Chutes & Ladders—Pyxis signs on Pfizer spinoff founder Sullivan


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.

Pyxis Oncology nabs Pfizer spinoff founder as new CEO

Pyxis Oncology
Lara Sullivan, M.D., will take over as CEO.

Sullivan, the founder and CEO of Pfizer’s 2017 spinout company SpringWorks, will take over the very early-stage Boston-based biotech which also recently nabbed Medimmune’s former vice president of research and head of oncology R&D, Ronald Herbst, Ph.D., as its chief scientific officer. Sullivan takes over from Longwood General Partner and founding CEO David Steinberg, who becomes chair. “This is a very exciting time in immuno-oncology and Pyxis has a unique platform to understand the tumor microenvironment that will enable the company to make major contributions to the field,” said Sullivan. FierceBiotech


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Insitro signs on Stanford, Illumina alum as new chief data officer

Serafim Batzoglou, Ph.D., will come on as chief data officer.

Batzoglou previously led Illumina’s applied and computational biology team, co-founded the bioinformatics and data management company DNAnexus and worked alongside insitro founder and CEO Daphne Koller in Stanford University’s computer science department. He brings more than two decades of experience across academia and industry. During his 15 years at Stanford, he focused on the applications of algorithms and machine learning, the study of large-scale genomic and biomedical data and the development of tools for genomics. As vice president of applied and computational biology at Illumina, he led R&D of artificial intelligence and molecular assays to make genomic data more easily understood in human health. FierceBiotech

J&J Vision names new president of its global surgery division

Johnson & Johnson
Surgery division president Tom Frinzi will step down. 

J&J Vision announced that Frinzi, the worldwide president of its surgical business, plans to retire at the end of this year, following a 35-year career in ophthalmology. Frinzi previously led Abbott Medical Optics, including its cataract lens replacement, laser refractive surgery and consumer eye health businesses, before they were acquired by J&J for $4.325 billion in 2016. He has been succeeded by Warren Foust, who most recently served as worldwide president of J&J’s aesthetics and plastic surgery company, Mentor, a standalone unit housed within the conglomerate’s Ethicon medical devices division. Foust was also a member of J&J’s Cardiovascular and Specialty Services Leadership Team. FierceBiotech

> San Diego-based Locana has appointed James Burns, Ph.D., as CEO as part of the transition of recent CEO Jeffrey M. Ostrove, Ph.D., to solely a directorship. Burns joins Locana from Casebia, where he served as  Prior to Casebia, Burns spent the bulk of his career at Sanofi-Genzyme, including as North America site head for R&D. Release (PDF)

> Grünenthal announced that Jan Adams, M.D., has been appointed CSO. Adams has served as acting CSO since July and has led the strategic realignment of Grünenthal’s R&D. Adams joined Grünenthal in July as head of corporate strategy and portfolio management. Prior to Grünenthal, he served as a member of the global R&D leadership team at Takeda, where he held the position of head of strategic management and planning. 

> South San Francisco-based Alector has tapped Shehnaaz Suliman, M.D., as the company’s president and COO. Suliman joined Alector from Theravance Biopharma, where she served as senior VP of corporate development and strategy. Prior to Theravance, Suliman worked for Genentech and Roche Partnering. Release (PDF)

> Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Amylyx Pharmaceuticals has named Debra Canner as the company’s first global head of HR. Release

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