Chutes & Ladders—Sanofi Genzyme’s chief bows out

Sanofi Genzyme's CEO Meeker is stepping down, while the company just gained approval for Dupixent.

Chutes and Ladders

Welcome to this week's Chutes and Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry. Please send the good word—or the bad—from your shop to Eric Sagonowsky (email) or Angus Liu (email), and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Sanofi Genzyme’s head Meeker leaves before key rollouts

Sanofi logo
David Meeker

David Meeker will leave Genzyme unit as CEO.

David Meeker, Sanfoi’s EVP and CEO of the Genzyme unit, will step down in June. The news came right after Sanofi and partner Regeneron gained approval for Dupixent, one of the biggest new drug of the year. Meeker was supposed to oversee the rollout of that drug, which is expected peak sales of above $3 billion. Now that responsibility will fall on his successor, Bill Sibold, Sanofi Genzyme’s head of multiple sclerosis, oncology and immunology. Sibold has been involved in the Dupixent project, along with the potential rollout of rheumatoid arthritis med sarilumab. In July 2015, Sanofi CEO Olivier Brandicourt, who just took over that February, put Sanofi’s specialty drugs, including oncology, under Genzyme. Then, he revamped the French drugmaker’s top management team to fit a “strategic roadmap”, and diabetes and cardiovascular chief Pascal Witz departed in that shakeup. FiercePharma

Allergan’s Patel takes helm at upstart Relay

Relay Therapeutics
Sanjiv Patel

Relay Therapeutics
Sanjiv Patel became president and CEO.

After 10 years with Allergan, mostly recently as its EVP and chief strategy officer, Sanjiv Patel, M.D., is leaving to lead Third Rock-backed startup Relay Therapeutics, taking over from the biotech’s interim CEO Alexis Borisy. Patel also used to lead the general management of Allergan’s emerging markets businesses. Prior to Allergan, Patel was a management consultant at Boston Consulting Group in London. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Relay rounded up $57 million in Series A last September, and is looking to create a next-generation “3D movie platform” for drug discovery, with an initial focus on cancer. FierceBiotech

Sarepta taps Regeneron exec Stehman-Breen as CMO

Catherine Stehman-Breen

Catherine Stehman-Breen was named CMO.

The controversial approval of Exondys 51 has definitely left a dent for Sarepta, but now the company, while still pushing sales for the Duchenne med, has taken on a new CMO to help it shift more focus to its pipeline. Catherine Stehman-Breen, M.D., two-year VP of clinical development and regulatory affairs at Regeneron became the choice. This appointment means a relief for Ed Kaye, M.D., the company’s CEO, who had been holding the two titles since 2011. Prior to Regeneron, Stehman-Breen held senior leadership roles at Amgen including VP of global development, leading the neuroscience, nephrology and bone therapeutic areas. FierceBiotech

> Newly founded Vincerx Therapeutic took on Robert Ring, Ph.D., former head of global R&D at Pfizer’s autism unit, as its CEO. FierceBiotech

> Karen Walker, formerly VP and global head of the dismantled Novartis cell and gene therapies unit, joined Seattle Genetics as VP of global quality. BioSpace story

> INC Research made several senior appointments to its Real World & Late Phase and Global Consulting team: James Featherstone as SVP of Strategy Consulting, Janet Baldwin as VP of the team and head of North America operations, Nathalie Doize as VP and head of Europe and Asia/Pacific operations, and Alastair MacDonald as executive director. Release

> Tenax Therapeutics’ CEO John Kelley resigned, and Michael Jebsen, president and CFO was appointed as interim CEO. Release

> Christopher Wright, M.D., Ph.D., previously leading global development efforts at Vertex, was named SVP of global development and chief development officer at Ironwood. Release

> Oncimmune, an early cancer detection company, appointed Shane Smith as SVP of market access & reimbursement. Release (PDF)

> London-based Shield Therapeutics appointed Joanne Estell as CFO, effective May 1. Release (PDF)

> Roivant Sciences appointed Dan Rothman, formerly a managing director at Goldman Sachs, as chief information officer, and chose Sascha Bucher as VP and head of global transactions based in Basel.