Chutes & Ladders—Repertoire Immune Medicines, buzzing from $189M series B, taps Celgene vet as CMO

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

With $189M freshly in the bank, Repertoire Immune Medicines nabs ex-Celgene exec as CMO

Repertoire Immune Medicines
Theodore Reiss, M.D., enters the fold as executive vice president and chief medical officer.

At Flagship Pioneering's Repertoire, Reiss will be on deck to help run its DECODE tech against cancer. Repertoire was born last March when Flagship merged two of its portfolio companies, Cogen Immune Medicines and Torque Therapeutics. The goal was to bring together the immune decoding and immuno-oncology platforms from Cogen and Torque, respectively. Meanwhile, former Bioverativ CEO John Cox was tapped to lead the combined company. Reiss joins shortly after the company ginned up a $189 million series B round to take its development to the next level. Reiss previously worked at Novo Ventures and Celgene prior to that, where he was head of clinical research and development I&I. Meanwhile, Repertoire also hired Jorg Thommes, Ph.D., as executive vice president for pharmaceutical sciences and operations. Fierce Biotech

After SPAC up, Renovacor staffs up with ex-MyoCardia CMO to lead clinical development

Marc Semigran, M.D., signs on as chief medical officer.

Preparing to go public later this year, Renovacor has signed on MyoKardia vet Semigran as CMO to manage and direct its global pipeline. Semigran held the same post at MyoKardia and also served as senior vice president of medical science. He was with the company through its $13.1 billion exit to Bristol Myers Squibb last year. At MyoKardia, he ran phase 1 and 2 studies, worked with global regulatory bodies and helped file the new drug application for obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy med mavacamten. The FDA is due to make a decision on that drug in early 2022. Mavacamten is estimated to generate $2 billion in 2026. Meanwhile, “Marc’s cardiovascular drug development expertise will be an invaluable asset” at Renovacor, CEO Magdalene Cook, M.D., said in a statement. The company is angling for approval for a clinical trial to test its lead heart muscle disease candidate REN-001 in mid-2022, with phase 1 and 2 clinical trials shortly afterward, the company has said in recent months. Fierce Biotech

Stellanova, a 'new star' in the biotech constellation, hopes for bright future with $15.5M series A

Stellanova Therapeutics 
Emmanuelle Schuler, Ph.D., MBA, joins as founding CEO.

Schuler joins rising star Stellanova as founding chief executive as part of the preclinical biotech's $15.5 million series A funding round. Stellanova will use the cash to propel its lead antibody into the clinic, build out a discovery platform and grow its team, which will include more leadership hires later this year. Stellanova’s lead candidate targets DKK3, a gene secreted by cancer-associated fibroblast cells. For her part, Schuler joins after serving as the founder of a life sciences and biotech consultancy. She also led Johnson & Johnson’s JLABS incubator in Houston, which incubated and still houses Stellanova. The company is initially setting its sights on pancreas and triple negative breast cancer, but it could venture into other cancers later, co-founder Rosa Hwang, M.D., told Fierce Biotech. Fierce Pharma

> Clinical-stage Immunovant is bidding adieu to its CEO Rita Jain, M.D., after just five months with the company. Her departure coincides with another roadblock for Immunovant's lead drug candidate, IMVT-1401. Jain is leaving “to pursue another opportunity,” the company said in its financial results for fiscal 2021. William Macias, M.D., Ph.D., will step into Jain’s shoes after serving as a member of senior management at Eli Lilly. Fierce Biotech

Generate Biomedicines has expanded its executive team by two: Mike Nohaile, Ph.D., joins as chief scientific officer, stepping down from his role as an operating partner at Flagship Pioneering to join the Generate team. Meanwhile, Molly Gibson, Ph.D., one of Generate's co-founders, is expanding her current role to chief strategy and innovation officer. She's also a principal at Flagship.

Merck KGaA is bulking up its neurology and immunology business to the tune of three. Seventeen-year Merck KGaA vet Amy Mahery joins as senior vice president, head of the neurology and immunology global business franchise; Jan Klatt joins the Merck KGaA team in Darmstadt, Germany, as senior vice president, head of the development unit neurology and immunology; and Amy Kao, M.D., is switching from her current role as head of global clinical development in immunology to lead the company's immunology research efforts. 

