Drew Fromkin tapped to lead Langer's Blend Therapeutics

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.

Drew Fromkin tapped to lead Langer's Blend Therapeutics

Blend Therapeutics
Drew Fromkin was named CEO.

Blend Therapeutics, which was founded by Omid Farokhzad and MIT's Robert Langer, has named Drew Fromkin as its new CEO. Fromkin's first task will be to oversee the filing of an IND for Blend's lead drug, BTP-114, later this quarter with another IND planned for next year. Blend is using technology that the Harvard and MIT founders helped develop, creating miniaturized drug conjugates that use a targeting ligand tied to a cell killer and incorporated in nanoparticles designed to cluster in tumors. Fromkin was CEO of Clinical Data, which Forest bought out in 2011 for $1.2 billion. Release

Ex-Lilly VP Ramona Sequeira to head Takeda's U.S. business

Ramona Sequeira will lead Takeda U.S.

Takeda named former Eli Lilly ($LLY) vice president Ramona Sequeira as president of its U.S. business, reporting directly to CEO Christophe Weber. Weeks before the appointment, Weber told the Financial Times that he didn't have a single woman on his executive team, and that he wanted to change that. Weber cited Sequeira's 20-plus years of experience and track record of success in her appointment. Sequeira, a French-speaking native of Canada, will replace Doug Cole, who will leave the position he has held for three of his 22 years at Takeda. Story | Release

Following Sigma-Aldrich acquisition, Udit Batra will lead Merck KGaA life science business

Merck KGaA
Udit Batra will lead the life science business.

Udit Batra will be tapped to lead the combined life sciences business following Merck KGaA's pending acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich ($SIAL). Batra, 44, has served as Merck KGaA life sciences CEO since March 2014; he joined the company in 2011 to lead the consumer health business. He's also worked at Novartis ($NVS) in a range of executive positions. Expected to complete in the middle of this year, the $17 billion transaction was announced in September 2014 and will be the largest in Merck KGaA's 350-year history. Release

GSK closing Pittsburgh office, putting 275 jobs at risk. Story

Novo opens $100M plant in Russia. Report


PharmaCyte Biotech appoints Thomas Liquard, formerly of Pfizer ($PFE) and Alchemia (ASX:ACL), to its board of directors. Release

Merck KGaA names Alise Reicin as head of global clinical development at Merck Serono. Release

Shlomo Yanai joins Sagent Pharma's ($SGNT) board of directors. Release

TxCell adds Dr. David Solomon to its board of directors. He will also serve as chair of the Remuneration and Nominations subcommittee. Release

Orgenesis appoints Chris Buyse to its board of directors. Release

MaSTherCell CEO Hugues Bultot joins Orgenesis' board of directors. Release

Sagent Pharma ($SGNT) appoints Michael Logerfo as president. Release

Ovid Therapeutics names former Teva ($TEVA) CEO Jeremy Levin as CEO. Release | Story

Ironwood Pharma ($IRWD) adds Dr. Lawrence Olanoff to its board of directors and to its pharmaceutical advisory committee. Release

Allena Pharma appoints Dr. Louis Brenner as chief operating officer. Release

Celgene ($CELG) adds former Cubist CEO Michael Bonney to its board of directors. Release

Adamis ($ADMP) appoints Gus Fernandez as vice president of commercial operations, Louis Fayant as director of account management and David DeLay as senior national accounts manager for alternative markets. Release

Strand Life Sciences appointed Scott Storrer as global president. Release

Jennifer Saputo joins Astellas as associate director of employee communications. Release

Eric Green joins West Pharma ($WST) as CEO. Release

Tetraphase Pharma ($TTPH) appoints Gerri Henwood to its board of directors. Release

Zoetis ($ZTS) appointed Paul Bisaro to its board of directors. Release

Gregory Sieczkiewicz joined MPM Capital as its managing director and chief counsel of intellectual property. Release

CAPNIA appointed Edward Ebbers as its chief commercial officer. Release

Phlexglobal named Rick Riegel as its CEO. Release

Halozyme ($HALO) appointed Harry Leonhardt as its senior vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer. Release

Egalet appointed Nicholas Nicolaides and John Osborn to its board of directors. Release

Axsome appointed Dr. Randall Kaye as its chief medical officer. Release (PDF)

Med tech

OMNIlife science names Steven Nunes as senior vice president of sales and marketing. Release


Vaxin named Elizabeth Adkins Czerepak its chief financial officer. Release