Chutes & Ladders—GlaxoSmithKline's chief science officer Barron departs for Bezos-backed startup

                          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 Kyle LaHucik, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Altos Labs poaches GlaxoSmithKline's science head Hal Barron to lead $3 billion Bezos-backed startup with disease-reversing goal

Altos Labs
Hal Barron, M.D., said sayonara to GlaxoSmithKline to become CEO of Altos Labs.

The four-year chief scientific officer of GSK will transition to a nonexecutive director role to support R&D when he hands the baton to Pfizer veteran Tony Wood, Ph.D., in August. Barron will then dive into Bezos-backed Altos to steer the ship of the biotech that aims to reverse disease. Barron will be joining a biotech with hordes of capital. That's $3 billion to be exact. Fierce Biotech

Merck veteran Frank Clyburn to leave human health division to become CEO of another company 

Frank Clyburn will exit his post as head of Merck's human health division on Feb. 1 to helm another company. 

The 14-year Merck veteran, who is EVP and president of human health at the New Jersey drugmaker, will take up the CEO post at International Flavors & Fragrances on Valentine's Day. His decade and a half at Merck included management of products in diabetes, cardiovascular disease and women's health. His post as president of human health was a short-lived stint that began only last March. Prior to that, he was chief commercial officer for the unit. His departure comes half a year after ex-CEO Ken Frazier left.

Meanwhile, Merck named David Weinstock, M.D., its VP of discovery oncology as of Jan. 18. Fierce Pharma

Less than seven days into job, new Zymeworks CEO says goodbye to half of exec team and plans to cull 25% of workforce

Kenneth Galbraith said bye to Chief Scientific Officer Tony Polverino, Ph.D., as well as the biotech's chief people and commercial leaders, among others. 

After beginning Jan. 15, Galbraith decided he didn't want half his leadership team. And, while he's at it, the new CEO said one-quarter of the biotech's overall workforce will be out the door by the end of this year. That could be about 100 employees, considering the oncology biotech had 455 full-time employees as of the end of September. The executive team shuffle happened a week or so before Galbraith was even supposed to join the company after his appointment was disclosed in early January. Fierce Biotech

> Within weeks of becoming CEO at Blueprint Medicines, Katie Haviland promoted two members to the C-suite: Philina Lee, Ph.D., as chief commercial officer, and Helen Ho, Ph.D., who becomes chief business officer. Fierce Pharma

> Alongside a $111 million series B, cancer biotech ImmPACT Bio named ex-Baxter Pharmaceuticals President Sumant Ramachandra, M.D., Ph.D., as its CEO and president. Ramachandra replaces Rick Kendall, Ph.D., who will move to chief scientific officer. Fierce Biotech

> After nearly a dozen years at Kala Pharmaceuticals, since its origins in 2010, Hongming Chen has left the chief scientific officer post to become head of R&D and president of Metis Therapeutics. Fierce Biotech

> University of Oxford professor Charlotte Deane, Ph.D., is the first chief scientist of biologics artificial intelligence at AI drug discovery company Exscientia. Fierce MedTech

> Acutus Medical plans to lay off part of its workforce, likely at least 50 employees, to cut costs. Fierce MedTech

> Bausch + Lomb poached Allergan's eye care clinical leader Yehia Hashad, M.D., to be EVP of R&D and chief medical officer starting the last day of January. Release

> Liver cell therapy biotech Ambys Medicines named Corinne Foo-Atkins its first chief strategy officer after serving as VP of product strategy at NGM Biopharmaceuticals. Release

> Cancer biotech GenomiCare Biotechnology selected Shusen Liu, M.D., Ph.D., as chief medical officer after working at Bristol Myers Squibb. Release

> ElevateBio named Andrew Sandford president of ElevateBio BaseCamp, the innovation center of the cell and gene therapy company. Sandford was previously co-founder and CEO VRex Therapeutics. Release

> Neurological med tech company NeuroOne Medical named Chad Wilhelmy as VP of quality control and regulatory affairs after serving as a VP at HLT Medical. Release

> Regenerative medicine biotech Rion hired Alisa Lask as chief commercial officer after holding the post of VP and general manager of U.S. aesthetics at Galderma. Release

> Rare disorder biopharma PTC Therapeutics promoted Matthew Klein to chief operating officer. Release

> Bioinformatics company M2GEN named Daniel Elgort, Ph.D., its chief data and analytics officer and May Yoon its chief people officer. Release

> Protein degrader biotech Kymera Therapeutics named ex-Alnylam CEO John Maraganore, Ph.D., to its board. Release

> Rare disease gene therapy maker Krystal Biotech named Jing Marantz its chief business officer after recently holding the SVP and head of medical affairs posts at Acceleron Pharma. Release

> Radiopharmaceuticals biotech Aktis Oncology named Tyler Benedum, Ph.D., as SVP and head of chemistry, manufacturing and controls and Daša Lipovšek, Ph.D., as VP and head of lead discovery. Release

> Elevar Therapeutics named a slate of new hires: Jeff Heckman as VP of project management; Heidi Krenz, M.D., as VP of drug safety and pharmacovigilance; Amit Pande, M.D., as VP of clinical development and Wade Smith as VP of finance. Release

> Zhanna Jumadilova, M.D., is the new chief clinical development officer at metabolic biotech Clarus Therapeutics after serving as VP and head of clinical development at Insmed. Release

> Solid tumor and inflammatory biotech VBL Therapeutics named Matthew Trudeau its first chief commercial officer after serving as head of bluebird bio's U.S. business team. Release

> Neuroscience and immuno-oncology biotech BioXcel Therapeutics named Matt Wiley its chief commercial officer and SVP after holding the CCO post at Vyne Therapeutics. Release

> Precision therapies biotech Second Genome named Joseph Dal Porto, Ph.D., as chief scientific officer after serving as VP in Pfizer's emerging science and innovation division. Release

> Joseph Baroldi will become of EVP and chief business officer of Ionis Pharmaceuticals on Jan. 31, and Eric Bastings, M.D., will be VP of development strategy. Release

> Regenerative medicine company ViaCyte named Alyssa Levin as chief financial officer after she held the same post at Tentarix Biotherapeutics. Release

> Merck KGaA named Danny Bar-Zohar, M.D., its global head of R&D and Joern-Peter Halle, Ph.D., its chief strategy officer. Release

> Exo Therapeutics named Antonio Gualberto, M.D., Ph.D., its CMO and president of R&D after serving as CMO at Eisai's H3 Biomedicine. Release (PDF)

> Cardiovascular gene therapy biotech XyloCor Therapeutics named Elizabeth Tarka, M.D., its CMO and A. Brian Davis its CFO. Tarka held the same post at Idera Pharmaceuticals, and Davis held the same role at Verrica Pharmaceuticals. Release

> Cancer and serious diseases biotech ZielBio named Maria Beconi, Ph.D., as chief science officer, and Ramesh Ramanathan, M.D., as VP for clinical development, joining from Disc Medicines and Merck Research Labs, respectively. Release

> Antimicrobial and antifungal biotech Lakewood-Amedex named Sumita Paul, M.D., its CMO and SVP of R&D after serving as global head of clinical development for rare diseases at Phase Bio. Release

> Overland Pharmaceuticals promoted cofounder Ed Zhang to full-time CEO after serving as interim chief since May. Release

> Digestive diseases company 9 Meters Biopharma named Bethany Sensenig its CFO after she held the same post at Minovia Therapeutics. Release

> VC shop Third Rock Ventures promoted David Kaufman, M.D., Ph.D., to partner. Release