Chutes & Ladders—J&J CEO Gorsky to step aside, handing world's largest pharma to COVID-19 navigator Duato

                       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.

Johnson & Johnson CEO Gorsky to transition to executive chairman in January, handing baton of world's largest pharma to Duato

Johnson & Johnson 
Alex Gorsky will step aside from his post as CEO of the world's largest pharma, by 2020 revenue, in January and into the role of executive chairman. 

Since stepping into the top spot in 2012, Gorsky has beefed up R&D investments by more than 60%, led an increased push in oncology, pulled off the Big Pharma's largest acquisition and other feats. But, in nearly a decade at the top perch, Gorsky has also had to steer the ship through high-profile talc lawsuits, a COVID-19 pandemic, concerns about its pandemic vaccine and criticism for inequities in distribution of the vax. Gorsky is stepping aside in part for "family health reasons," he said in a statement. 

Taking the top spot is Joaquin Duato, a more than three decade company veteran and currently vice chairman of the executive committee, effective Jan. 3, 2022. Duato leads J&J's internal COVID-19 response team that oversees supply chain and technology initiatives. He also heads up the company's pharma and consumer health units. Fierce Pharma

Novavax picks up ex-Sanofi global quality leader as it ramps up approval efforts for its COVID-19 vaccine 

Nasir Egal, Ph.D., is leaving Sanofi to be senior vice president of quality assurance at Novavax.

Egal joins the biotech as it looks to gain emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine from the FDA. That filing is on tap for the fourth quarter. Egal previously was global quality external affairs leader at Sanofi, where he worked for nearly a decade. He has also spent time on global and regional quality and compliance at other Big Pharmas, including Novartis and Merck. He has firsthand experience working in the FDA, as well, as a research scientist. Fierce Pharma

Following $13.1B Bristol Myers buyout, MyoKardia's clinical ops leader leaves for same role at Esker Therapeutics

Esker Therapeutics
Jeff Douglas is joining Esker Therapeutics as vice president of clinical operations.

Douglas comes from MyoKardia, where he held the same role. He'll oversee the precision medicine company's lead program for psoriasis as well as preclinical programs in autoimmune diseases. He leaves the company following its $13.1 billion sale to Bristol Myers Squibb last year. Prior to that, Douglas was program director for Genentech's research and development clinical operations, overseeing cancer immunotherapy and hematologic malignancies. He helped lead more than 30 compounds from preclinical to late-stage development. Fierce Biotech

> Ellis Unger, M.D., is retiring from the FDA. After 25 years at the agency, the cardiologist is hitting the exit for "personal reasons" and leaves behind his post as leader of Office of Drug Evaluation I. Fierce Biotech

> Thomas Christély will become CEO of MetrioPharm on Oct. 1. He joins from MYR Pharmaceuticals, where he was managing director and chief financial officer and helped lead the company to a 1.15 billion euro exit to Gilead Sciences last December. Fierce Biotech

> Novavax also named Jim Kelly as chief financial officer and treasurer. Kelly joins from Supernus Pharmaceuticals, where he held the same role, and held a decade-long run as CFO at Vanda Pharmaceuticals before that. Fierce Pharma

> After more than three decades at Stryker, Timothy Scannell will retire from his posts as president and chief operating officer in October. He'll continue advising his predecessors, Andy Pierce and Spencer Stiles, until the end of March 2023, and will be a strategic adviser to CEO Kevin Lobo during that period. Fierce Medtech

> In addition to his existing role as executive chairman of ImmunityBio, Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., will also step into the global chief scientific and medical officer roles. Soon-Shiong is a serial biotech investor and owner of the Los Angeles Times. Release

> Enveda named Narayanan Hariharan, Ph.D., as senior vice president of discovery biology and translational sciences, and hired Indranil Mukhopadhyay, Ph.D., as director of drug discovery biology. Hariharan was previously chief scientific officer at metabolic diseases biotech Lynkogen, and Mukhopadhyay comes from AI life sciences company Insilico Medicine, where he was head of translational pharmacology. Release

> Neurodegenerative disease biotech Yumanity Therapeutics named Michael D. Wyzga its senior vice president and chief financial officer. Wyzga joins from Needham & Company, where he was vice president of the healthcare investment banking team. Release

> Kaida Wu, Ph.D., M.D., will be the chief medical officer of GeneQuantum Healthcare. Wu joins from Bristol Myers Squibb, where he was an early clinical development leader. His resume also includes time at Celgene, Janssen, Sanofi and AstraZeneca. Release

> Catalyst Pharmaceuticals hired Mary Coleman as vice president and head of investor relations. Coleman joins the rare diseases biopharma from BioXcel Therapeutics, where she held the same role. Release

> HiberCell boosted its C-suite with the acquisition of Genuity Science. Tom Chittenden became chief technology officer, Jeff Gulcher was named chief scientific officer of Genomics and Hákon Guðbjartsson will serve as chief informatics officer. Release

> Clinical-stage cell and gene therapy company Ilya Pharma chose Oskar Lund as its chief financial officer as it looks at potentially going public. Lund held the same post at previous employer Disruptive Materials. Report

> Sparrow Pharmaceuticals welcomed Frank Czerwiec, M.D., as chief medical officer and Jamie MacPherson as vice president of regulatory affairs and quality. Czerwiec comes from GoldfinchBio, where he held the same position, and MacPherson joins from Akcea Therapeutics, where she also held a similar post as her new one. Release

> Clinical-stage startup Atsena Therapeutics hired Linda B. Couto, Ph.D., as chief scientific officer. Couto joins the blindness gene therapy company from Spark Therapeutics, where she was head of pharmacology and toxicology and ocular research lead. Cuoto takes the post from co-founder Shannon Boye, Ph.D., who had been serving as acting CSO. Release

> Myovant Sciences named Uneek Mehra as its new chief financial and business officer, filling the spot held by Frank Karbe, who is leaving the company for other opportunities. Mehra joins from PACT pharma, a solid cancer cell therapy company, where he was CFO and corporate treasurer. Release

> Psychedelics biotech Psycheceutical named Anish Tuteja, Ph.D., its chief science officer. Tuteja joins from the University of Michigan, where he's a materials science and engineering professor. Release

> Roberta Duncan was promoted to vice president and mRNA program lead of Seqirus' newly created self-amplifying messenger RNA program. Release

> Kirsten Detrick was named chief commercial officer at precision therapeutics company Endpoint Health. Detrick was previously at Takeda, where she was vice president and therapy area commercial leader for its global gastrointestinal unit and general manager of Austria. Release

> Decibel Therapeutics hired Cynthia Hu as chief legal officer and corporate secretary.  Hu spent 15 years at CASI Pharmaceuticals, where she was chief operating officer. Release

> Small molecule therapies biotech Remix Therapeutics promoted co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer Peter Smith, Ph.D., to president and CEO. Prior to founding Remix, Smith was CSO of H3 Biomedicine. Release

> Sarah Glass, Ph.D., will be the first chief development officer of the n-Lorem Foundation, an RNA-targeted medicine nonprofit. Glass comes from Parexel, where she was global head of rare diseases. Release