and financial officer. Release


> Tech leader Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, will join the board of trustees of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Release

> Helix found a new CEO in Robin Thurston. Release


> Wave Life Sciences’ neurology franchise has brought on Dr. Michael Panzara as head of the unit. Release

> Advaxis ($ADXS) found a new VP of corporate development in Ranya Dajani. Release

> F2G has appointed Ralf Schmid as chief financial officer. Release

> Glenn Nedwin joins Second Genome as CEO, president and a member of the board of directors. Release

> Tana Session has joined Calimmune as VP of human resources, while Jeffrey Bartlett moves up to the chief scientific officer role. Release