Christophe Weber is ready for the CEO job, Takeda says

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 Michael Gibney (email | Twitter) or Amirah Al Idrus (email | Twitter), and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Christophe Weber is ready for the CEO job, Takeda says

Takeda Pharmaceutical
Christophe Weber was named CEO. 

On April 1, Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical will have its first non-Japanese CEO in Christophe Weber. This week, the company announced that the 49-year-old French national currently serving as COO will succeed Yasuchika Hasegawa, the company's first nonfamily CEO. Weber was hand-picked by Hasegawa for the job, sparking speculation from outsiders about whether he could make it in the insular Japanese culture that has defeated some other high-profile non-Japanese picks. However, Hasegawa said, Weber is the right man to turn the 234-year-old company into a global force. "Since he became COO of the company last April, I have been supporting Christophe and at the same time carefully observing his performance as a CEO successor. I have concluded that he is ready to assume Takeda's CEO role." Story | Release (PDF)

Harold Varmus to hand over the NCI reins

National Cancer Institute
Harold Varmus announced his resignation.

After nearly 5 years at the National Cancer Institute, Director Harold Varmus announced his resignation this week, effective March 31. Varmus, a co-recipient of a Nobel Prize for studies of the genetic basis of cancer, previously served as CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and as director of the National Institutes of Health. In a letter to colleagues, he said that despite the financial shortfalls that characterized his time at NCI, it was able to meet "satisfying accomplishments" such as research advancements and establishing new programs and facilities. "We have endured losses in real as well as adjusted dollars; survived the threats and reality of government shutdowns; and have not yet recovered all the funds that sequestration has taken away," he wrote. "This experience has been especially vivid to those of us who have lived in better times, when NIH was the beneficiary of strong budgetary growth." NCI chief deputy Dr. Doug Lowy will serve as acting director. Varmus said upon his full-time return to New York City, he will establish a research laboratory in the Meyer Cancer Center at the Weill-Cornell Medical College and serve as a senior adviser to the dean. Letter

Anna Protopapas to helm Mersana Therapeutics

Anna Protopapas was named CEO.

Anna Protopapas, biotech veteran and former president of Millennium, will take the CEO chair at Mersana Therapeutics, a Cambridge, MA-based biotech that has been working on next-gen antibody-drug conjugates. Protopapas' appointment was accompanied by a $35 million B round with support from former Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) R&D chief Elliot Sigal, Pfizer Venture Investment and Fidelity Biosciences. Protopapas will take the reins from David Mott, who will stay on as chairman. "I'm excited about the Mersana technology," Protopapas told FierceBiotech. "It overcomes a lot of challenges with first-generation ADCs." Mersana's first program should be in clinical development by the end of the year, and Protopapas said the round will fund a runway stretching into early 2017. Story

Valeant is shedding 77 jobs as it brings Dendreon into the fold. Story

G&W Laboratories bought a Pennsylvania plant from Teva, saving 280 jobs. Story

Merck dumped 120 Cubist researchers after the companies' merger. Story


> Leone Patterson joined diaDexus as the company's chief financial officer. Release

> Chamaeleo Pharma appointed Han Van 't Klooster as the company's vice president of commercial operations. Release

> Incyte hired Dr. Steven Stein as its new chief medical officer. Release

> Dominique Laymand joined Ipsen as its vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer. Release

> Ramesh Tharuvai joined Macrocure as the company's vice president of operations. Release

> Sundia CEO Dr. Chen Chen retired to be succeeded by Dr. Jim Li. Release

> EyeGate Pharma named Dr. Michael Raizman its consulting chief medical officer. Release

> Dr. David Rimm joined Biocept as a scientific adviser. Release

> Fred Kurland retired from Xoma ($XOMA) to be succeeded by Thomas Burns as chief financial officer. Release

> Atara Biotherapeutics ($ATRA) appointed David Carmel as its head of immunotherapy. Release

Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals ($TTPH) appoints Maria Stahl as senior vice president and general counsel. Release

Inovio ($INO) adds Nancy Wysenski to its board of directors. Release

Anavex appoints Corinne Lasmézas to its scientific advisory board. Release

TWi Pharma appoints Tina Guilder as president and CEO. Guilder will continue to serve as president of its subsidiary, TWi Pharmaceuticals USA. Current president Calvin Cheng will become special adviser to Guilder, and Eva Ho will become TWi's CFO. Release

AMRI ($AMRI) appoints Michael Pettersson as vice president of international sales. Release

ThromboGenics appoints Dr. Joseph Markoff as scientific adviser. Release

Revolution Medicines has named Dr. Carole Sable as chief medical officer and Luan Wilfong as vice president of human resources. Release

Tim Coughlin joins Retrophin's ($RTRX) board of directors as an independent director effective March 31. Release

InMed Pharma has appointed Dr. Ado Mohammed as chief medical officer. Release

KemPharm names Tracy Woody as chief commercial officer. Release

Adaptimmune names Rafael Amado as chief medical officer and Adrian Rawcliffe as chief financial officer, effective March 16. Release

Laurus Synthesis appoints Charles Montgomery as vice president of chemistry and Raymond Forslund as senior director of project management. Release

Laurence Reid succeeds Gregory Verdine as CEO of Warp Drive Bio. Verdine will continue to serve the company as chief scientific officer, president and chairman of the scientific advisory board. Release

PhaseBio appoints Clay Thorp as executive chairman of the board, Jonathan Mow as chief executive officer and James Ballance as vice president of research and scientific affairs. Release (PDF)

NGM Biopharma names Jeff Jonker president and David Woodhouse as chief financial officer. Release (PDF)


Former Novartis ($NVS) executive Tony Rosenberg joined the Radius ($RDUS) board of directors. Release

Biotech Research

Jim Van Heusden will be the new CEO of Karolinska Development. Release