Chutes & Ladders—Maraganore's post-Alnylam ambitions take flight

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


Maraganore, fresh off Alnylam gig, plots course to become biotech multiplier, matchmaker and mentor

RTW Investments 
John Maraganore, Ph.D., was announced as an executive partner of RTW Investments.

That was fast. After handing over the reins to Alnylam on New Year's Eve, Maraganore has already lined up myriad new roles on his quest to become a biotech multiplier, matchmaker and mentor. He's become the chair of Hemab Therapeutics’ board of directors, he'll chair the n-Lorem Foundation’s advisory council and he's been announced as an executive partner of RTW investments, an investment firm that once backed Alnylam when the company needed it most. “They had the vision to invest in Alnylam when most of the world had given up on the company,” Maraganore told Fierce Biotech. Maraganore plans to join the boards of certain companies he’s excited about and mentor future leaders in the industry. Meanwhile, Alnylam's CEO spot will be filled by Yvonne Greenstreet, previously the company's president and chief operating officer. Fierce Biotech


Eikon Therapeutics, flush with $500M raise, bolsters executive ranks by 6

Eikon Therapeutics
Daniel Anderson, Ph.D., joins as chief scientific officer, alongside five other new Eikon execs. 

Anderson is just one of many executives entering the upper echelons at Eikon. Hot off a $517.8 million series B, the company announced it was bolstering its top brass by six. Alongside Anderson, who joins from Recursion Pharmaceuticals as chief scientific officer, Russ Berman, Eikon’s chief technical officer, has entered the fold from Pacific Biosciences, where he was VP of engineering. The company’s new CFO, Alfred Bowie Jr., came over from Veracyte. Pliant Therapeutics' former chief human resources officer Barbara Howes joined Eikon as chief people officer and EVP. Chief Information Officer Ashish Kheterpal reached Eikon status after joining from PACT Pharma, where he held the same position. Finally, General Counsel and Chief Business Officer Ben Thorner hails from Merck. Thorner most recently served as SVP and head of business development and licensing at Merck Research Laboratories. Fierce Biotech


Exelixis taps Merck vet as CMO as it plots course eastward

Exelixis
Vicki Goodman, M.D., joins the fold as chief medical officer.

Exelixis has recruited an industry and regulatory veteran to drive its R&D engine eastward. Goodman joins from Merck, where she was VP of clinical research and therapeutic area head for late-stage oncology. Goodman has also held top clinical development posts at pharma majors Bristol Myers Squibb and GlaxoSmithKline, and she served as a medical officer in the FDA’s then-division of Drug Oncology Products from 2004 to 2007. After years homing in on small-molecule drug discovery and development, which culminated in the company’s massively successful Cabometyx, Exelixis is bolstering its pipeline and discovery efforts, Goodman said in an interview. She joins during what she sees as an "inflection point" for the company. Goodman will also take a leading role in the company’s newly announced plans to expand development to the East Coast. Goodman, who will be based in the greater Philadelphia area, will be instrumental in putting together a new team to complement Exelixis’ existing R&D firepower on the West Coast, she said. Fierce Biotech


> Spruce Biosciences tapped Javier Szwarcberg, M.D., MPH, as its new CEO and member of the board. Meanwhile, Samir Gharib, MBA, has risen to the rank of president and will continue in his role as chief financial officer. Szwarcberg most recently served as the group vice president and head of program and portfolio development for BioMarin Pharmaceuticals. Release

> Sandra Cavanah joins Crossover Health as chief financial officer, alongside Fred Melendres, who enters as general counsel. Cavanah comes from Vida Health, where she spearheaded three oversubscribed financing rounds resulting in $200 million in funding. Melendres, for his part, has served as outside counsel to Crossover since the early days of the company’s founding.

> Terns Pharmaceuticals has summoned Jeffrey Jasper, Ph.D., into the role of senior vice president, head of research. Before making the Terns turn, Jasper was vice president of drug discovery at Rubedo Life Sciences. Meanwhile, Turns has promoted Diana Chung to senior vice president and chief development officer. Release

> Christopher Beck has joined Context Therapeutics as senior vice president of operations, while Mark Fletcher, Ph.D., signs on as vice president of research and development. For some added context, Context's current head of CMC, Bill Rencher, Ph.D., is retiring. Rencher will stick around in an advisory role. Release

> Kenneth Galbraith will take up the mantle of chair and CEO at Zymeworks on Feb. 1, succeeding co-founder Ali Tehrani, Ph.D., who has served as president and CEO since 2003. Tehrani will stick around as an adviser to ease the transition, Zymeworks said in a release. Meanwhile, CFO Neil Klompas was promoted to the dual position of COO and CFO. Release

> April 4, Kate Haviland will take up the reins at Blueprint Medicines from Jeff Albers. Albers is switching over from his current role as chairman, president and CEO to executive chairman of the company's board of directors. Meanwhile, Haviland is moving up from chief operating officer to president and CEO. At the same time, Christina Rossi has been promoted from chief commercial officer to COO. Release

> The National Pharmaceutical Council has tapped Sharon Phares, Ph.D., MPH, as its new chief scientific officer. Phares previously served as senior vice president of research at Pharmaceutical Strategies Group, where she oversaw the strategy and execution of research and educational initiatives, including primary and sponsored research, plus client projects for pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Release

Entrada Therapeutics named Jared Cohen, Ph.D., JD, executive counsel. Armed with nearly 20 years of legal experience, Cohen has spent most of his career in the healthcare industry. Before joining Entrada in April 2020, Cohen was vice president of legal affairs at Repertoire Immune Medicines. Release