Chutes & Ladders—Catalent taps new CEO, execs play C-suite musical chairs

 Chutes and LaddersWelcome 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 Max Bayer or Gabrielle Masson, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Catalent installs new CEO, shakes up leadership—and operations


New chief executive Alessandro Maselli has taken the reins from longtime CEO John Chiminski, who will assume the role of executive chair for the manufacturer’s board of directors.

Maselli, who has served as Catalent’s president and chief operating officer since February 2019, will maintain his title as president. 

Catalent has also named Aris Gennadios, Ph.D., group president of the company’s new pharma and consumer health unit. The new unit fuses Catalent’s former softgel and oral technologies arm with the company’s oral and specialty delivery and clinic supply service segments.

Maselli, Chiminski and Gennadios aren’t the only Catalent execs playing C-suite musical chairs. The company has also named Jonathan Arnold, president of oral and specialty delivery since 2017, to be its new chief commercial officer and head of transformation.

Meanwhile, Steven Fasman is set to assume the newly minted role of chief administrative officer. Fasman had previously served as general council since 2014.  

Lastly, Karen Flynn, Catalent’s current senior vice president and chief commercial officer, has announced her plan to retire.

The new Maselli-led Catalent will shift from reporting on the performance of four different business segments to only two areas—biologics, plus pharmaceuticals and consumer health—which each represent about half of the company’s total revenue. Fierce Pharma

After former CEO's abrupt exit, Adagio selects permanent leader

Adagio Therapeutics

David Hering is shedding his interim status—as well as his chief operating officer title—stepping into the role of permanent CEO more than four months after the infectious disease biotech’s founding chief executive suddenly resigned.

At the end of February, Hering replaced CEO Tillman Gerngross, Ph.D., after his abrupt resignation, which Adagio has released little information about, officially stating that Gerngross "agreed in principle to resign.”

Now, Hering, who has served as Adagio’s COO since July 2021, has been named the official CEO. Before joining Adagio, Hering was head of Pfizer’s mRNA global franchise where he helped launch the COVID-19 vaccine as president of North America.

Hering steps up as the biotech aims to make the case for an FDA authorization for its COVID-19 monoclonal antibody, dubbed adintrevimab or ADG20, after getting caught up in the omicron wave. Fierce Biotech

Richard Nieman leaves big pharma, joins as biotech Lyra Therapeutics' new CMO 

Lyra Therapeutics

Clinical-stage biotech Lyra Therapeutics has tapped Richard Nieman, M.D., as its chief medical officer, effective July 11.

Nieman, a pulmonologist with more than 25 years of experience in drug development, previously held leadership roles as senior vice president and worldwide medical head of immunology at Bristol Myers Squibb as well as head of R&D China for the Big Pharma. Before that, Nieman was global medical officer at Teva Pharmaceuticals and also served as head of Big Pharma Bayer’s Asia-Pacific medical affairs.

The leader comes from the world of Big Pharma to Lyra to help advance its late-stage product candidates to the clinic, including lead candidate LYR-210. The asset, based on Lyra’s transmucosal drug delivery platform, is a potential chronic rhinosinusitis treatment currently being assessed in phase 3 trials.  

Chronic rhinosinusitis is a condition in which the sinuses become inflamed and swollen for 12 weeks or longer. The first line of treatment includes nasal irrigation and steroids delivered as nasal sprays. However, these sprays aren’t very effective because they don’t reach the cause of the disease: inflammation in the paranasal sinuses. Release

> mRNA biotech Kernal Biologics snagged Manfred Kraus, Ph.D., as vice president of research and development. Kraus comes from Big Pharma Bristol Myers Squibb, where he served as scientific senior director at the Tumor Microenvironment Thematic Research Center. Prior to BMS, Kraus directed Pfizer's Oncology Research Unit. The leader will help expand Kernel’s mRNA platform and oversee the expansion of the biotech’s R&D team. Release

> New York-based biotech Kallyope has announced several leadership shakeups, including promoting Shirly Pinto, Ph.D., who has been with the company since 2017, to chief scientific officer. In addition, Jiajun Liu, Ph.D., has left Gemini Therapeutics to serve as Kallyope’s vice president and head of biometrics, while Michael Crutchlow, M.D., departs from Merck & Co. to serve as the biotech’s vice president and head of translational medicine. Release

> Politico is reporting that Vin Gupta, M.D., is being considered for a senior adviser position at the FDA. The agency intends to hire a principal medical adviser that will boost its public messaging, and, according to Politico, Gupta is the leading candidate. The pulmonologist, public health expert, presidential adviser and frequent NBC and MSNBC guest currently serves as Amazon’s chief medical officer for new products. Politico

> Israeli biotech PolyPid has tapped Dikla Czaczkes Akselbrad to lead the company as CEO. She formerly served as the biotech’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, and her appointment follows the retirement of Amir Weisberg, who served as PolyPid’s CEO since 2010. Release

> Netherlands biotech Intravacc, has expanded its management team and board of directors. Maj-Britt Kaltoft, Ph.D., joins as chief business officer, with past experience at Becton Dickinson and Novo Nordisk. Additionally, Edwin Kets, Ph.D., is stepping on as director of vaccine process development, while Intravacc's chief financial officer Nathalie Laarakker joins the board of directors. Release

> Christopher Fikry stepped into his new role as CEO of clinical trial tech firm Clario on July 1. Fikry replaces Joe Eazor, who is retiring but will keep a seat on the firm's board of directors. The new CEO joined from services firm Thermo Fisher Scientific, where he was president of analytical services. Release

> Epigenetic therapeutics company Durect has appointed Timothy Papp as its chief financial officer. Papp brings over 25 years of corporate finance experience, including 15 years in biopharma. He joins from RBC Capital Markets, where he was a managing director of healthcare investment banking. Release

> Immunotherapy biotech EvolveImmune Therapeutics has named Jay Fine, Ph.D., president of its research and development team. Fine comes to EvolveImmune from Boehringer Ingelheim, where he served as senior vice president and global therapeutic area head for immunology and respiratory diseases research. Before that, Fine held positions at Roche, Schering-Plough and the National Cancer Institute. Release

> Sabah Sallah, M.D., Ph.D., has joined Genespire as its new chief medical officer. The hematologist will lead clinical operations as the company progresses its advanced lentiviral gene therapy platforms toward the clinic. Before Genespire, Sallah served as senior vice president of gene therapy, translational medicine and hematology at biotech Freeline Therapeutics. He also worked in various clinical development roles at Novo Nordisk. Release

> Clinical-stage radiopharmaceutical Ariceum Therapeutics has tapped Serge Sagodira to fill its chief business officer. With more than 20 years of experience in life sciences and business development, Sagodira joins the private biotech from Debiopharm, a Swiss pharmaceutical company. Release