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.
Radius CEO Høiland hands reins to ex-Elan boss Martin
CEO Jesper Høiland will step down after nearly three years.
Høiland will step aside in favor of Kelly Martin, the banker-turned-biopharma-chief who led Elan Pharmaceuticals for more than 12 years. Høiland’s departure is spurred by a desire to return to his native Denmark after 25 years abroad, as Radius chief and in various roles at Novo Nordisk, including as president of the Danish drugmaker’s U.S. business. Radius brought him on in July 2017 to take over from Bob Ward, who guided the company through its IPO and the journey of Tymlos, its osteoporosis drug, to approval. He was the right man for the job, then-Chairman Kurt Graves said at the time, with “true global experience” and multiple drug launches under his belt. FierceBiotech
Targovax nabs Roche veteran as CSO
Victor Levitsky, M.D., Ph.D., will come aboard as CSO.
Levitsky will join the team after spending five years as VP and head of oncology research at Molecular Partners as well as a near four-year tenure at Roche as a senior principal scientist and tumor immunology leader. Levitsky spent the first 20 years of his career as an academic research scientist, including associate professor positions at both the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. He will now gear up to push on with Targovax’s adenovírus-based cancer therapies, which center on ONCOS-102, an early-stage med set up to directly kill cancer cells and trigger an innate immune response. FierceBiotech
Rome Therapeutics debuts with $50M and Kapeller at the helm
Rosana Kapeller will debut as CEO at the newly funded biotech.
Kapeller left Nimbus Therapeutics, the company she built from the ground up, in 2018 “to do something different.” Two years and a stint at GV later, she’s unveiling that something: Rome Therapeutics, a new biotech startup looking to drug parts of the human genome previously spurned as “junk DNA.” The company starts life with $50 million in series A capital from GV, Arch Venture Partners and Partners Innovation Fund. Its mission? To go beyond the 2% of the genome that codes directly for proteins in search of new drug targets for cancer and autoimmune disease. It’s looking at parts of the genome called the repeatome, made up of—you guessed it—repeating sequences of nucleic acids, called repeats for short. FierceBiotech
> Bedford, Massachusetts-based Anika Therapeutics has named Cheryl Blanchard, Ph.D., as president and CEO. Prior to joining Anika, Blanchard served as president and CEO of Microchips Biotech and held various officer positions at Zimmer. Release
> Waltham, Massachusetts-based Xilio Therapeutics will bring on Martin Huber, M.D. as CMO. Most recently, Huber served as senior VP and CMO at Tesaro before its acquisition by GlaxoSmithKline. Prior to Tesaro, Huber was VP of oncology clinical research at Merck Research Laboratories. Release
> Saniona has named Rudolf Baumgartner, M.D., as CMO and head of clinical development, effective May 1. Baumgartner most recently served as CMO for the Flatley Discovery lab and previously was EVP and CMO for Inotek Pharmaceuticals. Release
> Mirum Pharmaceuticals has tapped Peter Radovich as its COO. Radovich most recently served as executive VP of operations for South San Francisco-based Global Blood Therapeutics. Release
> Danish drugmaker Galecto has appointed Jonathan Freve as CFO. Freve joins Galecto from Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals, where he was CFO and treasurer. Prior to joining Spring Bank, Freve was senior director of finance at Santaris Pharma. Release
> Aurinia Pharmaceuticals has tapped Joe Miller as CFO. Miller most recently served as CFO, principal executive officer and corporate secretary at Cerecor. Prior to Cerecor, Miller was VP of finance at Sucampo Pharmaceuticals. Release
> New Hope, Pennsylvania-based Orchestra BioMed has named Bob Laughner as VP of regulatory affairs. Before joining Orchestra, Laughner served as regulatory director of medical device and combination products at AstraZeneca. Release
> Berlin-based CDMO ProBioGen AG has tapped Lutz Hilbrich, Ph.D., as CEO, effective June 1. Hilbrich was most recently VP and head of the biosimilars platform at Sanofi China. Release