Chutes & Ladders—Oncorus sends 3 C-suite execs packing

 Chutes and LaddersWelcome 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 Max Bayer or Gabrielle Masson, and we will feature it here at the end of each week. 

Oncorus sends CEO, COO and CMO out the door, leaving CFO in charge


“Substantially all” of Oncorus’ workforce is heading out the door as the RNA-focused company faces challenges raising capital and pursuing strategic alternatives.

Ted Ashburn, M.D., Ph.D.
Ted Ashburn, M.D., Ph.D. (Oncorus)

That includes CEO Ted Ashburn, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer Stephen Harbin and Chief Medical Officer John Goldberg, M.D. Ashburn will remain on the company’s board of directors, however, while interim Chief Financial Officer Alexander Nolte will retain his position. 

“Despite cost-savings measures associated with the workforce reduction, the company anticipates that its existing cash and projected cash flows will not be sufficient to meet its working capital and operational needs beyond the third quarter of 2023,” Oncorus said.

Ashburn was previously head of oncology at Moderna, where he planned the overall design of the famed biotech’s clinical programs. He previously led the company’s personalized cancer vaccine programs as well. He joined Oncorus as CEO in August 2018. Fierce Biotech 

Vaxxas poaches Pfizer exec as CMO after 23-year career


Rochelle Chaiken, MD
Rochelle Chaiken, M.D. (Business Wire)

After spending 23 years at Pfizer, Rochelle Chaiken, M.D., is packing up her desk and heading for the biotech life. She’ll join vaccine technology company Vaxxas as chief medical officer. Chaiken brings along extensive experience in designing and executing late-stage clinical trials and launching products. 

Chaiken was most recently the chief medical officer for Pfizer’s Biopharmaceutical Group for Emerging Markets. 

At Vaxxas, Chaiken will join the privately held company’s mission to transform existing and next-generation vaccines using a patch system, with an initial focus in infectious disease and oncology. The company is moving toward commercializing the patch technology. Release

Ring Therapeutics gains a CTO, while Flagship picks up another partner

Ring Therapeutics

Konstantin Konstantinov, Ph.D., will join gene therapy-focused Ring Therapeutics as chief technology officer, but that’s not all. He’ll also join Flagship Pioneering, the VC firm behind Ring, at the same time as operating partner. 

At Ring, Konstantinov will be in charge of leading the research and development teams and supporting the advancement of the biotech’s Anellogy platform. He joins from Codiak BioSciences, where he was executive vice president of manufacturing and process sciences and chief technology officer. Before that, he served at Genzyme/Sanofi. 

Ring has been on a hiring spree of late, adding CMO Christopher Wright and CFO Christopher McNulty earlier in the year. Release

> Amarna Therapeutics is welcoming Henk Streefkerk, M.D., Ph.D., on as CEO and medical director, succeeding former CEO Steen Klysner. Streefkerk joins the Dutch gene therapy biotech with past experience at Novartis, Actelion and Organon, among others. Release

> Ensem Therapeutics is promoting Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder Shengfang Jin, Ph.D., to helm the oncology biotech as CEO. She’s been with the company since its founding and before that worked at Editas Medicine and Agios Pharmaceuticals. Release

> Ida Hatoum has left CinCor Pharma for Abivax, where she will serve as chief people officer. Part of Hatoum’s responsibilities will be expanding the French company’s presence in the U.S. Release

> Kronos Bio has tapped Marc Besman, Ph.D., to serve as SVP of regulatory affairs and clinical quality assurance. Besman’s track record includes leadership roles at places like Coherus BioSciences, CytomX Therapeutics, Allergan and Baxter BioSciences. Release

> T-CURX is adding CMO to the title of co-founder Michael Hudecek, M.D., while Karl Schumacher, M.D., will become chief clinical officer. Hudecek, who also has a seat on the biotech’s scientific advisory board, will serve in the role part time. Release

> Inhaled therapeutics company Pulmocide has named Matt Dallas as CFO and Ashish Sagrolikar as CCO. Dallas comes from metabolic-focused Zealand Pharma while Sagrolikar has held roles at Baxter Healthcare, GlaxoSmithKline and Zogenix Inc. Release

> Michael Gray has been named both COO and CFO at Carmot Therapeutics, where he will oversee the metabolic disease biotech’s growth and overall strategic objectives. He leaves his post at Imara Inc., where he similarly held the duel COO and CFO role. Release

> After nearly 10 years, Jean-François Formela, M.D., is retiring from Intellia Therapeutics’ board of directors effective June 15. He was a co-founder of the CRISPR gene editing biotech and also serves as a partner at VC firm Atlas Ventures. Release

> CDMO Wheeler Bio has hired Stewart McNaull, M.D., as chief business officer. He previously served as business unit head for biologics and vaccines at Resilience and has also spent time at KBI Biopharma and Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies. Release