Chutes & Ladders—Novartis nabs GSK executive for Sandoz CEO

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 Conor Hale, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Novartis nabs GSK exec for Sandoz CEO, bringing in some digital prowess

Sandoz Logo

Richard Saynor will be CEO before Aug. 1.

As Novartis transforms its Sandoz unit into a more autonomous business, it has tapped Saynor to take the reins. A former Sandoz executive himself, and most recently a senior VP of commercial and digital platforms at GlaxoSmithKline, Saynor fits neatly into CEO Vas Narasimhan’s digital ambitions for the Big Pharma. He fills the vacancy left by former CEO Richard Francis, who departed the company at the end of March. Previously, Saynor held commercial leadership roles in Sandoz's generics unit and oversaw the company's expansion in Asia, Latin America and Turkey. FiercePharma

Pfizer oncology exec hops to Aduro as CMO

Aduro Biotech
Dimitry Nuyten, M.D., Ph.D., was named chief medical officer.

Most recently, Nuyten was Pfizer's VP and head of immuno-oncology clinical development. He joins Aduro just three months after the company narrowed its focus to cancer drugs targeting the STING and APRIL pathways. In January, the Bay Area biotech laid off 37% of its workforce and “deprioritized” several programs, hoping the “strategic reset” will extend its runway out to 2022. At Pfizer, Nuyten led clinical strategy for several programs, including the anti-PD-L1 drug Bavencio, and he also oversaw the development of multiple early-phase cancer assets at Bristol-Myers Squibb. FierceBiotech

Former Alkermes COO to head up ops at Paragon

Headshot of Jim Robinson

Paragon Biosciences
James Robinson will serve in the incubator's newly created role of chief operations officer.

Robinson, who spent just over a year as chief operating officer at Alkermes, is taking up the same position at Paragon, where he will oversee the delivery of "innovation capital"—which includes its business units, functional services and HR, as well as its startups' clinical and regulatory support. Paragon’s portfolio companies cover life science products, pharmaceuticals and cell and gene therapies. It's currently incubating two companies and has launched four, including the rare disease-focused Castle Creek Pharma. FierceBiotech

> The Justice Department has filed felony criminal charges against Laurence F. Doud III, former CEO of the Rochester Drug Co-Operative, as well as its former chief compliance officer, William Pietruszewski, for unlawfully distributing oxycodone and fentanyl, and conspiring to defraud the DEA. The two face up to 15 years in prison each, while the drug distribution company agreed to pay a $20 million penalty for a deferred prosecution. FiercePharmaManufacturing

> Donald Hayden has signed on to lead WindMIL Therapeutics full-time after serving as its executive chairman and interim CEO for four months. It's Hayden's first official executive role since leaving Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2006 after 25 years at the Big Pharma. FierceBiotech

> Worldwide Clinical Trials has tapped life sciences veteran Philippa Marshall, M.D., to be its VP for scientific solutions in immune-mediated inflammatory disorders. Marshall's career spans three decades, with stints at GlaxoSmithKline, Novo Nordisk, inVentiv Health and PPD. FierceCRO

> Translate Bio appointed Richard Wooster as chief scientific officer. Wooster was previously president of R&D and CSO of Tarveda Therapeutics, and also served as VP and head of the discovery performance unit in oncology at GlaxoSmithKline after heading up its translational medicine group in oncology. Translate Bio's scientific founder and current CSO, Michael Heartlein, will continue serving as chief technical officer. Release

> Margaret Dalesandro has joined OncoSec Medical's board of directors. Dalesandro previously served as business director of Corning Integrative Pharmacology, held senior leadership roles at ImClone Systems and was an executive director at GSK. Release

> X4 Pharmaceuticals has hired E. Lynne Kelley as its CMO. Kelley has previously served as CMO at Histogenics and Senseonics and has held clinical development leadership roles at Becton Dickinson, Kimberly-Clark and Boston Scientific. Release

> CANbridge Pharmaceuticals has named Glenn Hassan as chief financial officer and chief business officer and Gerald Cox as chief development strategist and interim CMO. Most recently, Hassan was director of cross border healthcare investment banking at China Renaissance Capital, while Cox joins from his consulting firm after serving as CMO of Editas Medicine. Release

> Gilead’s Kite Pharma plans to build a 279,000-square-foot facility near Baltimore to expand production of its Yescarta CAR-T treatment and other prospective cell therapies. The company plans to employ 400 to 800 workers at the site. FiercePharma

> BPI Labs opened a $17 million, 20,000-square-foot sterile manufacturing facility in Largo, Florida, with 30 employees. FiercePharmaManufacturing

> Eli Lilly is selling its Chinese rights to two legacy antibiotics, along with a manufacturing plant in Suzhou, to specialty pharma Eddingpharm in a $375 million deal. The facility's 250 employees will be transferred to Eddingpharm as the deal closes later this year or in 2020. FiercePharmaAsia