Chutes & Ladders—MHRA CEO Raine to depart in Autumn

 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 or Gabrielle Masson, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

UK’s MHRA CEO steps down

Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

Dame June Raine, CEO of Britain’s top healthcare and pharmaceutical regulatory body, is stepping down in Autumn, the agency announced this week. Her departure marks the end of a five-year tenure. 

Headshot of departing UK MHRA CEO Dame June Raine

Before joining in August 2019, she was the agency’s director of vigilance and risk management of medicines. Her leadership has extended to all of Europe, with her role as chair of the  European Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee and until recently, co-chair of the World Health Organization’s Advisory Committee on Safety of Medicinal Products. She studied medicine at Oxford after receiving a Master's degree there in pharmacology. In a release, Raine said she hopes to continue contributing to public health in “other ways.” 

“Her leadership of the MHRA over the last five years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been exceptional,” interim MHRA board chair Graham Cooke said in the agency’s announcement. Release

Pfizer’s new head of venture capital and equity investments joins BD team


Pfizer’s new head of venture capital and equity investments is off to the races. Michael Diem, M.D., began on February 12, according to a spokesperson, replacing Barbara Dalton, who departs at the end of March. 

Diem was most recently CFO at Century Therapeutics, where he was also the chief business officer before changing titles. Prior to Century, he was the SVP of business and corporate development at Amicus Therapeutics. He has big shoes to fill with Dalton completing a more than 16-year tenure with the New York pharma. She joined back in 2007 after seven years with EuclidSR Partners logo EuclidSR Partners, according to her LinkedIn. 

Ex-Ionis exec rejoins company to lead commercial strategy

Ionis Pharmaceuticals

“This is see you later, not goodbye.”

I imagine that being tucked somewhere in the departure email Kyle Jenne sent when he last left Ionis. Who's to say? (Kyle Jenne, probably.) 

The former chief commercial officer is back, now with the shiny new title of Chief Global Product Strategy Officer. He previously helped lead commercial work at Akcea Therapeutics before they were acquired by Ionis in 2021. He stayed on as chief commercial officer for a little more than a year before taking new gigs at Elsie Biotechnologies and Eversana. 

So much for that! He rejoins the company following the departure of Onaiza Cadoret-Manier, who's leaving to pursue a new opportunity, according to Ionis. 

"On a personal level, I'm thrilled to be back at Ionis working with this incredibly talented and dedicated team,” Jenne said in a release. Release

> Benjamin Kim, Ph.D., is being bumped up to partner at venture capital firm Playground Global. His focus is on finding founders and companies, specifically those working with artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance drug discovery. Release

> OncoNano Medicine has promoted Kartik Krishnan, M.D., Ph.D., to CEO, his second promotion in two years. He joined in 2022 as chief medical officer and was named President and head of R&D last year. Melissa Paoloni is also being promoted to EVP and Chief Operating Officer, just a couple of months after joining the company. Release

> Disc Medicine has added Pamela Stephenson as chief commercial officer, an executive with significant experience in rare disease markets.  She most recently served at Albireo, which was acquired by Ipsen, and also worked at Vertex. Release

> Watch out, FORE Biotherapeutics has a new CEO. The oncology biotech nabbed William Hinshaw from the same role at Axcella Therapeutics. He previously oversaw Novartis’ oncology business. Release

> Day One Biopharmaceuticals has promoted Elly Barry, M.D, to chief medical officer, from her previous role of head of clinical development. She came to Day One from Pfizer, where she was head of pediatric oncology. Barry replaces Raphaël Rousseau, M.D., Ph.D., who is moving to a strategic advisory consulting role. Release

> Peter Thiel is moving on from Abcellera’s board of directors for personal reasons, effective March 7. He called biotech “a nefariously difficult and vital field,” in a statement announcing the change. Release

> And ReNAgade Therapeutic’s first chief science innovation officer is: Joe Bolen, Ph.D. He is also an executive partner at MPM BioImpact and previously served as chief scientific officer at PureTech Health and as president of research and development at Moderna Therapeutics. Release

> Domain Therapeutics is establishing Stephan Schann as chief scientific officer, promoting him from his role as vice president of research. He will oversee the development of the biotech’s GPCR-targeted cancer immunotherapies. Release

> Vittoria Biotherapeutics has picked Rosemary Mazanet, M.D., Ph.D. as chief medical officer, where she will help move lead asset VIPER-101 into the clinic for T-cell lymphoma. Release

> Gavin Spencer will be Nicox SA’s next CEO, as he ascends the corporate ladder from his previous position of chief business officer. He’ll get right down to business trying to secure financing to complete the phase 3 trial of glaucoma med NCX 470.  Release

> Kathy Wilkinson will build a team of top talent in her new role as chief people officer at Rapport Therapeutics. She moves over from 2seventy bio, where she held the same role. Release

> Kineta is up against some tough circumstances, and CEO Shawn Iadonato, Ph.D., and General Counsel and Secretary Pauline Kenny are facing the brunt. The two executives are part of a seven-person workforce reduction as the company seeks strategic options. Story