Chutes & Ladders—GlaxoSmithKline poaches Roche executive for pipeline deal-making

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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 (email), and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

GSK steals Genentech executive to lead R&D deal-making

Kevin Sin

Kevin Sin was named SVP and head of worldwide business development for pharmaceuticals R&D. 

After bringing on former Roche/Genentech CMO Hal Barron as its new CSO, GlaxoSmithKline has poached a sitting Genentech executive to lead its pipeline deal-making efforts. Kevin Sin, who has been Genentech’s oncology business development head for eight years, will join GSK in July to guide the company’s searches for R&D deals, reporting to Barron. CEO Emma Walmsley took the reins last April with a mission to enliven the company’s pipeline, with a focus in respiratory, HIV/infectious diseases, oncology and immune-inflammation, areas where Sin may be put to work. FierceBiotech

Sanofi CFO to retire after an eventful 9 years

Sanofi small logo
Jerome Contamine

Jérôme Contamine will retire as CFO.

Jérôme Contamine, who became Sanofi’s CFO in 2009, will end his run later this year. The French pharma has been active on the M&A front these years. In 2009, it bought Zentiva, the European generics outfit that it’s now nearing a deal to sell to Advent. The $20 billion acquisition of Genzyme in 2011 shifted the company’s focus away from Europe for the first time. In 2016, it traded its animal health unit Merial in exchange for Boehringer Ingelheim’s consumer health group. After failed attempts at Actelion and Medivation, it picked up hemophilia-focused Bioverativ for $11.6 billion this year. FiercePharma

Novartis lures Amgen’s one-year CMO for its own

Novartis Logo
John Tsai

John Tsai, M.D., will become head of global drug development and CMO.

John Tsai, M.D., is jumping to Novartis as CMO, the position left vacant after Vas Narasimhan, M.D., moved up to CEO in February. Tsai took up the same position at Amgen just last May, after 11 years with Bristol-Myers Squibb, and prior to that, he spent six years at Pfizer. In Narasimhan’s own words, Tsai’s experience in cardiovascular, oncology and neuroscience, combined with his background in electrical engineering “will be a source of great strength for Novartis.” Narasimhan is pushing for harnessing the power of digital technologies for drug R&D, and has just revamped the executive team to do it. FierceBiotech

FDA CDER director jumps ship to AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca Logo
Badrul Chowdhury

Badrul Chowdhury became SVP for R&D at MedImmune.

Badrul Chowdhury, recently CDER’s director of the division focused on pulmonary, allergy and rheumatology products, has left after 21 years with the agency. His next stop is AstraZeneca, where he’ll serve as SVP for R&D at MedImmune and as head of its innovative medicine early development unit. Chowdhury joins two other recent FDA members who have switched careers to AZ. Sarah Pope Miksinski, former acting director of CDER’s office of new drug products, is now AZ’s senior director for global regulatory affairs, and Geoffrey Kim, former director of the center’s division of oncology products, became AZ’s VP of oncology and head of oncology strategic collaborations last July. FierceBiotech

> Stoke Therapeutics expanded its leadership team with two new hires. Gene Liau, Ph.D., a biopharma veteran who has led R&D work at Pfizer, Shire and Novartis, was appointed EVP and head of research and preclinical development; Meena, Ph.D., who was recently with wave Life Sciences, became VP of bioanalytical, DMPK and biomarker development. Release

> Oncolytics Biotech lost its CMO Andres Gutierrez, M.D., Ph.D., shortly before a scheduled pivotal metastatic breast cancer trial. FierceBiotech

> John A. Orwin, formerly CEO of Relypsa, became Atreca's president and CEO, replacing co-founder Tito A. Serafini, who will transition to chief strategy officer. Release

> Former Dynavax CCO and Merck veteran Brant Biehn joined fellow vaccine maker Vaxart as SVP of commercial operations. Release

> Actinium Pharmaceuticals, which focuses on bone marrow transplant, hired Vijay Reddy, M.D., Ph.D., as VP of clinical development. He previously served with AbbVie's Pharmacyclics, AstraZeneca's MedImmune and Janssen. Release

> Rare disease-focused Orphazyme just established its U.S. subsidiary, and named its CCO Paul Merrigan the unit's president. Release

> Former Institut Pasteur researcher Georges Rawadi, Ph.D., succeeded Jean-Luc Treillou as LNC Therapeutics' new CEO. Release