Chutes & Ladders—Pfizer's Read to take board seat at Viatris


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 Blankenship, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Read may say goodbye to Pfizer, but he'll join the board at spinoff Viatris

Former CEO Ian Read will join Viatris as a board member.

Read, Pfizer's chairman and former CEO, will step down at year's end and take a board seat at Viatris, the still-in-the-works merger of Pfizer's Upjohn and Mylan. Also joining as a director is James Kilts, a former CEO of Gillette and VP at Procter & Gamble. Read and Kilts will work alongside Mylan Chairman Robert Coury, who'll retain that role at the new generics giant, and Upjohn chief Michael Goettler, who'll stay on as Viatris CEO and board member. A third Pfizer-designated board member has yet to be announced, the company said. FiercePharma

Bristol-Myers' management overhaul continues as development chief Biondi bolts

Bristol-Myers Squibb
Paul Biondi has stepped away and will join Flagship Pioneering.

Biondi, picked up in June to serve as head of strategy and business development for the Bristol-Celgene merger, has stepped away six months later to "pursue an external opportunity," the company said. Later in the week, VC firm Flagship Pioneering said Biondi had joined as an executive partner. Biondi was named head of business development in 2015 and presided over several of the company’s key deals. In 2017, for example, BMS paid Halozyme $105 million for access to technology that will allow for the development of immuno-oncology drugs that can be injected under the skin. FiercePharma

Amid FDA partial hold, Meek jumps ship from Ipsen to lead new gene therapy startup

CEO David Meek has left to join FerGene. 

Meek will join the newly formed company launched last month by Ferring Pharmaceuticals and Blackstone Life Sciences. The move just a few weeks after the FDA placed two trials of rare disease drug palovarotene on partial clinical hold, itself coming just eight months after Ipsen gained the drug in its $1 billion (€900 million) takeover of Clementia Pharmaceuticals. Ipsen is developing palovarotene for the treatment of fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva), a rare bone disease. At the time of the Clementia takeover, the now-departing Meek called the asset “largely derisked,” reflecting a belief that phase 2 data generated on the episodic use of the drug will support FDA approval in that indication next year. FierceBiotech

> Virtual clinical trial company Science 37 is continuing its executive shuffle with the appointment of Steven Geffon as its chief commercial officer. Geffon, who will lead the firm’s commercial operations and strategic partnerships, comes from Medrio, a SaaS data capture platform, where he was responsible for sales and marketing as CCO. Before that, he spent almost 15 years at clinical trial data and tech company ERT. FierceBiotech

> After picking up a new CEO early this year and delivering promising data for its cancer-seeking blood test, Grail has brought on a new chief commercial officer with international experience as it steers toward the market. Gautam Kollu joins the company from Illumina, where he served as vice president of global market development and helped lead efforts to push the company's sequencing tech into applications such as prenatal testing and liquid biopsy. FierceBiotech

> Guerbet has named David Hale as CEO effective Jan. 1. Hale, Guerbet's CCO and group executive committee member since February 2018, will replace Yves L'Epine, who has been CEO since 2011. Prior to Guerbet, Hale worked at Boston Consulting Group and then with GE Healthcare. Release

> Boston-based Immuneering Corporation has named Dr. Scott Barrett as CMO. Prior to joining Immuneering, Barrett was the global medical affairs lead for targeted therapeutics at Incyte Pharmaceuticals and previously served as senior director of clinical development for Infinity Pharmaceuticals. 

> Cygnal Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech, has appointed Elaine Caughey to the role of CBO. Caughey joins Cygnal after serving as a consultant to The Blackstone Group and previously served as senior director of business development at Biogen. Release

> Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Nimbus Therapeutics has promoted CMO Annie C. Chen, M.D., to president of the company’s Tyk2 subsidiary, Nimbus Lakshmi. Chen will continue in her role as CMO at Nimbus. Prior to joining Nimbus, Chen was executive director of clinical research and section head of vaccines at Merck & Co. Release

> MedPharm has tapped Lynn Allen as VP of business development.