Takeda, GSK veteran takes the helm at Sangamo as Lanphier retires

Sangamo

Big Pharma veteran Dr. Alexander (Sandy) Macrae has taken on the role of president and CEO of Californian biotech Sangamo Biosciences ($SGMO) after the retirement of its former head Edward Lanphier, who will become the company's chairman.

The company said that Lanphier has retired from his position as the company's president and CEO effective today, and will become its new non-executive chair later this month. Its new leader, Dr. Macrae, 53, comes with a long service history in the Big Pharma arena, previously being the global medical officer of Takeda from 2012 to March 2016. Dr. Macrae also held various positions at GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) since 2004. He was educated in the U.K.

The company focuses on gene editing technology, with trials ongoing in HIV/AIDS and hemophilia A and B, and currently has a market cap of around $500 million.

In a SEC filing announcing the change, the company disclosed that Dr. Macrae will receive a base salary of $600,000 per year, while also being able to gain an annual cash bonus should the company hit its targets.

And that’s not all--Dr. Macrae will also be given $200,000 as a “sign-on bonus”--although that will need to be returned should he leave “without good reason” within the next year. He can also purchase up to 700,000 shares of common stock of the company.

The biotech has had mixed fortunes in recent months after Shire ($SHPG) ended its 3-year gene editing pact, with each company hanging on to the programs best aligned to its goals.

The pair joined up in 2012 when Shire paid $13 million upfront and promised undisclosed millions more to work with Sangamo on so-called ZFP therapeutics, lab-crafted proteins designed to interrupt DNA sequences and correct genetic defects.

But in fall of last year the two split up, with Shire handing back the rights to early-stage, ZFP-powered treatments for hemophilia A and B but keeping some Sangamo-discovered leads in Huntington's disease and another undisclosed target.

The company’s $320 million deal with Biogen ($BIIB) focused on hemoglobinopathies--such as sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia--is, however, still on.

- check out the release

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