Chutes & Ladders: John Kapoor retires from troubled Insys

Billionaire John Kapoor retired from beleaguered Insys as chairman and CEO.

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.

Troubled Insys bids farewell to founder and CEO John Kapoor

John Kapoor

Insys Therapeutics
John Kapoor retired as chairman and CEO.

John Kapoor, founder of Insys Therapeutics, took over the CEO role from Michael Babich in late 2015 amid controversy over Subsys marketing. Indictment followed. It was not long after two sales managers were brought to face charges when the Department of Justice took in several Insys execs, including Babich, in the ongoing investigation of what the federal authority describes as “a nationwide conspiracy” to boost prescriptions of the company’s cancer-related painkiller Subsys by bribing doctors.

The company’s third quarter revenue in 2016 dropped 39.5% year over year because of lower Subsys volumes and “continued pressure from third-party payers.” It announced plan in last September to relieve Kapoor from the post, but his tenure fell short of the original plan with his sudden departure. CMO Santosh Vetticaden has taken on the responsibility on an interim basis as the company continues to seek for a permanent replacement. FiercePharma

Ex-Biogen boss Scangos to helm infectious disease startup

George Scangos

Vir Biotechnology
George Scangos heads the startup.

George Scangos announced his plan to leave Biogen last July—now that Biogen has already picked Michel Vounatsos as its new CEO, it’s about time that its ex-boss Scangos “remarried.” Scangos has found himself unable to pass up the opportunity to lead California-based startup Vir Biotechnology as the company went public. With financial backing from ARCH Venture Partners—which is investing $150 million—and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the company aims to take on “some of the world's most challenging infectious diseases for which solutions are non-existent or inadequate.” FierceBiotech

Sobi CEO McDonough to leave as company focuses on Europe

Geoffrey McDonough

Geoffrey McDonough will leave the company.

Swedish Orphan Biovitrum’s current CEO Geoffrey McDonough has been based in the U.S. since the company opened an office in Waltham, Massachusetts, in 2014. The Atlantic Ocean in between seems to have become a bigger problem now as the “the increasing demand and focus of our business in Europe,” said the Swedish biotech’s chairman Håkan Björklund. McDonough, who came on board with rare disease specialist Sobi in 2011 after a stint at Genzyme, another rare disease biotech. FierceBiotech

> AstraZeneca moved subsidiary MedImmune’s SVP of global clinical development Jamie Freedman to head of AZ's oncology. Release

> Rapid growth spurred McCann Health to recruit ex-Publicis HR exec Geline Midouin as its first global chief talent officer. FiercePharmaMarketing

> BenevolentAI became the first artificial intelligence company to create a position of chief medical officer as Patrick Keohane, formerly with R&D sections at Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca, was appointed CMO of BenevolentBio, a subsidiary of the British AI company. Access AI story

RXi Pharmaceuticals, an RNA interference company, completed acquisition of MirImmune and appointed the latter’s CEO Alexey Eliseev—co-founder of Therascope, which was later acquired by Amgen as Alantos Pharmaceuticals—as chief business officer. Release

Mithra Pharmaceuticals tapped Hamon Group director of group treasury and credit risk management Christophe Maréchal as CFO. Release

> Instem, supplier of IT solutions to early development healthcare market, tapped former Paraxel VP of Global Regulatory Services MaryBeth Thompson as COO. Release

> Dominic Piscitelli, former VP of finance, strategy and investor relations at Medivation, a person who played a key role in the company’s acquisition by Pfizer, has been appointed CFO of AnaptysBio, which is developing antibody products. Release

> Cleave Biosciences promoted Kanya Rajangam to CMO, and she will continue to oversee Cleave’s development of drug candidate CB-5083 in hematological and solid tumor malignancies. Release

> MDxHealth appointed Jean-Marc Roelandt as CFO and expected more than 60% revenue growth in 2016 over 2015 because of growth of ConfirmMDx and early adoption of SelectMDx for prostate cancer. Release

> Tempus, which is building a library of molecular and clinical data to enable physicians to deliver personalized cancer care, selected Dr. Gary Palmer as CMO. Release