Chutes & Ladders—Third Rock's cardiometabolic biotech unveils C-suite

 Chutes and LaddersWelcome to this week's Chutes & Ladders, our roundup of significant leadership hirings, firings and retirings across the industry. Please send the good word—or the bad—from your shop to Gabrielle Masson and it will be featured here at the end of each week. 

Marea unveils C-suite and cardiometabolic program

Marea Therapeutics

Third Rock Ventures’ Marea has unveiled with $190 million and a mid-stage clinical program for patients with metabolic dysfunction. 

Josh Lehrer
Josh Lehrer, M.D. (LinkedIn)

Taking the charge is CEO Josh Lehrer, M.D., who has been in the top spot since October 2023. Before joining the newly emerged Marea, Lehrer led Graphite Bio (now merged with LENZ Therapeutics) and previously spent more than six years in various leadership roles at Global Blood Therapeutics.

Lehrer is joined by Ethan Weiss, M.D., Marea co-founder and chief scientific officer. The cardiologist is also an entrepreneur in residence with Third Rock and a volunteer associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco.

Marea’s three other co-founders are Charles Homcy, M.D., a partner emeritus for Third Rock Ventures; Sir Stephen O’Rahilly, M.D., professor at the University of Cambridge; and Joshua Rabinowitz, M.D., Ph.D., professor at Princeton University.

Other members of Marea’s management include Christine Garrett, Ph.D., as chief strategy officer, and Mark Joing as chief development operations officer. Garrett has clocked in time at Graphite Bio, Bristol Myers Squibb, Celgene and Novartis, among others, while Joing is the founder and CEO of Mojo Trials. Fierce Biotech 

Ashibio exits stealth with newly appointed scientific, medical officers


Alongside the announcement this week pulling back the curtain on Ashibio, a biotech developing new treatments for bone and connective tissue disorders, the company also unveiled a pair of new additions to its senior leadership team.

Victoria Smith, Ph.D., has been tapped as Ashibio’s first chief scientific officer, while Deborah Wenkert, M.D., will originate the role of chief medical officer. Smith’s three decades in biopharma include stops at Genentech, Arresto BioSciences, Gilead Sciences and, most recently, as CSO of Amphivena Therapeutics. Wenkert, meanwhile, is a pediatric rheumatologist who previously held the CMO title at Inozyme Pharma and PreciThera, and also spent about half a decade as a clinical research medical director for Amgen.

Ashibio was founded in 2022 by biotech investor MPM BioImpact and has been led since the start by CEO Pankaj Bhargava, M.D., who previously held leadership roles at Gilead, Sanofi and more.

While emerging from stealth this week, the company announced the accumulation of $40 million in seed and series A funding, led by MPM BioImpact. Release 

Arvinas CSO steps into new role after 5 years


Targeted protein degradation company Arvinas is shaking things up, selecting former Chief Scientific Officer Ian Taylor, Ph.D., to serve as president of R&D. Meanwhile, Arvinas’ former SVP of neuroscience and platform biology Angela Cacace, Ph.D., will take on Taylor’s CSO role.

Taylor joined the biotech in 2016 and has served as CSO since 2019. Before Arvinas, Taylor had worked at Big Pharmas Bayer and Pfizer. Cacace joined Arvinas in 2018 as VP of neuroscience and platform biology, with past experience at Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb and Fulcrum Therapeutics. Release 

> With new owner Highbridge Capital Management at the helm, Gamida Cell has named Joe Wiley as chief executive officer, Rory Nealon as chief financial officer, and Sheila Frame as chief commercial officer. Wiley founded Amryt Pharma and served as CEO until the company was acquired by Chiesi Farmaceutici in April 2023. Nealon, for his part, was the co-founder, chief financial and operating Officer at Amryt Pharma from 2015 through its acquisition in 2023. Frame, meanwhile, most recently served as president Americas of Amryt Pharma until its sale to the Chiesi Farmaceutici. Release

> PureTech Health-founded Seaport Therapeutics—working on new neuropsychiatric drugs—has tapped Antony Loebel, M.D., as chief medical officer and president of clinical development, while Lana Gladstein, J.D., has been named general counsel. Loebel most recently served as president and CEO of CNS-focused Sunovion Pharmaceuticals from 2019 through 2023. Prior to that, he was the company’s chief medical officer from 2011 through 2019. Gladstein, for her part, joins the company with over two decades of legal expertise. She most recently served as group general counsel at APRINOIA Therapeutics. Release

> Regel Therapeutics, which focuses on gene regulation, is tapping a new helmsman in Zogenix veteran Stephen Farr, Ph.D. Farr started at his new post on Thursday. Farr was president and CEO of Zogenix from 2015 until the company’s acquisition by UCB in 2022, Regel explained in a release. Prior that his run as CEO, Farr was president and chief operating officer at Zogenix from the company’s inception in 2006. Release

> Clinical-stage TGF-beta disorder specialist Keros Therapeutics is shaking up its board and executive roster, the company announced earlier this week. Christopher Rovaldi, Keros’ chief operating officer, has been promoted to take on the additional role of president. Rovaldi is succeeding Jasbir S. Seehra, Ph.D., the company’s CEO, who will continue to serve as president through June 30. Seehra will also become chair of Keros’ board effective July 1. Release

> Eric von Hofe, Ph.D., has been named the first CEO of CellxLife, a biotech founded late last year to develop a therapeutic vaccine for children with recurring metastatic Ewing sarcoma and osteosarcoma. Von Hofe previously put in 20 years as president of Antigen Express, along with shorter stints as president of AffyImmune Therapeutics and in program director roles at Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Hybridon. Release

> Kriya Therapeutics has tapped Katherine Eade to serve as the gene therapy company’s chief legal officer. Eade is a director on Harvard Biosciences’ board and most recently served as a biopharma consulting general counsel and advisor. Release