Chutes & Ladders—Lonza seeking experience in CEO successor


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.

Lonza's next CEO to be pharma or biotech vet, chairman says

The drugmaker is eyeing candidates to replace Mark Funk

Lonza’s search for a new CEO could take longer than the last leader served in that role. The Swiss CDMO says it intends to name a new leader this year to replace Funk, who resigned from the top position after only about nine months. Chairman Albert Baehny says Lonza intends to name someone with at least two decades of pharma or biotech experience as the company continues to build those businesses and prepares to turn its struggling chemicals unit into a standalone operation. Baehny has a shortlist of six potential replacements, all veterans of “pharma or biotech” and all from outside the company, he said in a meeting with media members following the release of earnings Tuesday, Reuters reported. He said final interviews will start soon. FiercePharma 

Hengrui's Sun Piaoyang, China's richest pharma leader, steps down after 30-year run—sort of

Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine
Sun Piaoyang 
will step aside as major chairman. 

Piaoyang, who’s led Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine for 30 years, will no longer serve as the Chinese pharma major’s chairman, the company said in a securities filing last week. Taking his place will be Zhou Yunshu, a Hengrui veteran who’s been its president for 17 years. Shedding the chairman title doesn’t mean Sun is retiring, though. For one thing, he’s still chairman of the Hengrui group and the drugmaker’s real controller. The Hengrui group is the Shanghai-listed pharma company’s largest shareholder, with a stake of almost one-fourth, and Sun holds about 90% equity interest in that group. That level of ownership in one of China’s largest anti-cancer drugmakers makes Sun the wealthiest in the country’s pharma sector. FiercePharma

Respiratory device maker Vyaire Medical taps new CEO

Vyaire Medical
Gaurav Agarwal will take over as CEO.

Agarwal will take over for Dave Eckley, who will maintain his seat on the board of directors of the company, based outside of Chicago. Agarwal most recently served as president and chief operating officer of wound care-focused KCI, which was acquired by international conglomerate 3M last October in a $6.7 billion deal to expand its surgical offerings. Before that, he was president of Smith & Nephew’s orthopedic reconstruction business and a VP at GE Healthcare. Vyaire was launched in 2016, when investment group Apax Partners acquired Becton Dickinson’s ailing respiratory business and spun it out into a standalone company, with thousands of individual products across ventilation, diagnostics, vital sign tracking, nebulizers, masks and more. FierceMedTech

> Pittsburgh-based Krystal Biotech has named Jennifer Chien as its first chief commercial officer. Chien most recently served as VP and head of genetic diseases at Sanofi Genzyme. Release

> Redwood City, California-based Guardant Health has appointed Kumud Kalia as the company’s new chief information officer. Kalia most recently served as chief information and technology officer at Cylance and previously served as CIO at Akamai Technologies. Release

> Durham, North Carolina-based Mycovia Pharmaceuticals has tapped Laura Randa as VP of market access, health economics and outcomes research and public policy and Mare Lynn Fitch as senior director of marketing. Release