Aegerion's embattled CEO Beer steps down

Chutes and Ladders

Welcome to this week's Chutes and Ladders, our roundup of hirings and retirings throughout the industry. Please send the good word--or the bad--from your shop to Eric Sagonowsky (email) or Amirah Al Idrus (email | Twitter), and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Aegerion's embattled CEO Beer steps down

Aegerion Pharmaceuticals
Marc Beer stepped down as CEO.

After a standoff with activist investors at Sarissa Capital, Marc Beer stepped down this week, ending his nearly 5-year run as Aegerion's ($AEGR) CEO. During his tenure, he saw the company go public and launch its first drug, but also landed in trouble with the FDA after getting a bit too bullish on CNBC last year. The move comes as the company's future is uncertain due to Sanofi ($SNY) and Regeneron's ($REGN) recent approval for cardiovascular therapy Praluent, which may imperil Aegerion's already-modest Juxtapid revenue. Along with Beer, chief operating officer Craig Fraser has resigned. Sandford Drexel Smith will lead the company on an interim basis while chairman David Scheer seeks a permanent chief executive. Story | Release

Deborah Keller named CEO at Covance

Deborah Keller was named CEO.

Covance named former R&D head Deborah Keller its new CEO this week as outgoing chief executive Joseph Herring retires at the end of July. Keller, who has been at the CRO since 1987, was most recently the executive vice president in charge of Covance's R&D, overseeing more than 6,000 researchers at 18 locations worldwide. She'll join the executive commitee for LabCorp ($LH)--which acquired Covance earlier this year for about $6 billion--and report to LabCorp CEO David King. "Deborah Keller is a talented leader who is well-respected by clients and employees alike, and is the ideal candidate to replace Joe Herring as the next CEO of Covance," King said. Story | Release

BGI CEO Jun Wang steps aside to pursue interest in artificial intelligence

Beijing Genomics Institute
Jun Wang stepped down as CEO.

Jun Wang--a 16-year veteran of BGI--stepped down from his CEO post this week to pursue a long-standing personal interest in artificial intelligence. The helmsman led the sequencing giant into its status as a dominant genomics force during his tenure and will continue to remain affiliated with the company but no longer shaping policy. In an interview with Nature News, Duke University neuroscientist Erich Jarvis said Wang's interest in the brain, plus his duties of leading BGI, manifested in an unfulfilled interest in AI. "His reasoning was that he felt like he's done a lot for BGI already, and that he would like to now move on to try new horizons," Jarvis said. Story

Report: Parexel layoffs include up to 200 ex-GlaxoSmithKline staffers. Story


> Vitae Pharma ($VTAE) added Dr. John Leonard to its board of directors. Release

> Enzymotec ($ENZY) appointed Tamar Howson to its board of directors. Release

> ChemoCentryx ($CCXI) added Thomas Edwards to its board of directors. Dr. Ira Klein resigned from the board. Release

> Loxo Oncology ($LOXO) named Tim Mayleben to its board of directors. Release

> BioAmber ($BIOA) Chief Financial Officer Francois Laurin has resigned. Former CFO Andrew Ashworth has been hired as interim CFO. Release

> TapImmune added John Bonfiglio to its board of directors. Release

> Easton Pharmaceuticals appointed Evan Karras as CEO/director and Nunzio Valerie as president/CFO. Release

> Nymox Pharma ($NYMX) added James Robinson to its board of directors. Release

> Unum Therapeutics named Geoffrey Hodge as senior vice president of operations. Release

> Cytori Therapeutics ($CYTX) named Jeremy Harden as general counsel and VP of business development. Release

> Turing Pharmaceuticals appointed Craig Rothenberg as chief communication officer. Release

> Kailos Genetics hired Cheri Walker as its chief financial officer. Release

> Otic Pharma appointed Gregory Flesher as its CEO. Release

> Bruce Seeley joined CTI BioPharma ($CTIC) as the company's executive vice president and chief commercial officer. Release

> Heat Biologics promoted Dr. Taylor Schreiber to chief scientific officer and Melissa Price to vice president of product development. Release

> Keryx ($KERX) appointed Scott Holmes as its chief financial officer. Release


> Pamela Craig and Dr. Paul Rothman were elected to Merck's ($MRK) board of directors. Release

Med Tech

> Glysure appointed Roger Moody as CEO. Release

Biotech IT

> GenoSpace added Matthew Fischer as vice president of sales and marketing. Release


> Catalent ($CTLT) appointed J. Martin Carroll to its board of directors. Release