Chutes & Ladders—Novartis loses 2 leaders, one to MiroBio, another to a video game company

(Gerhard G./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.

Novartis loses a cell and gene therapy pipeline leader to MiroBio 

Carolin Barth, M.D., is leaving Big Pharma to be CEO of MiroBio.

Barth joins the preclinical autoimmune biotech from Novartis, where she spent a 17-year run. Barth was most recently leader of commercial and pipeline strategy for Novartis' cell and gene therapies unit. Barth will now lead MiroBio as it gears up for its first clinical trial early next year. The company's work centers on 15 years of research at University of Oxford. Fierce Biotech

Novartis loses chief digital officer to a video game creative services provider

Bertrand Bodson left Novartis in late January and is now CEO of Keywords Studios. 

Bodson was chief digital officer at Novartis, from 2018, and left in late January. Now, he's CEO of video game creative services provider Keywords Studios. Bodson follows other Big Pharma digital leaders who have left the industry to pursue work in other industries. Jim Scholefield departed his post as CDO at Merck in 2020 to be a digital leader at Marriott International. GlaxoSmithKline also lost its chief digital officer this year, as Marc Speichert jumped to Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, where he's chief commercial officer. Fierce Pharma Marketing

Aerie Pharmaceuticals CEO exits days after downplaying midphase flop

Aerie Pharmaceuticals 
Vicente Anido is no longer CEO, chairman nor director of Aerie. 

Anido left the company just days after Aerie tried burying news that its dry eye treatment failed a phase 2b trial. Anido downplayed the significance of missing the primary endpoint, noting those outcomes are not required in such a study. He said the drug hopeful had a "clear path toward approval." Now, Benjamin McGraw has to figure out what that means. McGraw has been on the Aerie board since 2014, and will be interim executive chairman during the search for a new CEO. McGraw has a lot of hats to fill already as executive chairman and CEO of TheraVida and executive chairman of Auration Biotech and Trefoil Therapeutics. Fierce Biotech

> Former Principia Biopharma CEO Martin Babler is back to lead another biotech and has taken part of his team with him to Esker Therapeutics. Babler will be president, CEO and chairman of the autoimmune biotech. Esker's C-suite snags also include David Goldstein, Ph.D., as chief scientific officer and head of CMC, and Roy Hardiman joins as chief business officer and general counsel. Other hires include Kenneth Brameld, Ph.D., head of research; Claire Langrish, Ph.D., senior vice president of immunology and biology; Phil Nunn, Ph.D., senior vice president of pharmacology and project team leader; Mike Taylor, Ph.D., vice president of toxicology; and Victoria Lowell, human resources business partner. Fierce Biotech

> Jörn Drappa, M.D., Ph.D., will be chief medical officer of Ventyx Biosciences. Drappa recently helped lead Viela Bio as R&D head and CMO to a $3 billion exit to Horizon Therapeutics. Fierce Biotech

> Eli Lilly-backed GenEdit named Romuald Corbau, Ph.D., as chief scientific officer and Aaron Mishel as chief financial officer. Corbau previously led the research team working on AAV-based gene therapies at Freeline, and Mishel joins from Magnetic Insight, where he held the same post. Fierce Biotech

> Steve Clemons joins Velocity Clinical Research as senior vice president of clinical delivery, and Samira Moran joins as senior vice president of specialist care delivery. The two executives come from VitaLink and the National Research Institute, respectively. Velocity acquired both companies this week. Fierce Biotech

> RNA biotech Dicerna Pharmaceuticals made a series of hires and promotions. Rob Ciappenelli was promoted to chief strategy officer from chief commercial officer, and Marc Abrams, Ph.D., was elevated to senior vice president of discovery research. Kristen Sheppard joined as SVP of investor relations and corporate communications after holding the same post at Akebia Therapeutics. Release

> Rewind Therapeutics named Anja Harmeier, Ph.D., its new CEO. Harmeier joins the multiple sclerosis-focused Belgian biotech from Pureos Bioventures, where she was a partner involved in managing life sciences investments. Release

> Milan Radovich, Ph.D., becomes Caris' chief precision medicine officer. Radovich was previously an associate professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine, vice president for oncology genomics at Indiana University Health and co-director of the IU Health Precision Genomics Program. Release

> ImmuneID named James S. Scibetta its new CEO. He fills the post of David Donabedian, Ph.D., and joins from Maverick Therapeutics, where he was CEO until it was acquired by Takeda this past spring. Release

> Deborah Birx, M.D., the former White House coronavirus response coordinator, joined the board of advisers at Real Time Medical Systems. Release

> TC BioPharm named Sebastian Wanless, Ph.D., its senior clinical director. Wanless joins the clinical-stage biotech from Bristol Myers Squibb, where he was most recently vice president of intercontinental research and was involved in the development of nearly 20 drugs. Release

> Aadi Bioscience selected Brendan Delaney as chief operating officer. Delaney was previously chief commercial officer at Constellation Pharmaceuticals, acquired by MorphoSys. Release

> Kevin Tan will be chief financial officer of Selecta Biosciences. Tan joins from Sarepta Therapeutics, where he was treasurer. Release

