AstraZeneca R&D chief Morrison makes unexpected exit

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.

AstraZeneca R&D chief Morrison makes unexpected exit

Briggs Morrison stepped down as R&D chief.

AstraZeneca's ($AZN) R&D chief Briggs Morrison abruptly left the company this week to take a job as CEO of a "small, privately held pharmaceutical company," AstraZeneca reported. In the interim, CEO Pascal Soriot will run R&D at AstraZeneca. Morrison--named in 2013 as one of three key executives when Soriot stepped in--was credited with lending AstraZeneca credibility as it worked to distance itself from its old reputation of having a disorganized pipeline. And under his direction, AstraZeneca won favorable attention for its cancer prospects as the company executed a series of deals to enhance its pipeline. In a similar move last month, former Pfizer ($PFE) R&D chief Jose-Carlos Gutiérrez-Ramos left the pharma to head startup Synlogic. Story

Asia-focused Alcon execs let go

Roy Acosta
, Asia & Russia president, was let go.

Novartis' ($NVS) eye-care unit Alcon released two Asia-focused executives this week: Roy Acosta, Asia & Russia president, and Jim West, region CFO. Eric Van Oppens, head of the Asia cluster for Novartis, will take the reins as the region president for Alcon, effective July 1. Acosta joined Alcon in 1989 and has held various leadership position in the U.S. and internationally. In its coverage of the moves, FiercePharmaAsia noted that in 2013 Alcon faced accusations of diverting funds meant for postmarketing surveys to bribe doctors in China. Story

David Jaffe leaves Broad Institute for 10X Genomics

10X Genomics
David Jaffe joined the company to work on computational methods.

Early this week, 10X Genomics announced that it lured David Jaffe away from the Broad Institute. During 15 years at Broad, Jaffe developed methods for genome assembly and variant analysis. At 10X Genomics--which burst out of stealth mode earlier this year with a $55 million fundraise--he'll work on computational methods to handle the company's Linked-Read data. Release

GlobeImmune axes 'majority' of staffers in wake of trial failure. Story


> HemoShear named its chief business officer, Vincent Aurentz, as president. Release

> Seres Therapeutics adds Dr. Dennis Ausiello to its board of directors. Release

> Jeffrey Kasher joins DrugDev as chairman of its advisory board. Release

> Former Elan CEO G. Kelly Martin becomes chairman of Serenus' board of directors. Release

> Neos Therapeutics appoints Paul Edick and John Schmid to its board of directors. Release

> AMAG Pharmaceuticals ($AMAG) appointed Aaron Pelta as vice president of business development. Release

> Scynexis ($SCYX) appoints Guy Macdonald as chairman of its board of directors. Release

> Qu Biologics names Jim Pankovich as vice president of clinical operations and drug development. Release

> Medgenics ($MDGN) added Barbara Duncan to its board of directors. Release

> Dimension Therapeutics appoints George Migausky to its board of directors. Release

> Bioventus promoted Andrew Hosmer to managing director, international with responsibility for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Isabelle Levy-Unger to managing director, international, with responsibility for Canada, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Release

> Verastem ($VSTM) announced that Dr. Joanna Horobin, chief medical officer, will transition to senior adviser, while Dr. Lou Vaickus will serve as interim CMO. Release

> Endomag appointed Dr. Elizabeth Holmes as chief medical officer. Release

Alnylam ($ALNY) appointed David-Alexandre Gros as its senior vice president and chief business officer. Release

Mark Baldry joined Amicus Therapeutics as the company's vice president of global marketing, and Willem van Weperen also joined as regional vice president and country manager. Release

Conatus Pharma appointed Jean Chan as its vice president of clinical development. Release

Lion Biotechnologies named Molly Henderson as its chief financial officer. Release

Xbiotech appointed Kelly Thornburg as its senior vice president of operations. Release

Floyd Fox joined FlowMetric as its chief scientific officer. Release

Opexa brought on Jason Kralic as the company's vice president of business development. Release

Alex Drijver joined ComInnex as its CEO. Release


> Shire ($SHPG) appoints Smith & Nephew ($SNN) CEO Olivier Bohuon to its board of directors. Release

> Valeant ($VRX) appointed Robert Rosiello as executive vice president and chief financial officer. Release

> Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) adds Mary Beckerle, CEO and director of Huntsman Cancer Institute, to its board of directors. Release

Tarsis Lopez joined Astellas Pharma's corporate affairs department. Release

Drug Delivery

BioDelivery Science International ($BDSI) hired Stephana Patton as its general counsel. Release