Chutes & Ladders—Pfizer oncology head Liz Barrett jumps ship to Novartis


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 Angus Liu (email) and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Novartis poaches Pfizer oncology head Liz Barrett

Novartis Logo

Liz Barrett will become Novartis’ oncology head.

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Liz Barrett, currently Pfizer’s global president & GM of oncology, is behind the commercial success of cancer med Ibrance. Starting from Feb. 1, though, she’ll be working to drive sales of a direct competitor, Kisqali, as Novartis’ oncology head. She’ll replace retiring Bruno Strigini and work under CEO Joe Jimenez’s successor Vas Narasimhan, who said Barrett’s “longtime commercial pharma industry experience, marketing skills and perspectives” make her a great fit for the job. Besides Kisqali, which so far hasn’t been living up to analysts’ expectation, Barrett will also be managing the groundbreaking CAR-T therapy Kymriah and potential new indications for Ilaris. FiercePharma

Ed Kaye takes helm at genetic disease startup

Stoke Therapeutics logo
Ed Kaye

Stoke Therapeutics
Ed Kaye became CEO.

It didn’t take long before Ed Kaye re-emerged post-Sarepta. His new title at genetic disease startup Stoke Therapeutics was revealed alongside the company’s $40 million series A backed by Apple Tree Partners. Stoke’s focus is on using antisense oligonucleotides to increase the expression of proteins whose function is reduced in genetic diseases. It licensed the Targeted Augmentation of Nuclear Gene Output platform from scientific founder and RNA splicing expert Adrian Krainer of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Kaye’s executive team now include experienced leaders like CMO Barry Ticho, M.D., Ph.D., who was previously with Moderna, Pfizer and Biogen. FierceBiotech

Perrigo picks pharma packaging company executive as CEO

Uwe Rohrhoff

Uwe Röhrhoff was named CEO.

Perrigo has quite a lot on its plate, including a restructuring pushed by activist investor Starboard Value, an industry-sweeping generic drug pricing probe and the bid for Merck KGaA’s consumer health business—which it seems to be losing to Nestle. Now these tasks have fallen on new CEO Uwe Röhrhoff, who came on board from pharma packing firm Gerresheimer. He will replace longtime company executive John Hendrickson, who took over from Joseph Papa in April 2016 but announced his plan to retire last June. Röhrhoff landed at the job at a time when the company’s cost-cutting measures started to show progress, as Perrigo recently raised its 2017 guidance. FiercePharma

> OncoMed chairman, president and CEO Paul J. Hastings has resigned after spending 12 years with the company. Release

> Chinese firm KBP Biosciences has raised $76 million in series A to build a new global corporate HQ in the Greater Philadelphia Area and named ex-GlaxoSmithKline veteran Brian McVeigh as CEO. FierceBiotech

> Cancer startup BioClin Therapeutics hired Esteban (Steve) Abella, M.D., as its new CMO; he was recently Gilead's senior director leading its non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and leukemia efforts. FierceBiotech

> Former Receptos CEO Faheem Hasnain and CMO Sheila Gujrathi, M.D., launched Gossamer Bio with $100 million in seed financing. FierceBiotech

> Juno Therapeutics tapped Cindy Elkins, most recently VP of IT for the Americas at Genentech, as its chief information officer. Release

> Jessica Meng, who was Genetech's Avastin marketing lead, joined Veracyte as VP of marketing. The company also combined clinical, medical and R&D functions into one department led by CSO Giulia C. Kennedy, Ph.D. Release

> Aduro's COO Gregory W. Schafer will step down early March, while SVP of finance Jennifer Lew was promoted to CFO. Release

> Renowned immunology researcher Eric Vivier, Ph.D., joined Innate Pharma as CSO. Release 

> Eli Lilly veteran Eiry W. Roberts, M.D., joined Neurocrine Biosciences as CMO, succeeding Christopher O'Brien, M.D., who just announced his retirement after 12 years with the company. Release

> James Cummings, M.D., a retired colonel who once led Novavax's influenza program as VP of clinical development and translational medicine, was appointed president of Icon's subsidiary ClinicalRM. FierceCRO

> Shortly after naming Alexander M. Gold, M.D., its CMO and president of U.S. subsidiary, Sanifit appointed former Ambrx COO and VP of finance, Cris Calsada, as CFO. Release

> New York-based Tonix Pharmaceuticals, which has lead candidate Tonmya in phase 3 development as a bedtime treatment for PTSD, named Jessica Morris COO. Release

> Antifungal biotech Amplyx Pharmaceuticals named Alan Fuhrman CFO. Release

> Clinical-stage ophthalmology-focused company Eyenovia recruited John Gandolfo, formerly with Xtant Medical Holdings, as CFO. Release