Chutes & Ladders—Sanofi CSO Nabel steps down in favor of insider Nestle


            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.

As Sanofi CSO Nabel hits the exit, former I&I head Nestle steps up

Gary Nabel, M.D., Ph.D., is leaving after eight years with Sanofi.

Nabel will hand the reins to Frank Nestle, M.D., previously the company’s global head of immunology and inflammation and chief scientific officer in North America. And that’s not all—Nestle is getting two roles for the price of one. In addition to becoming Sanofi’s new CSO, he’ll serve as head of research, replacing Yong-Jun Liu, M.D., who’s heading to China to be closer to his family. Nestle and Liu both joined Sanofi in 2016, the former leaving a professorship at King’s College London and the latter jumping from AstraZeneca’s MedImmune unit. Fierce Biotech


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BioMarin snags stem cell pioneer Eggan to lead early R&D

Kevin Eggan, Ph.D., will take over as early research chief.

Eggan, a Harvard University professor and recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant, will lead the company’s discovery programs, steering the development of its future pipeline. In addition to his work at Harvard, Eggan is the director of stem cell biology for the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute. He sits on the scientific advisory boards of multiple life science companies and has co-founded a trio of startups: Q-State Biosciences, EnClear Therapies and 2020 Fierce 15 honoree QurAlis. Fierce Biotech

ProQR nabs former Lucentis developer as new CSO

Naveed Shams
, M.D., Ph.D., comes on board as chief scientific officer.

Shams comes to the biotech, which has its base in the Netherlands and offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts, after a decade at ophthalmology-focused Santen Pharmaceutical, most recently as its CSO and head of global R&D. Now, he’s leaving Santen behind to strike up a new CSO role at ProQR, which last year pivoted more toward its eye disease pipeline after spinning out its early-phase oligonucleotide treatment for a rare inherited skin disorder to form a new company, Wings Therapeutics. Fierce Biotech

> Expansion Therapeutics has appointed Renato Skerlj, Ph.D., as the company’s new CEO and president. Skerlj most recently served as chief scientific officer at X4 Pharmaceuticals. Release

> South San Francisco-based Maze Therapeutics has tapped Sarah Noonberg, M.D., Ph.D., as chief medical officer. Noonberg joins Maze from prior roles as CMO of Nohla Therapeutics and Prothena Biosciences. Release

> U.K. biotech Achilles Therapeutics has tapped Karl Peggs as chief medical officer, effective Jan.4. Peggs is currently a professor of transplant science and cancer immunotherapy at the UCL Cancer Institute. Release

> Irving, Texas-based Caris Life Sciences has named Brian Lamon, Ph.D., as chief business officer and head of biopharma business development. Lamon was most recently VP and development lead of genitourinary malignancies and oncology development. Release

> Swiss biotech Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals AG has hired Aled Williams as chief business officer. Williams most recently held chief commercial officer positions at VectivBio and Therachon. Release (PDF)

> Boston-based Akili added Meghan Rivera as chief marketing officer. Rivera joins from AMAG Pharmaceuticals, where she ran the company’s women’s health business. Release

> Axovant has promoted Parag V. Meswani to the role of chief commercial officer. Meswani has been at Axovant since November 2018, leading new product planning, investor relations, patient advocacy and business development efforts. Release

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