Chutes & Ladders—Mylan's Coury steps into exec chairman role

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.

Mylan crowns ex-CEO Coury as exec chairman as Upjohn merger drags on


Ex-CEO Robert J. Coury has been promoted to executive chairman.

Generics giant Mylan is bringing back Coury, its current chairman of the board and former CEO, to the role of executive chairman as the drugmaker navigates its way through the final stages of a generics megamerger with Pfizer's Upjohn unit, the company said Wednesday. Coury, who stepped away from the CEO role in 2012 in favor of Heather Bresch, previously held the executive chairman's job from 2012 to 2016. Coury's promotion will "formalize and align" his title to the work he's already been doing as Mylan responds to the novel coronavirus pandemic and pieces together its integration plans for the Upjohn merger, Mylan said. Coury's new title will carry over to his planned role at the merged company, dubbed Viatris. FiercePharma

Lawrence lands Cardurion CEO job after helping ArQule to Merck buyout

Cardurion Pharmaceuticals
Peter Lawrence will take the CEO role at the Takeda-partnered biotech.

Lawrence has taken the CEO job at Cardurion, a Takeda-partnered biotech that is moving a heart failure drug through the clinic. Lawrence landed the gig on the strength of a 14-year spell at ArQule that culminated in a $2.7 billion takeover by Merck. Working out of facilities in Massachusetts and Japan, Cardurion has begun to carve out a niche in the cardiovascular disease space, landing a deal with Takeda and licensing a drug from Astellas to speed its progress into the clinic. Along the way, Takeda and Polaris Partners have invested in Cardurion, which has disclosed financings worth upward of $25 million with the Securities and Exchange Commission. FierceBiotech

Five Prime taps Genentech vet Civik to take the helm

Five Prime Therapeutics
Genentech vet Thomas Civik has been appointed as CEO.

Civik joins from Foundation Medicine, where he was chief commercial officer, and takes over from William Ringo, Five Prime's executive chairman who’s been filling in as interim CEO since September. Five Prime has been without a permanent CEO since September, when Aron Knickerbocker left to “pursue new challenges and opportunities.” But the company hasn’t always had a revolving door of CEOs; Knickerbocker, formerly Five Prime’s chief operating officer, took over from Rusty Williams, who stepped down in 2017, 16 years after founding the company. Knickerbocker exited the company after it laid off 41 workers, about one-fifth of its workforce. As interim CEO, Ringo axed another 70 jobs “across all functions” so it could concentrate its resources on three “wholly-owned, late-stage research assets.” FierceBiotech

> The World Health Organization (WHO) has tasked ex-GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty with helping accelerate development of a COVID-19 vaccine. Witty is taking a leave of absence from his job at UnitedHealth Group until around the end of the year to co-lead the WHO initiative. FierceBiotech

> San Diego-based Mesa Biotech has appointed Ingo Chakravarty as president and CEO. Chakravarty most recently served as president and CEO of NAVICAN Genomics and previously worked at GenMark Diagnostics, Gen-Probe, Roche and Ventana Medical Systems. Release

> Columbia, Maryland-based Advarra has named Gadi Saarony as CEO. Saarony most recently served as executive VP and chief clinical research services officer at Parexel. Release

> San Francisco-based Imago BioSciences has tapped Edgardo Baracchini, Ph.D., as CBO. Baracchini joins Imago from Xencor, where he was chief business officer from 2010 to 2018. Release