Chutes & Ladders—John Mascola departs NIAID's Vaccine Research Center after 22 years

 Chutes and LaddersWelcome 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 Max Bayer, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

John Mascola leaves NIAID's R&D hub after 22 years, including 9 as director

Vaccine Research Center

John Mascola, M.D., director of the Vaccine Research Center

John Mascola, M.D., is leaving the Vaccine Research Center (VRC)—NIAID's R&D hub—after 22 years, including nine as director. He helped launch the center back in 2000 after it was announced three years earlier as part of President Bill Clinton's quest to develop an HIV vaccine within 10 years. 

His tenure has been marked by evolution; the center no longer focuses squarely on HIV but also on other diseases. He helped oversee the development of an Ebola treatment and novel changes to protein structures that helped pioneer a whole new model for vaccines, particularly RSV for which a number of companies are now chasing a jab. But his crowning achievement is likely the VRC's collaboration with Moderna on a COVID vaccine, which remains on of the most effective in the world. In an interview with Fierce Biotech, he acknowledged that after taking a break, he'll be joining the industry at a yet-to-be-named company where he'll continue work on vaccines. Fierce Biotech

Former Merck CEO Ken Frazier joins three former colleagues at Eikon

Eikon Therapeutics

Ken Frazier
(General Catalyst)

Former Merck CEO Ken Frazier is hopping onto Eikon Therapeutic's board, joining three former Merck colleagues who have made the switch to the piping-hot startup. Frazier's appointment comes a week after former Merck CMO Roy Baynes, Ph.D., jumped to Eikon for the same role and after Ben Thorner who came aboard as CBO earlier this year. All three follow Roger Perlmutter, M.D., Ph.D, who took the helm of Eikon in May 2021 after leaving his post as president of Merck Research Labs. 

Frazier resigned from Merck in February 2021 after nearly 30 years at the company, although he stayed on as executive chairman of the board. He's also on the board of Exxon and Weil Cornell Medicine in addition to chairing the health assurance initiatives at venture capital firm General Catalyst. Fierce Biotech

Bone Therapeutics slashes C-suite amid pipeline overhaul, including CEO 

Bone Therapeutics 

Orthopedic-focused biotech Bone Therapeutics is showing four C-suite execs the door, including CEO Miguel Forte, amid an overhaul of its pipeline. In an emailed statement to Fierce Biotech, Forte also disclosed that the company trimmed 25% of its workforce in early March.

In addition to Forte, the executive layoffs include CSO Tony Ting, CBO Stefanos Theoharis and CFO Lieve Creten. The decision to cut staff comes as the company is directing all its R&D resources toward its lead allogenic cell therapy using bone-forming cells, ALLOB. But the financial woes are clear after the company reported only having enough cash to last until the third quarter of 2022. The company is also struggling to finalize a global licensing deal with a Chinese partner. Fierce Biotech   

> This year will be the last for Alberto Mas at BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) after nearly 30 years at the medical diagnostic maker. Currently EVP and president of the company's medical segment, Mas will retire at the end of September. Fierce Biotech

> Karyopharm is plucking Reshma Rangwala, M.D., Ph.D., for CMO after she held the same role at Aravive, helping lead the development of batiraxcept across a number of tumor types. Prior to that, Rangwala was medical VP at Genmab and an executive at Merck helping steer development of blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda. Fierce Biotech

> After more than five years at Takeda, Douglas Faller, M.D., Ph.D., is jumping ship to be global chief medical officer at Oryzon. Faller has more than 30 years of experience in hematology and oncology and previously was CMO and CSO at Viracta Therapeutics. Release

> Flavia Pease is taking over as chief financial officer of Charles River Laboratories after overseeing finances for J&J's global medical devices business, wrapping up a more than 20-year career at the Big Pharma. Release

> Ankyra Therapeutics is promoting Howard Kaufman, M.D., to CEO after a stint as chief medical officer. Prior to joining Ankyra, Kaufman held roles as CMO at Replimune and head of R&D at Immuneering. Release

Exact Therapeutics XS is bringing on Per Walday, Ph.D., as CEO after 14 years at the helm of PCI Biotech. Release

> Claudio Dansky Ullmann, M.D., is moving over to Avenge Bio as chief medical officer, the same role he's held at MaxCyte CARMA Cell Therapies. Ullmann brings more than 25 years of oncology experience to the job as Avenge looks to propel its immune effector molecules to treat solid tumors. Release

> After leading Flexion onto Wall Street in 2014, Fred Driscoll is leaving to oversee finances for Renovacor as its new chief financial officer. Driscoll comes with more than 25 years of executive biotech experience as Renovacor hopes to propel its precision meds to treat genetically driven cardiovascular and mechanistically related diseases. Release

Cytel has hired Albert Kim, M.D., Ph.D., as its first chief medical officer. Kim makes the jump after more than 21 years in medicine and drug development, most recently as VP of clinical research head for Pfizer’s internal medicine research unit. Release

> Venture capitalist and political activist Peter Thiel nominated three people to the board of Adagio Therapeutics through his private equity firm Mithril II. Disclosure

> Dragonfly Therapeutics made two new hires to bolster its safety and regulatory affairs units. First, it tapped Hesham Aboshady, M.D., as head of drug safety after working as associate vice president of clinical safety and risk management at Merck. The company also named Rajesh Israni as head of regulatory affairs after more than two decades at Bristol Myers Squibb and Sanofi. Release

> Pathalys Pharma made a slew of new hires to bolster its executive team, including a number of vice president and SVP additions. Joining the C-suit are COO Patrick Treanor, who comes after stints at J&J and Abbott, in addition to CMO Theodore Danoff, M.D., Ph.D., a two-decade pharma veteran. Release

> Jeff Porter, Ph.D., is moving over to Laekna Therapeutics to chair its scientific advisory board as the company looks to advance its treatments for cancer and liver fibrosis. Porter comes equipped with more than 25 years of experience, most recently as VP, global head of chemical biology and therapeutics for the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. Release