Chutes & Ladders—Stada CEO, CFO quit after buyout failure

Stada replaces CEO and CFO as Bain and Cinven prepare for a second yet similar buyout bid.

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.

Stada replaces CEO and CFO after €5.3B buyout deal failed

Engelbert Coster Tjeenk Willink

Engelbert Coster Tjeenk Willink became interim CEO.

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Stada’s CEO Matthias Wiedenfels and CFO Helmut Kraft have resigned after the company’s €5.32 billion buyout deal with private equity firm Cinven and investment firm Bain Capital fell through without enough shareholder support. Engelbert Coster Tjeenk Willink, a former Boehringer Ingelheim exec, took on as CEO, while Bernhard Duettmann, previously with chemicals firm Lanxess and skincare company Beiersdorf, became CFO. Both appointments are temporary and last until the end of the year. It is rumored that Bain and Cinven will file a second bid with a similar price only at a lower shareholder approval requirement just slightly below the previous support level the deal garnered. FiercePharma

David Hallal joins Scholar Rock as chairman

Scholar Rock

Scholar Rock
David Hallal became chairman.

After leaving his previous post as Alexion’s CEO last December, David Hallal has found himself a new job—chairman of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech Scholar Rock. The biotech recognized Hallal’s track record of directing successful drug development projects during his time at Alexion and at Amgen, especially his role in transforming Alexion from a precommercial company in 2006 to one with more than $3 billion in annual revenues by 2016, and from a single-product to a multi-asset enterprise. Prior to Alexion, Hallal also held commercial leadership roles at OSI Eyetech and Biogen. His expertise could help Scholar Rock as its lead program SRK-015, an inhibitor of latent myostatin intended for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy, is progressing into clinical trials expected to commence in mid-2018. Release

CRISPR-Cas9 player Caribou welcomes new CSO

Steven Kanner

​​​​Caribou Biosciences
Steven Kanner, Ph.D., was named CSO.

Caribou Biosciences, one of the stars of the emerging CRISPR-Cas gene editing realm, was cofounded by Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D., a University of California, Berkeley, faculty member and a pioneer of the CRISPR-Cas technology, and has been led by UC Berkeley molecular and cell biology Ph.D. graduate Rachel Haurwitz since its inception. Now, the company just tapped Steven Kanner, Ph.D., another Berkeley alumni, as its CSO. Kanner brings more than 25 years of experience in drug discovery and development, having previously held several research leadership roles with such biopharma companies as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Astex, Agensys and Astellas. He was most recently VP of discovery biology at Arrowhead, which experienced a major drug project failure in 2016. FierceBiotech

> Intrexon named Helen Sabzevari, Ph.D., as SVP of Intrexon Health Therapeutics and head of R&D of Intrexon's subsidiary Precigen. Release

> Fresh off a $38 million IPO, Avenue Therapeutics, a Fortress Biotech subsidiary, turned Lucy Lu, M.D., to become its permanent CEO from an interim post she had held since the company’s 2015 inception; Robyn Hunter took on Lu’s previous post as Fortress’s CFO. Release (PDF)

> John Golubieski will become CNS-focused Axsome Therapeutics' CFO. Release