CEO J. Michael Pearson returns to crisis-ridden Valeant

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.

CEO J. Michael Pearson returns to crisis-ridden Valeant

CEO J. Michael Pearson returned from medical leave.

After a two-month medical leave brought on by a bout of pneumonia, Valeant ($VRX) CEO J. Michael Pearson returned on Sunday, arriving at the embattled pharma that would only see more trouble as the week went on. In Pearson's first week back, Valeant scrapped its 2016 guidance, delayed fourth-quarter results, disclosed a threat to Xifaxan and confirmed it's being investigated by the SEC. Those issues accompany older problems the company faces, including its admittance of accounting missteps, a congressional drug pricing investigation, and questions regarding its relationship with specialty pharmacy Philidor. Pearson took his medical leave in late December, leaving Valeant's ex-CFO Howard Schiller to fill in for much of the absence. The company also announced this week that interim chairman Robert Ingram will fill that role. Pearson said on Sunday that he plans to build relationships with payers, regulators and government officials, "while improving Valeant's reporting procedures, internal controls and transparency." Story

Jay Bradner takes over at NIBR

Jay Bradner was named president.

Jay Bradner has assumed his position as the head of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, taking the reins from longtime director Mark Fishman. Bradner joined the organization in January to learn under Fishman, who announced his retirement last September after 13 years at the post. Bradner, an award-winning Harvard oncologist, has co-authored more than 130 scientific articles in the areas of cancer gene expression, protein degradation and the role of bromodomains in tumor creation. On the biotech startup scene, he has lent his expertise to Agios Pharmaceuticals ($AGIO), Syros Pharmaceuticals and Acetylon Pharmaceuticals. He'll head Novartis' ($NVS) $10 billion research arm that over Fishman's tenure saw the pharma become the largest drugmaker by revenue, successfully developing innovative medicines for cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and ophthalmics. Story

Valeant loses exec Deb Jorn as it navigates a crunch

Deb Jorn resigned.

Amid a slate of other challenges this week, Valeant ($VRX) reported the resignation of Executive Vice President Deb Jorn, who headed its dermatology and gastrointestinal units. Jorn joined Valeant with its purchase of Bausch & Lomb, where she managed global marketing for 5 years. At Valeant, she was credited with the successful launches of Jublia and Luzu. With her resignation, Eric Abramson, VP of dermatology and immunology marketing, will manage skincare, while EVP and Company Group Chairman Ari Kellen will lead the GI business. Story

Opexa shed 30% of its workforce as it awaits make-or-break MS data. Story

Chimerix handed out 26 pink slips to save cash in the wake of a Phase III failure. Story

Essentra is adding 70 jobs in Wales. Story


> Autolus appointed Christian Itin as CEO. Release | Story

> Huya Bioscience appointed Dr. Akira Miyazato as VP and head of clinical research and development in Japan. Release

> Arvinas appointed Dr. Angela Shen as chief medical officer. Release

> Spero Therapeutics hired Cristina Larkin as chief commercial officer. Release

> Arsanis named Michael Gray as chief financial officer and chief business officer. Release

> Leading BioSciences appointed Dr. Howard Dittrich as chief medical adviser and Stephen Keane as senior vice president of corporate development. Release

> Envy Medical named Arash Khazei as CEO. Release

> Cypralis appointed Michael Peel as chief scientific officer. Release

> Tonix Pharmaceuticals ($TNXP) appointed Bradley Saenger as chief financial officer. Release

Medela appointed Melissa Gonzales as its managing director. Release

Eric Resnick was appointed chief technology officer at West Pharmaceutical Services ($WST). Release

Provista hired Dr. Susan Gross as its chief medical officer. Release

Ferring Pharma named Aaron Graff as CEO of its U.S. holding company. Release

Danilo Casimiro joined Aeras as its chief scientific officer. Release

OncoSec appointed Sharron Gargosky as the head of its clinical development and operations. Release

Tina Sampalis joined Tersus Life Sciences as its chief scientific officer. Release

Ziarco appointed Arvind Hundal as its chief business officer. Release

Rosetta Genomics ($ROSG) brought on Ana Ward as its executive vice president of legal and corporate development. Release

Cipher Pharmaceuticals ($CPHR) named Ralph Bohrer the president and general manager of its U.S. subsidiary. Release


> Astellas promoted Catherine Wertjes to head of ethics and compliance. It also named Martin Golden its senior vice president and head of marketing strategy and promoted Frank Hudson to senior vice president and head of budget & control, medical & development. Walt Johnston, Mark Reisenauer and Kenton Stewart were each promoted to senior vice president. Release | Release

Med tech

> Sunshine Heart named John Erb as CEO. Release

> Insulet ($PODD) promoted Shacey Petrovic to president of Insulet Diabetes Products and appointed Charles Alpuche as senior vice president of global manufacturing and operations. Release

> Dynatronics ($DYNT) hired Jeff Gephart as senior vice president of sales. Release

> IsoRay ($ISR) appointed Michael Krachon as vice president of sales and marketing and Lori Woods as senior marketing consultant. Release

Biotech IT

> LifeWatch appointed Andrew Moore as chief financial officer. Release