Chutes & Ladders—Jnana President Joanne Kotz to take on CEO role

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

Jnana President Joanne Kotz to take on CEO role

Jnana Therapeutics

Co-founder Joanne Kotz, Ph.D., will be CEO.

Kotz has served as president of the 2018 Fierce 15 winner since December of last year. She has helped form the Boston-based company’s initial scientific strategy and lead its business operations since its launch in January 2017. Before that, Kotz was an assistant director of F-Prime Capital Partners’ biomedical research initiative that focused on early-stage neurodegenerative development. FierceBiotech

BioCardia brings on new clinical affairs VP for phase 3

Mark Schwartz was named VP of clinical affairs.

BioCardia brought on Schwartz as it moves forward with a phase 3 trial of its cell therapy treatment for heart failure following a heart attack. He has helped lead clinical study design and execution for cardiovascular medical devices, resulting in regulatory approvals for Boston Scientific, The Sorin Group and Guidant, among others. Most recently, he served as VP of clinical and regulatory affairs for the cardiac resynchronization developer EBR Systems. FierceMedtech

Biomatics recruits biopharma veterans for $300M healthcare fund

Biomatics Capital Partners
Errik Anderson and Mike Poole, M.D., signed on as venture partners.

Anderson, who has cofounded biotech companies including Adimab, Alector and Compass Therapeutics, will join the firm’s Boston office, to help with Biomatics' second fund that aims to invest in 15 to 20 companies. Poole, who helped lead R&D technology investment at the Gates Foundation, will focus on data- and genomics-based approaches to neurological disorders. Previously, Poole headed up neuroscience innovation at AstraZeneca and served as VP of neuroscience at Pfizer. Biomatics' first fund invested $200 million into the likes of Denali Therapeutics, BlackThorn Therapeutics and Grail. FierceBiotech

> FiercePharma named its 2018 class of the Fiercest Women in Life Sciences

> Merrimack is set to lay off 60% of its staff and halt development of its lead candidate in response to setbacks in the clinic. Last year, it sold its approved pancreatic cancer drug Onivyde to Ipsen and reduced its headcount by around 80%, as it transformed back into a clinical-phase biotech with a headcount of 72, down from more than 400 early in 2016. FierceBiotech

> CuraSen Therapeutics named Gabriel Vargas, M.D., Ph.D., its chief medical officer. Vargas previously served as executive medical director for digital health and neuroscience head for early development at Amgen. He was also a biomarker expert, translational medicine leader and director of discovery medicine at Roche. Release

> Denali Therapeutics appointed Grail CEO Jennifer Cook to its board of directors. Previously, Cook held a number of senior management positions at at Roche and Genentech during a 25-year tenure. Release

> Deloitte named Doug Beaudoin leader of its U.S. life sciences and healthcare industry work, and appointed Stephen Burrill to lead its healthcare sector. Working with life sciences sector leader Greg Reh, they will help lead the overall strategic direction of the practice and oversee strategies for Deloitte's audit, consulting, tax and advisory services. Release

> Rachel King joined the board of directors of Novavax. King is the co-founder and CEO of GlycoMimetics and has served as a senior VP of Novartis, and helped run its subsidiary Genetic Therapy. She also currently serves on BIO's executive committee. Release

> The mitral valve company CardioMech appointed Richard Nehm as president and CEO, and Mark Novotny as chairman of its board of directors. Nehm previously held leadership roles with Boston Scientific, Tendyne Holdings and ATS Medical. Novotny is currently president and CEO of Spinal Stabilization Technologies, after serving at Boston Scientific and CeloNova BioSciences. Release

> Swiss clinical trial patient recruitment specialist Clinerion is moving to new digs in its home base of Basel as it continues to expand and ramp up employment. FierceCRO