Andrew Allen tapped to lead cancer immunotherapy developer Gritstone

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.

Andrew Allen tapped to lead cancer immunotherapy developer Gritstone

Gritstone Oncology
Dr. Andrew Allen was named CEO.

With $102 million in Series A funding, Gritstone Oncology publicly launched this week to develop personalized cancer vaccines. The company, which will split operations between San Francisco and Cambridge, MA, will be helmed by Dr. Andrew Allen, former Clovis Oncology ($CLVS) co-founder and chief medical officer. Versant Ventures led the funding, with managing partner Tom Woiwode saying in a statement that the company has the "utmost confidence" in Allen's ability, "and that of his team, to tackle this challenge of developing next-generation immune-oncology products." Prior to Clovis, Allen served as chief medical officer of Pharmion for two years. Story | Release

Quintiles promotes Kevin Gordon to COO, names Michael McDonnell as CFO

Kevin Gordon
was named COO.

Quintiles ($Q) promoted its CFO, Kevin Gordon, to the company's COO spot, which has been vacant since John Ratliff resigned in 2013. Since joining Quintiles in 2010, Gordon has guided the world's largest CRO through numerous acquisitions and its $950 million IPO. In a statement, CEO Tom Pike said the new role is "recognition of the major contribution he has made to the company. … Over the past years, Kevin has increased his operational influence and is already managing a substantive amount of our business in addition to his financial leadership of the company." Along with the move, Quintiles announced that Michael McDonnell--currently CFO at satellite services company Intelsat--would fill the CFO spot. Story | Release

Deirdre Gillespie named Virttu Biologics CEO

Virttu Biologics
Deirdre Gillespie was named CEO.

As it works to develop novel anticancer oncolytic immunotherapies, Glasgow, U.K.-based Virttu Biologics announced that it has selected Dr. Deirdre Gillespie as its next CEO. Gillespie has more than 25 years of biopharma experience in the U.S. and U.K., formerly serving as the president and CEO of La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company ($LJPC) and chief operating officer of Vical ($VICL). Her previous experience with oncolytic vectors stems from her CEO stint at Oxxon Therapeutics from 2001 to 2006. "I am delighted to have accepted the role of CEO of Virttu Biologics and to build on the already strong foundations that are in place," Gillespie said in a statement. "I am excited to drive the business forward by validating Seprehvir's great potential in the treatment of cancer through definitive clinical trials, and take advantage of the compelling progress Virttu has made in advancing its platform technology." Release

Perrigo plans to slash 800 jobs, buy back $2 billion of its stock in a move to fend off Mylan. Story

Biogen will ax 800-plus jobs to keep Tecfidera sales engine running. Story

Struggling Daiichi is plotting another 1,000-plus job cuts in U.S. Story


Adi Mohanty joined current BioTime ($BTX) CEO Michael West as a co-holder of the position. Release

Pronutria Biosciences appointed Garry Menzel as its chief business and strategy officer. Release

Sorrento ($SRNE) hired Jeffrey Su as its chief operating officer in charge of bioprocess and manufacturing operations. Release

Eiger Biopharma brought on Dr. Eduardo Martins as its senior vice president of liver and infectious diseases drug development. Release

Wilson Therapeutics appointed Andrew Kay as its chairman. Release

CANbridge hired Dr. Mark Goldberg as its acting chief medical officer. Release

Systech named Darryl Brown its vice president of global strategic marketing. Release

CMC Biologics appointed Gustavo Mahler as its new CEO beginning in January. Release

> Unum named Dr. Michael Vasconcelles as chief medical officer. Release

> Allegro Ophthalmics appointed Scott Cooper as chief financial officer and vice president of business development and Dr. Mohamed Genead as executive medical director. Release

> Recipharm appointed Franco Boselli as business director in Italy and Bernard Pluta as general manager in Pessac, France. Release

> Galileo Life Sciences named Glenn Vengroff as vice president of corporate development. Release

> RedHill Biopharma ($RDHL) announced that Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Finance and Operations Ori Shilo will resign effective Nov. 1. Release

> David Blakey joins MiNA Therapeutics as chief scientific officer. Release


> ICON ($ICLR) appointed Mary Pan as vice president, Asia Pacific and Hiroshi Ichikawa as vice president and general manager of ICON's Japan operations. Release


> Immunexpress appointed Dr. Roy Davis as chief medical officer. Release


Farshad Guirakhoo joined GeoVax ($GOVX) as its senior vice president of R&D. Release