Chutes & Ladders—Off-the-shelf CAR-T player Cellectis poaches Novartis executive


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.


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Off-the-shelf CAR-T player Cellectis poaches Novartis exec

Stefan Scherer, M.D., Ph.D., was named SVP of clinical development.

Scherer was Novartis' head of early development, strategy and innovation for its U.S. oncology arm. France’s Cellectis is working to advance allogeneic CAR-T drugs into and through clinical development internally and in collaboration with Arie Belldegrun’s Allogene Therapeutics. Scherer will work out of its New York office. FierceBiotech

GlaxoSmithKline recruits new CFO to spearhead cost-cutting

GlaxoSmithKline small logo

HSBC's Iain Mackay was appointed CFO and an executive director on GSK's board.

CEO Emma Walmsley is bringing on Mackay to replace outgoing CFO Simon Dingemans and help lead a newly announced restructuring plan expected to save £400 million per year by 2021. Mackay served as a group finance director at the banking giant, and this marks his first post at a drugmaker. FiercePharma

Thomas Hughes leaves Zafgen to take CEO role at Navitor

Navitor Pharmaceuticals
Thomas Hughes, Ph.D., will become CEO.

Hughes led the metabolic disease startup Zafgen through a turbulent period, where it abandoned its lead obesity candidate after patients died in a phase 3 study. He switched from CEO to CSO in October 2017 aiming to turn the company around, and a different drug met its endpoints in a phase 2 study in June. Navitor's lead phase 1 candidate targets treatment-resistant depression by activating the mTORC1 pathway in the brain. FierceBiotech

> Cloud software company Synthace appointed Merck's Susan Shiff to its board of directors. Shiff has served as head of MSD's Centre for Observational and Real-World Evidence since 2014, and has held senior positions at Teva, Pfizer, Roche and J&J. She was also named one of Fierce's women in biopharma in 2016. Release 

> Johnson & Johnson promoted Chris DelOrefice to vice president of investor relations, effective Aug. 13. DelOrefice has been with J&J for 19 years, most recently serving as CFO of its North America hospital medical device business. Release

> Merz North America broadened the scope of CEO Bob Rhatigan's position to cover Latin America and the overall commercial strategy for its newly-created Americas region. The company also promoted Frank Brandt-Pollmann as area VP for Latin America. The changes take effect Sept. 1. Release 

> Ernie Meyer was brought on as executive VP and chief human resources officer at Portola Pharmaceuticals, effective Aug. 20. Meyer joins from more than 13 years at Celgene. Release

> Akouos, alongside a $50 million series A round, named scientific co-founder Michael McKenna, M.D., chief medical officer and Jennifer Wellman as senior VP of regulatory affairs. Wellman co-founded Spark Therapeutics, while McKenna serves as a professor of otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School. Release

Peter Pfreundschuh was named CFO of UroGen Pharma, effective Aug. 20. Interim CFO Stephen Mullennix will continue as the chief operating officer. Pfreundschuh previously served as the CFO of Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, acquired by Mallinckrodt for $1.2 Billion this year. Release

> Belgian CAR-T developer Celyad named Filippo Petti as CFO, effective Sept. 3, to succeed Patrick Jeanmart. Jeanmart will stay on as an advisor through Dec. 31 during the transition. Petti currently serves as VP of healthcare investment banking at Wells Fargo Securities. Release

> Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., was charged with securities fraud and insider trading related to Australian biotech Innate Immunotherapeutics, where he owns a 17% stake and sits on the board. FierceBiotech

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