Chutes & Ladders: Pfenex CEO resigns after investigation revealed company rule violation

Pfenex's CEO has resigned as an in-house investigation found him in breach of the company's ethics code in third-party contracts.

Chutes and Ladders

Welcome to this week's Chutes and Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry. Please send the good word—or the bad—from your shop to Eric Sagonowsky (email) or Angus Liu (email), and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Pfenex CEO ousted as in-house investigation found breaches of company code

Bert Liang

Bertrand Liang resigned as CEO.

Pfenex, a biotech focused on developing biosimilars, has parted ways with its former CEO Bertrand Liang, through mutual agreement. Liang’s departure followed the completion of an in-house investigation by the company board’s audit committee, which found that Liang breached company code when making several third-party contracts. Patrick Lucy, the company’s CBO since 2014, has been appointed to succeed Liang as interim CEO. Before he joined Pfenex as VP of business development and marketing in 2009, Lucy was the director of business development at DowPharma, part of the Dow Chemical Company. Release

Kymab recruits drug development vet Schottelius as EVP of R&D

Arndt Schottelius

Arndt Schottelius becomes its first EVP of R&D

Monoclonal antibody company Kymab has created the new post of EVP of R&D and hired MorphoSys’ Arndt Schottelius to lead the company’s R&D activities. At MorphoSys AG, where Schottelius served as the first chief development officer since 2008, he helped develop the portfolio of proprietary therapeutic antibody programs in cancer and immunology. Prior to that, he was with Genentech as a medical director of immunology development. The appointment will take effect in May. Release

Regulatory affairs expert Kuta lands at uniQure as SVP

Alexander Kuta

Alexander Kuta was named SVP of regulatory affairs.

Alexander Kuta has more than 25 years of regulatory experience within the industry, most recently as VP of R&D global regulatory affairs with EMD Serono. Now, he has jumped ship to act as SVP of regulatory affairs at human gene therapy company uniQure. He will be closely involved in advancing the company’s hemophilia B program into late-stage clinical development, along with progressing several pipeline programs in Huntington’s and CV diseases, said company CEO Matt Kapusta. Kuta also spent 15 years at Genzyme, where he held regulatory leadership positions of increasing responsibility. Release

Astellas taps new government affairs coordinator from AbbVie

Aaron Krupp

Aaron Krupp became director of therapeutic area policy.

Astellas has appointed Aaron Krupp as director of therapeutic area policy. The job description includes leading policy management and analyzing government policy and trends to support business decisions. With more than 20 years of experience working in public affairs, Krupp has extensive expertise in the field. He was most recently AbbVie’s director of U.S. reimbursement and public policy, representing the company’s interests before government officials. Release

> As part of the Johnson & Johnson takeover deal, Actelion's current management team, including CEO Jean-Paul Clozel and chairman Jean Pierre Garnier, will migrate to the new spinoff R&D NewCo. FierceBiotech

> T-cell therapy expert Harpoon Therapeutics named William E. Picht Jr. as CFO. Release

> Sarah Larson joined Healthcare VC firm Third Rock Ventures as chief human resources officer. Release

> ImmunoGen, a leader in antibody-drug conjugates for the treatment of cancer, announced that Sandra Poole, EVP of technical operations and commercial development, will leave the company to pursue other opportunities. Release