Chutes & Ladders: TxCell recruits former Novartis lab head as VP


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.

Former Novartis CAR-T scientist Li Zhou joins TxCell to lead its CAR-Treg program

ImaraLi Zhou

Li Zhou
becomes VP of cell engineering.

When Novartis announced in August that it was closing its Cell and Gene Therapy Unit and terminating about 400 employees, its former lab head and investigator, Li Zhou, had already left the company. Now he has found himself a new place as VP of cell engineering at TxCell. With a PhD in molecular and cell biology from Peking University, Zhou has about 20 years of experience in drug discovery gained in both biopharmas and academic labs. During his time at Novartis, he led the discovery and engineering activities on CAR-T cells for cancer immunotherapy--almost the same job description for his new position at TxCell. FierceBiotech

ICON appoints Steve Cutler as new CEO

ImaraGerald Cox

Steve Cutler will become the company’s new CEO.

As part of a planned succession of executive leadership, ICON will advance current COO Steve Cutler to the position of CEO, and current CEO Ciaran Murray will transition to the role of chairman of the board of directors. Both changes will be effective as of March 1, 2017. Cutler joined Icon in 2011 as president of its Clinical Research Services. Prior to that, he was CEO of Kendle. Release

Pfizer terminates Min-Jean Yin as a senior principal scientist


Min-Jean Yin
departed the company.

Due to concerns over the scientific integrity of several papers, Min-Jean Yin, oncologist and 13-year senior principal scientist for Pfizer, has left the company. Questions about potential duplicated images in those papers were first raised by PubPeer and were later posted on the blog For Better Science by Leonid Schneider, a Germany-based science writer. One of the six papers in question has been corrected, and the other five, which focused on cancer research on the efficiency of Pfizer’s own pharmacological enzyme inhibitors, were retracted. FierceBiotech

> Amgen recruits former president, chair and CEO of DuPont Ellen Kullman to its board. Release

> Depomed has enlisted former worldwide chairman for Johnson & Johnson’s pharma group Robert Savage and Abbott vet James Tyree to its board. FiercePharma

> Veeva has poached VPs Richard Young and Michelle Marlborough from Medidata. Release | Read more on FierceBiotechIT

> KaloBios Pharmaceuticals appointed David Tousley as interim chief financial officer of the company. Release

> Joseph Bolen, former CSO of Moderna, has been appointed as chief scientific officer of PureTech Health. FierceBiotech

> SELLAS Life Sciences has appointed former Barclays biotechnology research analyst Jonathan Eckard as chief business and strategy officer. Release

> Warp Drive Bio has appointed Decibel Therapeutics’ CEO and former Biogen exec Steven Holtzman as its latest board member. Release

> Ex-Teva CEO Shlomo Yanai is joining Moelis as senior adviser for healthcare and technology deals. Story

> Edge Therapeutics has appointed Daniel Brennan as chief operating officer. Release