Arena CEO Jack Lief steps down as requested by the board

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.

Arena CEO Jack Lief steps down as requested by the board

Arena Pharmaceuticals
CEO Jack Lief stepped down.

Arena Pharmaceuticals ($ARNA) cofounder and CEO Jack Lief resigned this week at the request of the company's board of directors, taking with him a $1.8 million severance payment, as director Harry Hixson steps in on a temporary basis. Lief cofounded Arena in 1997 and has "contributed in many ways" since then, Hixson said in a statement, overseeing the approval and rollout of obesity drug Belviq and working to develop the company's pipeline. The search for Lief's permanent replacement begins immediately at Arena, a company that has seen its place in the obesity market diminish at the hands of new challenger Contrave from Orexigen ($OREX). Lief, for his part, said in the statement: "I leave Arena proud of the accomplishments made by our employees in advancing healthcare and science. I look forward to watching the company transition through its next phase of development." Release | Story

Rodin names Adam Rosenberg its next CEO

Rodin Therapeutics
Adam Rosenberg was named CEO.

Cambridge, MA-based Rodin Therapeutics has recruited biotech vet Adam Rosenberg as its new CEO. Rosenberg, a cofounder at Teleos Therapeutics, plans to stay on as CEO of that company, which is in the business of doing drug discovery work for CNS diseases, until a replacement is found. He cofounded and served on the board of Clean Membranes, a materials company based on MIT technology, since 2009. In addition, Rosenberg has served in interim executive roles with numerous companies in the healthcare and biotech industry. "I am excited to be joining Rodin and its strong team to rapidly advance its proprietary epigenetics platform to diseases with significant unmet need, such as Alzheimer's Disease," he said in a statement. "With compelling internal and external preclinical data supporting our approach of targeting HDAC2 inhibition to improve learning and memory, along with recent advances in our internal chemistry program, I believe that Rodin has the potential to solidify a leadership role in the potential treatment of serious cognitive disorders." Release

Pfizer is adding 40 jobs to Ireland plant that had been slated to close. Story

Recipharm is cutting about 100 jobs in Sweden. Story


> Telesta appointed Brian Groch as chief commercial officer. Release

> Caladrius Biosciences ($CLBS) promoted Joseph Talamo to chief financial officer and Todd Girolamo to general counsel. Release

> Scynexis ($SCYX) name Rajeshwar Motheram as vice president of pharmaceutical development. Release

> Peter Maimonis joined Metamark Genetics as senior vice president and chief scientific officer. Release

> Novan Therapeutics appointed Richard Peterson as chief financial officer and Brian Johnson as chief commercial officer. Release

> Tracon Pharma ($TCON) named Dr. Ronald Shazer as chief medical officer. Release

Ritter Pharmaceuticals ($RTTR) appointed Dr. AnnKatrin Petersen-Jappelli as its chief medical officer. Release

Patti Toumey joined the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation as its president and CEO. Release

Lycera brought on Alex Howarth as its chief financial officer. Release

AGTC ($AGTC) hired Jonathan Sparks as vice president of legal affairs, Ellery Mangas as senior director of regulatory affairs and Eric Olson as senior director of corporate development. Release

David Mitchell joined Nuventra Pharma as its chief scientific officer. Release

Medical Devices

Egalet ($EGLT) appointed Mark Strobeck as its executive vice president and chief operating officer. Release