Chutes & Ladders—Shire R&D chief jumps ship to Ironwood spinout amid Takeda megamerger


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.

Shire R&D chief jumps ship to Ironwood spinout amid Takeda megamerger

Andreas Busch

Cyclerion Therapeutics
Andy Busch, Ph.D., will serve as chief innovation officer.

Cyclerion has poached Shire’s ex-head of R&D less than 18 months after Busch joined the company from his 13-year stint at Bayer and after Shire was recently bought out by Japanese pharma Takeda. Busch will lead Cyclerion's so-called "Innovation Center" and will report to Peter Hecht, CEO and founder of Ironwood, and the spinout's president and chief scientific officer, Mark Currie, Ph.D. To start, Busch will inherit Cyclerion’s current pipeline of five soluble guanylate cyclase stimulator programs for orphan diseases. FierceBiotech

Daiichi taps new CEO as it unveils tie-up with AstraZeneca

Daiichi Sankyo
Sunao Manabe will take over as CEO June 17.

Currently the company’s president and chief operating officer, Manabe will succeed George Nakayama, who has served as Daiichi’s CEO since 2010 and took on the additional role of chairman in April 2017 when Manabe became president. The news comes on the heels of a gigantic deal with AstraZeneca, potentially worth nearly $7 billion, focused on Daiichi’s lead antibody-drug conjugate for HER2-positive cancers. Daiichi is steering away from cardiovascular and metabolism diseases and toward oncology as part of an overhaul plan geared for 2025, which included top-level R&D management changes last month. FiercePharma

U.K. biotech Kymab nabs new CEO from Merck KGaA


Simon Sturge was brought on as CEO.

Sturge joins from Merck KGaA, where as executive VP he oversaw business development, global strategy and operations. He will take over for David Chiswell, who began serving as interim CEO in 2015 before taking on the post full-time. Before his EVP role, Sturge was chief operating officer of the German Merck's healthcare business, and he has also held positions at Boehringer Ingelheim, Celltech Biologics, Lonza Biologics, Octoplus and Ribotargets. At Kymab, he'll look to move a suite of antibodies through the clinic in immuno-oncology and chronic inflammation. FierceBiotech

> Bayer is looking to boost its R&D presence in Cambridge, Massachusetts' Kendall Square hub amid a 12,000 global job culling. The German pharma plans to “significantly expand” from its current 20 employees to more than 150 within the next three years. FierceBiotech 

> Sanofi's U.S. sales force is set for another round of job cuts, with layoffs affecting an unknown number of employees starting in June. Sanofi is among a number of drugmakers hit by pricing pressures in diabetes in recent years, with a decline in 2018 sales compared to the year before. FiercePharma

> AstraZeneca's investors have balked at reelecting its longest-serving board member, Marcus Wallenberg, arguing that his other jobs could prevent him from devoting the necessary time to the company. Wallenberg also serves as the chairman of banking company Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, the Saab Group and Foundation Asset Management, as well as a board member of Investor AB, Temasek Holdings and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. FiercePharma

> Gilead Sciences will cut loose 150 salespeople who rep its cardiopulmonary drugs, a $1.7 billion franchise staring down a double-barrel of key patent expirations this year for its Letairis and Ranexa drugs. FiercePharma

> Medtronic has named Allergan's Sean Lennon as its new chief information officer, effective April 29. The former big pharma CIO will take over for Mike Hedges, who is retiring after 19 years at the devicemaker, including 10 as information chief. Lennon has also held IT leadership positions at Watson/Actavis, Novartis and Schering-Plough.

> Synlogic Therapeutics has brought on Scott Plevy, M.D., to be chief scientific officer. Plevy formerly headed up gastroenterology and interleukin-23 research at Janssen, and joins Synlogic as it pushes a pipeline of “synthetic biotic” medicines using genetically engineered living microbes. FierceBiotech

> WuXi AppTec has hired Frederick Hausheer, M.D., as chief medical officer to take “medical, scientific and operational leadership” of WuXi's clinical ops in the U.S., China and other territories. Hausheer is the former chair of BioNumerik Pharmaceuticals and served in the National Cancer Institute's Experimental Therapeutics Section as well as on the NCI Decision Network Panel and the NCI's Institutional Review Board. FierceCRO

> Dan Chichester will be Ogilvy Health’s first chief experience officer, a new position for creating seamless digital experiences for the agency’s pharma and healthcare clients. FiercePharmaMarketing

> The Nobel laureate and Japanese immunologist who helped create Bristol-Myers Squibb's blockbuster cash cow Opdivo, Tasuku Honjo, wants to renegotiate his contract, saying his 1% share of sales and licensing revenue doesn't fairly reflect his role. FiercePharma

> New Jersey-based Catalent has opened a 30,000-square-foot clinical supply facility in Shanghai, with plans to employ up to 100 workers. Catalent also has recently made investments in clinical supply manufacturing in Singapore and Japan. FiercePharmaManufacturing

> Cambrex plans to begin operations at a new, $24 million API manufacturing facility in Iowa next month. Currently being validated, the 6,000-square-foot facility houses four reactors that range from 200 to 1,000 gallons in capacity, aimed at high-potency drugs in all phases of development. FiercePharmaManufacturing

> The U.S. Department of Justice has arrested 24 people in a massive investigation into an international network of telemedicine companies, devicemakers and healthcare providers. The $1.2 billion scheme of illegal kickbacks and bribes could be one of the largest healthcare fraud cases ever seen by the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services, the agencies said. FierceMedTech

> A new federal indictment claims Indivior lied and cheated its way to billions in Suboxone sales, with prosecutors eyeing a $3 billion judgment in the case. FiercePharma