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.
Ironwood names proxy brawler Denner to its board a year after R&D spinoff
Denner, a well-known proxy brawler, helped spearhead Ironwood's spinoff of its R&D unit in 2019 under the wing of former CEO Peter Hecht. Now, Ironwood says it can use his expertise in building the company's current operations—and, of course, building value for shareholders. Ironwood has already revamped its business aside from the R&D spinoff. It followed up its announcement of that deal by ending a licensing agreement with AstraZeneca for gout drug Zurampic in late 2018. All told, those moves sliced away hundreds of jobs at Ironwood, which has been helmed by Mark Mallon, formerly AstraZeneca’s EVP of global product and portfolio strategy, since January 2019. Fierce Pharma
Eli Lilly bids farewell to longtime digital chief Shah
Aarti Shah will depart after 27 years with the company.
Shah has held the top digital spot since 2016, the same year she was named one of Fierce Pharma’s Fierce Women in Life Sciences. At the time, she told Fierce that while becoming CIO had not been her goal when she joined, she was excited to tackle the challenge and create cross-platform partnerships. Before becoming CIO, Shah was head of global brand development of Lilly’s Bio-Medicines unit, and before that VP of biometrics. She joined Lilly in 1994 as a senior statistician and helped to bring post-menopausal osteoporosis drug Evista to market. Fierce Pharma
Bermingham's Korro Bio lands ex-Corvidia executive as CEO
Ram Aiyar, Ph.D., will come on board as CEO.
Aiyar jumped into biopharma at Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit, working in immunology. Before Corvidia, he was an entrepreneur-in-residence at BioHealth Innovations and held roles at FlowMetric and Sofinnova Partners. At Korro’s helm, he’ll focus on building the team—which includes hunting for a chief scientific officer—and shepherd the company’s candidates toward the clinic over the next two years or so. Fierce Biotech
> Aspira Women’s Health has fleshed out its executive team with the appointments of Kaile Zagger as chief operating officer; Lesley Northrop as chief scientific officer; Diane Powis as chief spokeswoman; and Elena Ratner, M.D., as the new global chief medical adviser for clinical and translational medicine. The lone man promoted in this round, Gary Altwerger, M.D., becomes global deputy chief medical adviser for clinical and translational medicine. Fierce Pharma
> Gaithersburg, Maryland-based Novavax has tapped Gregory F. Covino as executive VP and chief financial officer. Executive VP John Trizzino, who previously served as CFO, will become the chief commercial officer while continuing in his role as chief business officer. In addition, CMO Filip Dubovsky, M.D., was promoted to executive VP, and Chief Information Officer Biegie Lee was promoted to senior VP.
> Santa Barbara, California-based Sientra has appointed Ron Menezes, former president and general manager for Almirall, as president and CEO. Menezes will replace Jeffrey Nugent, who will remain with Sientra through the end of the year in an advisory role. Release
> Belgian biotech Apaxen S.A. has named Bart Wuurman as CEO. Wuurman was previously CEO of De Novo Pharmaceuticals, AM-Pharma, Lanthio Pharma and Lyramid Limited.
> Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Werewolf Therapeutics has named Randi Isaacs, M.D., as chief medical officer. Isaacs most recently served as executive director and clinical site head of translational clinical oncology at NIBR. Release
> Chinook Therapeutics will bring on Eric Bjerkholt as chief financial officer. Bjerkholt joins Chinook from Aimmune Therapeutics, where he most recently served as CFO. Release
> Seattle-based Silverback Therapeutics has tapped Jonathan Piazza as chief financial officer. Piazza joins from Goldman Sachs, where he served as a managing director of healthcare investment banking. Release
> Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Magenta Therapeutics has appointed Steve Mahoney as chief financial and operating officer. Mahoney most recently served as president and chief operating officer of Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals. Release
> Winter Park, Florida-based Cytocom has named Taunia Markvicka as chief operating officer. Markvicka most recently served as chief operating officer at PolyPid.
> Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Foghorn Therapeutics has tapped Michael LaCascia as its chief legal officer. LaCascia most recently served as senior VP and chief legal officer at Q-State Biosciences. Release
> Talaris Therapeutics has appointed Michael Zdanowski as chief technology officer, Farah Natoli as head of portfolio and program management and Mary West as VP of clinical operations. Release