> Jordan Shin, M.D., Ph.D., is the new senior vice president of clinical development and translational science at gene therapy biotech Renovacor. Shin was previously vice president of medical development at United Therapeutics' Lung Biotechnology. Release

> Aarvik Therapeutics made a slate of hires. Sunil Bhakta was named executive director of biochemical pharmacology; Vasu Jamma, Ph.D., as vice president of chemistry; Heather Maecker, Ph.D., senior vice president of  immuno-oncology; and Vidya Jonnalagadda, Ph.D., as managing director/site head for India. Release

> Michele Wales, Ph.D., will be chief legal officer of Adaptive Phage Therapeutics. Wales joins the infectious diseases biotech from inHouse Patent Counsel, a firm she founded to provide patent and IP counsel for biotechs. Release

> Neurodegenerative RNA-based biotech Biorchestra snagged former Moderna and Akcea chief medical officer Louis St.L. O'Dea, M.D., as its first CMO. Release

> WARF Therapeutics named Hongmin Chen, Ph.D., its head of biology. Chen joins the University of Wisconsin-Madison-based pharma initiative from Merck, where she was a principal scientist. Release

> Christian Schetter, Ph.D., is the new chief scientific officer of Rentschler Biopharma. He was previously managing director at Arix Bioscience. Release

> Fore Biotherapeutics named Sujit Basu, Ph.D., its senior vice president of manufacturing and technical operations. Basu joins the precision oncology company from Takeda, where he was on the oncology development leadership team. Release

> Marni Kottle is the new senior vice president of investor relations and communications at Kronos Bio. Kottle joins from Gilead Sciences, where she was vice president of corporate communications. Release

> Jason Hammonds is the new president of the US Oncology Network. He was previously senior vice president of operations at Texas Oncology. Release

> John M. Limongelli is the new chief legal officer at Imvax. He joins the clinical-stage biotech from Neos Therapeutics, where he was senior vice president and general counsel. Release

> Foundation Medicine named Mia Levy, M.D., Ph.D., its new chief medical officer. Levy joins from Rush University Medical Center, where she was director of the Cancer Center. Release

> Mitchell Chan will be chief financial officer and head of corporate strategy at Be Biopharma after holding the CFO post at Viela Bio. Release

> Sage Therapeutics selected Chris Benecchi as chief commercial officer. He was previously vice president and global head of commercial excellence at Alexion. Release

> Cardiovascular CRO Scirent named Maximilian Posch, M.D., as chief medical officer after almost a decade as medical director at Charité Research Organisation. Release

> Hemab named Mads Behrndt as chief financial officer. Mads joins the bleeding disorder biotech from PwC, where he was a partner on private and public financings and M&A deals. Release

> Vigeo revealed that Jim Mahoney joined the cancer biotech as CEO in February, as founding CEO Jing Watnick, Ph.D., stepped into the chief operating officer role. Mahoney was previously an operating partner at private equity firm Ara Partners. Release

> Eric S. Hoffman, Ph.D., will be senior vice president of business development for Fusion Pharmaceuticals. He joins the oncology biotech from Vicarius Pharma, where he was chief business officer. Release

> Erik Atkisson is the chief compliance officer and general counsel for Eiger BioPharmaceuticals after holding the same post at Cytokinetics. Release

> Birgitte Rønø, Ph.D., is now chief scientific officer at Evaxion Biotech, after being a specialist and team leader at Novo Nordisk. Release

> Nimbus Therapeutics selected Ian Sanderson as chief financial officer, as Holly Whittemore transitions to chief accounting officer. Sanderson was previously CFO at Boston Pharmaceuticals. Release

> Dotmatics named Mike McKee its new president after serving as executive vice president and general manager at Proofpoint. McKee replaces founder Stephen GallagherRelease

> AXIM Biotechnologies named Joseph Tauber, M.D., its chief medical officer. Tauber is founder and CEO of Tauber Eye Center and medical director of eye bank Saving Sight. Release

> Rebecca Kammer, Ph.D., will be vice president of clinical operations for jCyte after establishing the Low Vision Rehabilitation Service in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of California, Irvine. Release

> Mantra Bio named Maria Fuentes, Ph.D., its chief scientific officer after being executive vice president of research at Blade Therapeutics. Release

> Abeona Therapeutics made a slate of hires and promotions. Vishwas Seshadri, Ph.D., was promoted to CEO and president starting October 15 after being head of research and clinical development. Current president and CEO Michael Amoroso will become chairman at that time. Brendan O’Malley, J.D., was promoted to general counsel and senior vice president; Brian Kevany, Ph.D., was promoted to vice president and chief technical officer; Carl Denny joined as vice president of regulatory affairs from Sarepta Therapeutics; and Kate Imhoff joins as senior director of regulatory affairs, also coming from Sarepta. Release

> Kathy Yi is departing Cerevel Therapeutics in November for personal and professional interests. Release

> Limbix promoted Jessica Lake, Ph.D., to chief science officer, and promoted Aarthi Padmanabhan, Ph.D., as chief research officer. Release