Chutes & Ladders—Sanofi recruits French auto executive to replace outgoing CFO

Chutes & Ladders

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 Conor Hale, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.


Sanofi recruits French auto exec to replace outgoing CFO 

Sanofi small logo

Jean-Baptiste Chasseloup de Chatillon will take over as CFO for Jérôme Contamine.

Chasseloup de Chatillon will join Sanofi following a two-month search. He previously served as CFO of the French automaker PSA Group, which includes brands such as Peugeot, Citroën and Opel. Contamine plans to retire at the end of September, after more than nine years with the company. FiercePharma

Molecular Partners shuffles leadership, names Regeneron cancer leader as CSO

Molecular Partners
Michael Stumpp, Ph.D., moves to chief operating officer, while Pamela Trail, Ph.D., joins as chief scientific officer.

Trail joins after seven years at Regeneron, ending as VP of oncology strategy and program direction. Previously, Trail held senior research positions at MedImmune, Seattle Genetics, Bayer and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Stumpp has overseen Molecular Partners’ DARPin oncology pipeline since its founding in 2004. The shuffle was precipitated by the promotion of Patrick Amstutz to interim CEO in late 2016. FierceBiotech

Analyst Eric Schmidt moves to biotech as Allogene's new CFO


Cowen veteran Eric Schmidt joins as chief financial officer.

News of the move comes six weeks after Schmidt confirmed he was considering an offer from Arie Belldegrun's latest CAR-T startup, which is developing off-the-shelf therapies. Schmidt joined Cowen in 1998, and served as managing director and senior biotechnology analyst. He will stay on as a senior advisor to the company. FierceBiotech

GlaxoSmithKline's head of dermatology joins Aclaris as CMO

Aclaris Therapeutics
David Gordon, MB ChB, joined  as chief medical officer. Aclaris also brought on the FDA’s Elaine Morefield as director of product quality.

The hires come as Aclaris plans to expand the number of clinical programs in its JAK inhibitor pipeline. After 18 years at GSK ending as a senior VP, Gordon also served as a clinical VP and development leader. At the FDA, Morefield managed CMC review processes and implemented the agency's quality-by-design initiative. FierceBiotech

> Optimapharm named Charles Denis Maher as its new business development VP for the Americas, as well as Roy Ovel as its chief commercial officer, following the opening of an office in New York. Maher joins from Sundia Meditech Company NY, while Ovel held senior positions at ICON, Worldwide Clinical Trials and TFS International. FierceBiotech

> A federal grand jury indicted Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes and former COO Sunny Balwani for several counts of wire fraud, months after Holmes and Theranos settled fraud charges with the SEC. Holmes officially stepped down as CEO last week. FierceBiotech

> Merz North America has officially appointed Alana Sine as CFO, after she served in the interim since March. Sine has assumed finance roles of increasing responsibility, including tax and financial reporting, over the course of her 13-year tenure at the company. Release

> Twist Bioscience named James Thorburn as CFO and Aaron Sato, Ph.D., as CSO for pharma and VP of protein engineering. Thorburn was previously chief sales officer of Televerde, while Sato was CSO of LakePharma. Release

> Invicro and Ambry Genetics named Kenneth Bloom, M.D., as CMO of advanced pathology and genomic services. Bloom was previously president and head of oncology and immunotherapy at Human Longevity. Release

> Atara Biotherapeutics has begun building a new $55 million CAR-T manufacturing facility in Thousand Oaks, California, with plans to hire 100 staff after its 2019 completion. FiercePharma

> Evotec signed a deal to purchase Sanofi’s infectious disease unit, transferring 100 employees, over 10 drug candidates and $70 million upfront. Evotec now expects to have 180 infectious disease researchers after adding the staff. FierceBiotech

> After making over $1 million on illegal stock trades, former Puma Biotechnology executive Robert Gadimian received a prison term. FiercePharma

> Purdue laid off roughly 350 employees, about half of whom were salespeople, following mounting legal woes related to the opioid crisis. The company has about 550 employees left. FiercePharma

> Regulatory support from the Chinese government has contributed to China’s booming biotech industry and success in luring talent away from multinational drugmakers, according to reports. FiercePharma