Chutes & Ladders—Former Novartis oncology head jumps to metabolic startup

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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 Conor Hale, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Former Novartis U.S. oncology head jumps to metabolic startup

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Axcella Health
Bill Hinshaw took the reins as CEO.

Hinshaw told FierceBiotech: "At this stage of my career, I wanted to join a company as CEO where I could lead and work with the team in shaping a discovery and development program to bring real innovation forward to the market, and thus broader access to patients." The pre-IND company is looking to develop cellular metabolic modulators targeting liver, muscle, CNS and other indications. FierceBiotech article

Axovant poaches Allergan CMO to rebuild its R&D 


Axovant Sciences
Gavin Corcoran, M.D., joins as executive VP of R&D.

Corcoran is stepping down as chief medical officer of Allergan to take up the position, which will see him try to guide Axovant out of the implosion of its Alzheimer’s strategy, following the phase 3 failure of the 5-HT6 inhibitor intepirdine this year. The Roivant spinout recently reorganized, cutting 40% of its staff. FierceBiotech article

Biogen brings on Pfizer dealmaker for M&A push


Dan Karp was named VP of worldwide business development and head of R&D business development.

According to Biogen, Karp will lead a newly minted “corporate development function,” spanning business development and corporate strategy, thought to include dealmaking, mergers and acquisitions. The company touted his track record of licensing and transactions as it looks to broaden its portfolio. FiercePharma article

> Arcturus' board of directors restored its previously ousted CEO, Joseph Payne, as well as former chief scientific officer and chief operating officer Pad Chivukula, Ph.D., following the settlement of months-long litigation and the replacement of four board members. FierceBiotech

Craig Venter, Ph.D., stepped down as CEO of Human Longevity, the latest in a string of departures at  the company he co-founded, to return to research at the J. Craig Venter Institute. Venter had been reappointed as CEO five months earlier, previously moving aside to allow GE Healthcare exec Cynthia Collins to take over. Collins left in December. FierceBiotech

> AzurRx brought on longtime drug developer James Pennington, M.D., as CMO. Pennington has served as a research VP at Bayer and Alpha Therapeutics, and has held CMO roles at Anthera Pharmaceuticals, InterMune and CoTherix. FierceBiotech

José Iglesias, M.D., joined ResearchPoint Global as medical director for oncology to help develop the CRO's strategy for cancer-focused sponsors. He has held CMO and senior positions at Biothera, Bionomics, Celgene, Abraxis BioScience, Amgen Canada, Eli Lilly and Apobiologix. FierceBiotech

> Parvus Therapeutics named Curtis Ruegg, Ph.D., as CEO and to its board of directors. Ruegg held positions at Revance, Cotherix and InterMune after starting at Dendreon. Release

> According to German media reports, Bayer is said to be reviewing its R&D locations, spurring fears of job cuts across some operations. FierceBiotech