Chutes & Ladders—NICE director joins U.K. pharma lobby group ABPI as CSO

Parachute landscape

Chutes and Ladders

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 Angus Liu (email), and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

NICE executive director joins ABPI as CSO

Carole Longson

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry
Prof. Carole Longson became CSO.

Role transitions in both directions between the public body and the drug industry have become quite common. As former Eli Lilly executive Alex Azar was confirmed as the HHS secretary, across the Atlantic in the U.K., Prof. Carole Longson, recently the executive director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), was appointed the new CSO of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI). Longson spent the past 18 years at NICE where she led the technology appraisal program. She has also served seven years at GlaxoSmithKline as a research lead. At her new role with the U.K. pharma lobby group, she will help ensure that the post-Brexit U.K. remains a leader in drug R&D. Release

Heptares co-founder Marshall to lead Merck’s brand-new U.K. research center

Fiona Marshall

Merck & Co.
Fiona Marshall was named head of London’s discovery center.

The £1 billion London drug discovery facility Merck unveiled last November has a British scientist as leader, and it’s Fiona Marshall, the Heptares co-founder who just resigned from the role of Sosei’s CSO last week. Marshall joined Sosei through the $400 million takeover of British GPCR specialist Heptares in 2015. Her ties with the country extend to leadership and advisory roles at several U.K. medical organizations and also her previous 12-year experience with GlaxoSmithKline. If everything goes as planned, the new Merck research lab will open in 2020 and be staffed by 950 people, 150 of which will be new research hires. Release (PDF)

Sanofi names transformation leader amid $11.6 B Bioverativ deal

Sanofi small logo
Dominique Carouge

Dominique Carouge was promoted to EVP and head of business transformation.

Right before announcing its $11.6 billion deal for Biogen’s hemophilia spinout Bioverativ, Sanofi promoted Dominique Carouge, who has been with the company since 1991, to EVP and head of business transformation. Carouge will officially move from deputy CFO and head of finance operations and group controlling to the new role on Feb. 15. The Bioverativ acquisition—Sanofi’s biggest deal since Genzyme in 2011—will bolster its rare disease business, and the company expects to see an earnings boost beginning this year. The announcement also came as the French drugmaker is further restructuring its workforce by cutting 400 sales workers in the U.S. Release

> Robert Mulroy, who resigned as Merrimack Pharmaceuticals CEO in October 2016, and Debasish Roychowdhury, who previously held top leadership roles at GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi and Eli Lilly, have launched oncology company Partner Therapeutics as CEO and CMO, respectively. FierceBiotech

> Jonas Hannestad, M.D., Ph.D., is leaving the medical director role at Denali and joining rival Alkahest as senior medical director. FierceBiotech

> Bonti, which works on a new botulinum neurotoxin, closed a $15.5 million series C and named David Ramsay CFO. FierceBiotech

> Dirk Toepfer will succeed Jim Stewart as Merck KGaA's chief information officer. Release

> Gritstone Oncology, a FierceBiotech 2017 Fierce 15 winner, announced the appointment of Jean-Marc Bellemin as EVP of finance and CFO. He was recently SVP and CFO of Actelion U.S. Release

> Neurological disease biotech Disarm has poached Thomas Engber, Ph.D., who previously served with Takeda, the NIH, Pfizer and Biogen, as its new SVP and head of neuropharmacology and translational sciences. FierceBiotech

> Robert Friesen, Ph.D., will succeed Antonin de Fougerolles, who went to helm Evox Therapeutics, as Ablynx's CSO. Release

> JSR Life Sciences appointed Nalini Murdter as the president and CEO of subsidiary MBL International, which specializes in reagents and assays for detecting and analyzing disease biomarkers and pathways. Release

> Rhonda Robb, formerly VP and GM of Medtronic’s heart valve therapies business, jumped ship to serve as Cardiovascular Systems’ COO. Release

> Advicenne, which develops pediatric therapeutics for orphan renal and neurological diseases, recruited Linda Law, M.D., as U.S. VP of clinical development and medical affairs. Release

> Biologics CDMO Paragon Bioservices made three promotions and two new hires. It appointed Philip Wills, Ph.D., as CCO, John Conner as chief manufacturing officer, and Bill Thomas, Jr., Ph.D., as CSO, and hired Randy Henrickson as VP of manufacturing and Dermot McCaul as VP of information technology. Release

> Minneapolis-based medical device company CHF Solutions named Vitaliy Epshteyn as its new VP of operations and engineering. Release

> Cure Pharmaceutical, a drug delivery system developer, named Vered Gigi, Ph.D., VP of strategy and business development. Release

> CDMO Sterling Pharma Solutions appointed Koichi Hirayarma as a sales lead in Japan. Release

> Redx Pharma appointed Andrew Saunders, M.D., as CMO to oversee development of the company's lead candidate, a Porcupine inhibitor slated to start human testing soon. Release