Chutes & Ladders—Germano hits the road as Intrexon restructures

parachute landscape
Intrexon's restructuring sees short-time president Geno Germano out the door.

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 Eric Sagonowsky (email) or Angus Liu (email), and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

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Germano leaves restructured Intrexon after months as president


Geno Germano

Geno Germano is leaving as president.

It has just been less than a year since ex-Pfizer innovative pharma head Geno Germano landed at synthetic biology firm Intrexon as president and CEO-to-be. He left Pfizer because of a reshuffle before the intended megamerger with Allergan, and now, he has to undergo a similar situation with Intrexon, as the company has decided to spin out all of its human health projects under him into a separate company. The remaining biological engineering programs in fields such as food, energy and environmental science are not Germano’s core expertise, and he has decided to leave because his “preference is to work within the industry where I spent most of my life,” he said. His departure means chairman RJ Kirk has suspended process to step down as CEO. FierceBiotech

Novartis promotes Greater China chairman to lead restructured emerging markets

Novartis Logo

Xudong Yin

Xudong Yin will lead the company’s APMA operations.

Xudong Yin, Novartis’ current Greater China chairman, while retaining this position, will lead the combined Asia-Pacific, Middle East & Africa (APMA) businesses, succeeding the retiring regional head Carlos Garcia, as the Greater China market has been added under the leadership wing of APMA. According to his Linkedin profile, Garcia was the president of Novartis’ Latin America and Canada operations from February 2002 to August 2014, before he came to lead the Asia, Africa & Middle East section. Ying Zhang, the recently appointed COO of Novartis Pharma China, will become the operation’s president. The appointments have been confirmed by a media aide at the Swiss pharma, and the company said in a statement that the leadership changes are “in the normal course of business.”

Biogen taps Ghosh to lead early drug development

Anirvan Ghosh

Anirvan Ghosh, Ph.D., was named SVP of research and early development.

Some new blood for Biogen: Anirvan Ghosh, Ph.D., formerly CSO of E-Scape Bio, has joined the neurological diseases expert as SVP of research and early development, where he will oversee development of drug candidates from idea through proof of concept. Prior to E-Scape Bio, Ghosh used to serve as VP, global head of neuroscience discovery and biomarmerks at Roche. Before joining the industry, Ghosh was a professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University and the University of California, San Diego. He focused his academic research on understanding how connections in the brain are established during development and how these connections may be affected in neurodevelopmental disorders. Release

Trump picks industry favorite Gottlieb to run FDA


Scott Gottlieb

Scott Gottlieb was nominated as FDA commissioner.

President Donald Trump has talked in several occasions about his intention to revamp the FDA, and now he has chosen former FDA deputy commissioner Scott Gottlieb to lead the drug regulatory agency. Gottlieb has a history of calling for faster approvals, greater regulatory transparency and a realignment of the balance of power between FDA and doctors, and he is also a believer in the potential for FDA to drive down the cost of drugs or drug prices by pushing for faster generic approvals. The nomination was welcomed by the biopharma industry, mainly because of the relative restraint he shows, plus the understanding of both the FDA and the industry. Gottlieb is currently a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a clinical assistant professor at New York University and a health information technology adviser for the HHS. The nomination still awaits Senate confirmation. FierceBiotech | FiercePharma

> United Neuroscience, another biotech focused on Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, poached Biogen's VP of neurology drug discovery and development center, Ajay Verma, M.D., Ph.D., as CMO. Release

> Chris Hansis, M.D., Ph.D., founder of New York-based CRO TransCell, became BioreclamationIVT's CSO through an acquistion. FierceCRO

> IRX Therapeutics, a company focused on cancer immunotherapies, named Mark Leuchtenberger as president and CEO, and hired Monil Shah as COO. Release

> Relypsa, a Vifor Pharma company, announced the promotion of CCO Scott Garland to president, effective March 31. Release

> Seven Bridges, a biomedical data analysis company, made several exec appointments: The company's former SVP of Science & Product Brandi Davis-Dusenbery, Ph.D., was promoted to the position of CEO, succeeding co-founder Deniz Kural, Ph.D.; Michael Hultner, Ph.D., has joined  as Chief Strategy Officer, Mike Falvey was named CFO, and Bruce Press was promoted to EVP of business development and strategy. Release