Chutes & Ladders—Athira CEO resigns after investigation confirms she altered research

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                          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 Kyle LaHucik, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.


Athira Pharma CEO Leen Kawas resigns after independent investigation confirms she altered images in graduate school research

Athira Pharma
Leen Kawas, Ph.D., is out as CEO, president and board member of Athira Pharma. 

An independent investigation by a special committee confirmed June allegations that the CEO had altered images in research she conducted at Washington State University, which helped lead to the founding of Athira. She had been on leave since the allegations came to light in the summer. Replacing Kawas is Chief Operating Officer Mark Litton, Ph.D. Fierce Biotech


Diabetes and psoriasis biotech vTv Therapeutics snags investor Deepa Prasad as next CEO and president

vTv Therapeutics 
Deepa Prasad will be the new president and CEO of vTv Therapeutics.

Prasad takes over the top perch from Stephen Holcombe, who will retire. Prasad joins the psoriasis and Type 1 diabetes biotech from WestRiver Group. While at the investment firm, she led financings in Design Therapeutics (of which she's a board member), Curai and Ginger, which is now combining with Headspace in a $3 billion deal. She joins as the biotech prepares for phase 3 pivotal studies in its lead program. Release


Opus Genetics snags former Kodiak Sciences executive director to fill chief scientific officer post

Opus Genetics
Ash Jayagopal, Ph.D., will be the chief scientific officer at Opus Genetics.

Jayagopal joins the gene therapy company from Kodiak Sciences, where he was executive director of discovery medicine. Joining him at the biotech, which is focused on inherited retinal diseases, is Chief Operating Officer Joe Schachle. The COO was previously vice president at Grifols and prior to that was COO for Parion Sciences. Release


> Bridget Martell, M.D., is the new CEO and president of Artizan Biosciences. She's on the board of Achieve Life Sciences and a venture partner at AlleyCorp's Healthcare Fund. Release

> Suman Verma, M.D., Ph.D., is the new chief scientific officer of Lucid Diagnostics and vice president of molecular diagnostics for parent company PAVmed. Verma joins from Bridge Diagnostics, where she was vice president of R&D. Release

> Sio Gene Therapies is shaking up its leadership team after Chief Research and Development Officer Gavin Corcoran, M.D., said he will leave Nov. 12 to work at a health tech company. CEO Pavan Cheruvu, M.D., will take over Corcoran's role. The biotech also said it's searching for its first chief medical officer and a senior vice president of early development and scientific affairs. Release

> Kyle Smith was promoted to president and chief operating officer of Aprecia Pharmaceuticals after being at the biotech for a decade, including the past three years as vice president of operations. Patrick Staudt was promoted to fill Smith's old role. Release

> Katharina Staufer, M.D., becomes chief medical officer of rare diseases biotech Versantis after serving as head of transplant medicine at Inselspital, University Hospital, in Bern, Switzerland. Release

> Valerie Jansen, M.D., Ph.D., was promoted to chief medical officer at clinical-stage biotech Elevation Oncology after holding the vice president of clinical development post. Release

> Libra Therapeutics named Philip Lambert, Ph.D., its first chief scientific officer. Lambert joins from Centogene, where he held the same post leading the company's drug discovery work. Release

> Myrtle Potter joins the board of Guardant Health. Potter is CEO of Sumitovant Biopharma and has held executive roles at Genentech and Bristol Myers Squibb. She is also a Liberty Mutual and University of Chicago board member and has been on the boards of Amazon, Axsome Therapeutics and Express Scripts. Release

> Hamid Erfanian starts as the new chief executive officer of Enzo Biochem in November after serving as chief commercial officer of Euroimmun, a PerkinElmer company. Elazar Rabbani transitions to the role of chief scientific officer. Release

> Gisela Paulsen is the new chief operating officer of Oncocyte after serving as general manager of Exact Science's Genomic Health. Release

> Novome Biotechnologies named Bill McLeod its next chief financial officer, snagging him from Surrozen, where he was a corporate finance consultant on the company's SPAC merger and before that was co-head of equity capital markets at Stifel. Release

> Marc Schneebaum will be the new chief financial officer of Avalyn Pharma after serving as CFO and senior vice president at Madrigal Pharmaceuticals, where he worked on more than $600 million in equity capital financing for phase 2 and 3 studies. Release

> Thomas T. Thomas is now chief financial officer of clinical-stage infections biotech Alopexx after running a financial consulting firm and serving as a proprietor of a vineyard. Thomas previously worked at Genentech for a dozen years up until 2006. Release

> Haijun Sun, Ph.D., is leaving his post as head of antibody pharmacology at GlaxoSmithKline to be chief scientific officer of ONA Therapeutics, which is focused on advanced cancer. Release

> Gregg Nyberg, Ph.D., will be the new chief technology officer of Landmark Bio, and Michael Covington will serve as chief quality and regulatory officer. Nyberg was an associate vice president at Merck working on biologics process development, and Covington was vice president of regulatory chemistry, manufacturing and controls for Novartis Gene Therapies. Release

> Karolyn Park will be the first vice president of U.S. commercial for X4 Pharmaceuticals after serving as a senior director of U.S. hematology portfolio strategy at Takeda. Release

> Mason Freeman, M.D., was named executive vice president of clinical development at CinCor Pharma after  founding the translational research center at Massachusetts General Hospital. Release

> Sumitovant's subsidiary Urovant Sciences made a slate of hires. Laura Genatossio was named senior vice president and general manager for Europe; Alana Darden Powell was promoted to vice president of corporate communications; Mark Niemaszek was named SVP of corporate planning; and Ted Chan was promoted to SVP and associate general counsel and head of IP. Release

> Matthias Alder was named chief operating officer of Gain Therapeutics after holding the chief business officer role at Autolus Therapeutics. Release

> Enveda Biosciences named August Allen its chief platform officer after he led product management at Recursion Pharmaceuticals. Release

> Vizgen named Dale Levitzke its senior vice president of global sales and support. Release

> Cleerly named Jim Hartman its chief revenue officer. Release

> Sandy Falk, M.D., is the new editor-in-chief of Merck's Merck Manuals. Release