Chutes & Ladders—Kewalramani officially takes over as Vertex CEO

parachute jump
(Pixabay)

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


CMO Kewalramani takes over as Vertex CEO

Vertex Pharmaceuticals
CMO Reshma Kewalramani has officially moved into the CEO role. 

Kewalramani took over for CEO Jeffrey Leiden, who has permanently moved into the role of executive chairman. Among large drugmakers, only GlaxoSmithKline has a woman in its CEO spot. Unlike GSK chief Emma Walmsley, who came up on the commercial side, Kewalramani's background is in R&D. She joined Vertex in 2017 after 12 years in Amgen's R&D department. Vertex said its board worked with Leiden on a succession plan for several years; as lead independent director Bruce Sachs said in a statement, the drugmaker aimed—not unexpectedly—for a "smooth and effective leadership transition" that doesn't disrupt its strategy or operations. 

Virtual Roundtable

ASCO Explained: Expert predictions and takeaways from the world's biggest cancer meeting

Join FiercePharma for our ASCO pre- and post-show webinar series. We'll bring together a panel of experts to preview what to watch for at ASCO. Cancer experts will highlight closely watched data sets to be unveiled at the virtual meeting--and discuss how they could change prescribing patterns. Following the meeting, we’ll do a post-show wrap up to break down the biggest data that came out over the weekend, as well as the implications they could have for prescribers, patients and drugmakers.

Pfizer appoints Gates Foundation CEO to board 

Pfizer
Susan Desmond-Hellman has been named to the board of directors. 

Desmond-Hellmann served as CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation from 2014 until 2020, where she oversaw the creation of the Gates Medical Research Institute—the world’s first nonprofit biotech organization—as well as the launch of the Economic Mobility and Opportunity investment strategy in the U.S. She remains a senior adviser and board member of the Gates Medical Research Institute. Prior to joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she was the first female and ninth overall Chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco from 2009 until 2014, where she still serves as an adjunct professor. Release


Sera Prognostics names Moyes to head finances

Sera Prognostics 
Jay Moyes will come on board as CFO. 

Moyes currently serves as director on the public boards of Achieve Life Sciences, BioCardia and Puma Biotechnologies. His previous roles include board director service with Predictive Technology Group, Osiris Therapeutics, and Integrated Diagnostics. He also served as CFO and director of Amedica and XDx. At Myriad Genetics, Moyes led the finance function for 14 years from the company’s early private stage development. Release


> New York-based Q BioMed has tapped Kristin Keller as its first CCO. Keller has 20 years of experience at a range of life sciences companies including Alexion, Biomarin, Novartis, Sanofi, AstraZeneca and Roche. Release

> San Diego-based Locana has appointed Micah Mackison as CBO. Mackinson was most recently senior VP of corporate development and strategy at Assembly Biosciences, where he led business development efforts since 2015. Release (PDF)

> Eagen, Minnesota-based Prime Therapeutics has hired Stuart Meyerson as its new VP of sales. Meyerson has held leadership positions at Transamerica Life Solutions/Autumn Life Settlements, Radiology Corporation of America and, most recently, Healogics. Release

> Westminster, Colorado-based Flagship Biosciences has named Geoff Metcalf as VP of clinical diagnostics. Metcalf has previously held roles at Eli Lilly, Siemens and Beckman Coulter. 

> South San Francisco-based ORIC Pharmaceuticals has tapped Christian Kuhlen, M.D., as general counsel. Release

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