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.
Medivation founder David Hung takes CEO job at Axovant
David Hung, M.D., became CEO.
David Hung, M.D., the man who sold the biotech he co-founded, Medivation, to Pfizer for more than $14 billion, is joining Axovant Sciences, a drug developer focused on the risky therapeutic area of Alzheimer’s, as CEO. He brings with him former Medivation COO Marion McCourt, who will serve in the same role at Axovant.
To Axovant investors, the appointment is more than the outcome of a personal connection between the company’s founder Vivek Ramaswamy and Hung, but a vote of confidence from a biotech mogul with impressive business record in its pipeline—Alzheimer’s candidate intepirdine currently in phase 3. The news immediately sent Axovant’s share price up 30%, and the company has decided to provide $125 million share offering, with Hung purchasing $10 million. FierceBiotech | Read more at FierceBiotech
Destiny hires CEO with two IPO records
Neil Clark was named CEO.
Destiny Pharma has brought on biotech veteran Neil Clark as its CEO. Formerly serving as CFO at CRO Ergomed, Clark helped with the company’s IPO in July 2014. In 2016, he moved to become CEO of PrimeVigilance, which Ergomed had completed acquisition of as part of the IPO. Prior to Ergomed, he was CEO with CeNeS Pharmaceuticals from 2001 until Paion bought the business in 2008. CeNeS went public in 1999 when Clark was serving as its CFO.
Destiny Pharma is currently in a critical moment as it prepares for a phase 2b trial of anti-infective candidate XF-73 as a potential first-in-class drug for the prevention of post-surgical infections from all strains of Staphylococcus aureus. FierceBiotech
Allergan taps finance expert at J.P. Morgan to manage investor relations
Daphne Karydas joined as SVP of global investor relations and strategy.
Allergan has hired Daphne Karydas, most recently at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, as its SVP of global investor relations and strategy. Her comprehensive knowledge of financial, healthcare and biopharma industry, which helps “provide the fire power necessary to identify and set strategic objectives” landed her the job, said Brent Saunders, chairman and CEO of Allergan.
Prior to J.P. Morgan, Karydas was a healthcare equity research analyst and portfolio manager at The Boston Company Asset Management, a Bank of New York Mellon company. Before that, she was a VP at Goldman Sachs where she worked in the investment banking division as well as Goldman Sachs Asset Management focused on healthcare companies. Release
> Flexion Therapeutics announced that Yamo Deniz, M.D., formerly VP and global head of medical for rare diseases at Sanofi Genzyme, will be the company’s new CMO, while company co-founder and current CMO Neil Bodick, M.D., Ph.D., will take on the role of CSO. Release
> Novartis and Genzyme alum Joan Mannick, M.D., was named CMO of resTORbio, a subsidiary of PureTech Health. Release
> Eric Bjerkholt, previously Sunesis Pharmaceuticals' CFO, joined food allergies treatment-focused Aimmune in the same role. Release
> Keith Murphy will be stepping down from his role as Organovo's CEO to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities, and Taylor Crouch, previously CEO of eStudySite, will succeed him. Release
> ShangPharma Innovation, a new division of the ShangPharma Group, hired industry veteran Walter Moos, Ph.D., as CEO. Release