Tranquis Therapeutics has enlisted Frederic Godderis as chief operating officer and Jonas Hannestad, M.D, Ph.D., as chief medical officer. The company is developing new medicines it hopes will revolutionize the management of neurodegenerative and aging-related diseases. Previously, Godderis was co-founder and CEO of LARRK Bio, an immuno-dermatology startup. Hannestad comes over from Alkahest, where he was SVP of clinical development. Release

> Cell and gene therapy company Ambys Medicines has called upon Ronald Park, M.D., to take the helm as CEO. Before making the Ambys pivot, Park was EVP and general manager for health and DNA at Ancestry. He also held multiple roles at Roche and Genentech over a 17-year run, including co-global head and VP for Roche’s Personalized Healthcare Center of Excellence. Release

> Argenx has found a new chief commercial officer in Karl Gubitz. He'll take the reins from Eric Castaldi, who will remain with the company through June 30. Gubitz has a long track record at Big Pharma Pfizer, where he most recently served as vice president of finance within the global oncology business. Release

Lengo Therapeutics, working on novel precision medicines targeting driver mutations in oncology, has tapped Diana Hausman, M.D., as chief medical officer. Hausman comes on board from Zymeworks, where she held the same role for five years. Prior to that, she served as CMO at Oncothyreon. Release

Avadel Pharmaceuticals has signed on Jeff Cruikshank as vice president, sales; Denise Strauss as vice president, marketing and new product strategy; and Angela Woods as vice president, people and culture. Prior to joining Avadel, Cruikshank climbed the ranks in sales and commercial training at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Novartis and Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Biopharmaceutical marketer Strauss has overseen the launch of more than a dozen products from companies like Genfit, Pfizer, Schering-Plough and Boehringer Ingelheim. And Woods comes over from Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, where she was VP of human resources. Release

Avisa Diagnostics has called upon Barbara Bunger, Ph.D., to fill the newly created role of vice president, clinical development. She comes over from Clinical Development and Regulatory Services, where she was vice president of clinical research and regulatory strategy. Prior to that, she served as world wide director, clinical research, corporate clinical development at Beckton Dickinson. Release

Cancer research company Global Cancer Technology tapped M. Karen Newell Rogers, Ph.D., as chief scientific consultant and adviser, a role that will see her bolster GCT's research efforts in glioblastoma, nanoparticle technology and X-ray activated therapeutic delivery systems. She currently serves as chief scientific officer at BCell Solutions and previously held the same role at Aspire Biotechnology. Release

Kallyope, working on identifying and pursuing therapeutic opportunities that involve the gut-brain axis, has summoned Patrick Flanigan to the position of chief financial officer. He most recently held the same role at Ichnos Sciences and started his biotech journey at Genzyme, where he was a VP of investor relations. After that, he served for eight years as SVP at Celgene where he oversaw the investor relations and treasury functions. Release

> Imago BioSciences has appointed Wan-Jen Hong, M.D., as chief medical officer. Hong will head up clinical development of the Imago pipeline of therapies targeting LSD1 in various cancers and other bone marrow diseases. She joins from Genentech, where she served as group medical director in their late-stage clinical development group. Release

Janux Therapeutics welcomed Wayne Godfrey, M.D., as chief medical officer June 1. He'll be in charge of clinical advancement of Janux’s pipeline of next-generation T-cell engager immunotherapies, which it's designing to potentially treat multiple solid tumor indications. He previously served as VP of clinical development at IGM Biosciences, where he led the global clinical development of IGM’s emerging pipeline of proprietary bispecific T-cell engaging IgM antibodies. Release

Selexis has called upon Roland Hoffmann-Hecht, Ph.D., as its new chief business officer. He'll be in charge of all corporate and business development activities and report directly to Selexis helmsman Dirk Lange. Hoffmann-Hecht signs on from Polpharma Biologics, where he was head of business development, CDMO Europe. Release

Paige has signed up co-founder David Klimstra, M.D. for the role of chief medical officer, beginning in August. Klimstra will head up the clinical implementation and evidence generation for Paige’s technology, among other duties. He's currently chair of the Department of Pathology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and holds the James Ewing Alumni Chair of Pathology. Release