Chutes & Ladders—Sanofi's CMO takes on chief digital officer role

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

Sanofi's new chief digital officer joins wave of executives looking to leverage tech for treatments

Sanofi small logo
CMO Ameet Nathwani, M.D., was named the company's first chief digital officer.

The French drugmaker is adding digital responsibilities for its chief medical officer, Nathwani, combining the two roles as it aims to join treatments and tech in the marketplace. Going forward, Nathwani will lead Sanofi’s efforts in merging R&D of new medicines with digital health technology and big data. While Sanofi’s combination of a chief digital and medical officer is unique, it follows a trend of Big Pharma companies bringing on CDOs for the first time, including hires at Pfizer, Merck, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline. FiercePharma

Parexel nabs high-profile former FDA staffers, beefing up its regulatory offerings

Parexel Logo

Kurt Brorson, Ph.D.; Changting Haudenschild, M.D.,; Mohammad Heidaran, Ph.D.; and Mwango Kashoki, M.D., joined the consulting group.

The revolving door of FDA staffers into the life science industry continues, with Brorson,  an expert in viral safety of biopharmaceuticals and clearance during manufacturing, coming off a 26-year stint with the agency, primarily in CDER. Haudenschild is a 12-year veteran of the Office of Tissue and Advanced Therapies in CBER, while Heidaran spent nine years at the biologics center, as well as nine years at the NCI. Kashoki, meanwhile, spent 16 years at the FDA on drug review, development and regulatory work. FierceCRO

Nimbus brings on Janssen discovery head as CSO with plans to expand its portfolio

nimbus therapeutics

Nimbus Therapeutics
Peter Tummino, Ph.D., was named chief scientific officer.

Formerly Janssen’s global head of lead discovery, Tummino joins the former Fierce 15 winner as it moves its Tyk2 inhibitor closer to the clinic for autoimmune disorders, in a partnership with Celgene. In addition, the company has plans to expand the depth and breadth of its portfolio, including against targets in metabolic disease, cancer and inflammatory disorders. At J&J’s Janssen, Tummino led discovery teams in Europe and the U.S. across all of the Big Biotech’s therapeutic areas. FierceBiotech

> João Siffert, M.D., has been given the permanent CEO job at Abeona Therapeutics, after serving as interim chief. This comes after the departure of its disgraced former leader Carsten Thiel last November. A former AveXis director, Siffert was initially brought on as the cell and gene therapy biotech’s head of R&D and its CMO last year. FierceBiotech

> Auris Health founder and CEO Frederic Moll will join Johnson & Johnson after the completion of a more than $3.4 billion acquisition deal. Moll previously helped found robotic surgery giant Intuitive Surgical. FierceMedtech

Axovant's president and chief commercial officer, Mark Altmeyer, will lead the company's small molecule team in a new spinout, Arvelle Therapeutics. As it narrows its focus to gene therapies, Axovant will lose about 25% of its staff, including through the transition to Arvelle and in winding down its other small-molecule development work. FierceBiotech

Former Agios Pharmaceuticals CEO David Schenkein has joined the life science investing team at GV. Schenkein will co-lead the life science team at the fund, formerly known as Google Ventures, with Krishna Yeshwant. FierceBiotech

Skyhawk Therapeutics has brought on Roberto Guerciolini as chief medical officer, to lead clinical development of its RNA-targeting small molecules. Guerciolini was previously CMO of SIRNA Therapeutics, development lead at WaVe, and was co-founder of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals. He's also held positions at Shire and Millennium Pharmaceuticals. Release

Xtant Medical has hired new five senior sales executives, including Amedica's VP of sales and marketing, Dana Lyons, as its VP of U.S. sales, plus four regional VPs: including Jamey Rottman for the mid-Atlantic region and Chris Cochran for the Southeast, both from Amedica. Additionally, Stryker Spine's John Eekhof will cover the Northeast, while Curasan's Luke Armand will cover the west. Release 

GigaGen promoted its VP of R&D, Adam Adler, Ph.D., to chief scientific officer. It also promoted Rena Mizrahi, Ph.D., to VP of process development and Catherine Medina to VP of operations. Release

Kieran Chouhan joined Recipharm as director of business management for sales activities in North America. Release