Ex-AstraZeneca R&D chief Morrison takes helm of Syndax Pharmaceuticals

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.

Ex-AstraZeneca R&D chief Morrison takes helm of Syndax Pharmaceuticals

Syndax Pharmaceuticals
Dr. Briggs Morrison joined as CEO.

After leaving his post at AstraZeneca ($AZN) last week as head of late-stage development and chief medical officer, Dr. Briggs Morrison joined biotech Syndax Pharmaceuticals this week as CEO. Based in Waltham, MA, Syndax has a staff of 20 and a research budget in the millions, which will be a change of pace for Morrison after leading AstraZeneca's budget in the billions. Morrison served in Big Pharma R&D programs for two decades, starting at Merck ($MRK), transitioning to Pfizer ($PFE) and ending up at AstraZeneca. His move parallels similar recent jumps in the industry as Tony Coles, the ex-CEO at Onyx, started a biotech from scratch, ex-Merck Serono R&D chief Annalisa Jenkins moved on to run Dimension Therapeutics and Jose-Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos left Pfizer as R&D head for an upstart. Story | More

AstraZeneca poaches Merck exec for top manufacturing job

Pam Cheng
was named head of manufacturing and supply chain.

AstraZeneca ($AZN) snagged ex-Merck ($MRK) exec Pam Cheng to oversee its manufacturing and supply chain operations in a move announced earlier this week. Cheng was most recently president of Merck/MSD China and will report directly to AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot, who said Cheng's knowledge of China will serve as an added benefit to her experience. Cheng replaces David Smith--who is retiring--joining the company as it's in the midst of building several new plants. Release | More

William Annett joins OncoCyte as CEO

William Annett
succeeds Joseph Wagner as OncoCyte CEO.

Cancer diagnostics company OncoCyte named William Annett its CEO this week, succeeding Joseph Wagner as Wagner leaves both the company and board. Annett will immediately take charge in leading the company through later stage trials of the company's proprietary cancer diagnostics, also assuming responsibility for the company's development and commercial strategy execution. "It is an exciting time to join OncoCyte and I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to lead the company through its commercialization phase," said Mr. Annett in a statement. "Our energies will be increasingly directed towards expansion of the operational and commercial groups such that we can execute the most efficient and effective go-to-market strategies for these products. OncoCyte's novel technology has produced positive results in early clinical studies." Previously, Annett served as CEO of BioFX Laboratories and founded Corra Life Sciences. Release

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

Sun Pharma cuts 18 Ranbaxy Laboratories executives. Story


> Clinical Ink appointed Jonathan Andrus as its chief data officer. Release

> BioConsortia brought on Andrew Jacobs as the head of its New Zealand R&D. Release

> Philip Gregory joined Bluebird Bio ($BLUE) as its CSO. Release

> Dara Erck joined Aeras as its vice president of external affairs. Release

> Tyme appointed Dr. Giuseppe Del Priore to be part of its medical advisory board. Release

> InVivo Therapeutics announced that Ann Merrifield would join as lead director. Release

> Twist Bioscience named Solange Glaize as its chief financial officer. Release

> ZS Pharma named Jeffrey Farrow as its CFO. Release

> OBN's Jon Rees stepped down from his position as CEO. Release

> ProNAi Therapeutics appointed Dr. Nicole Onetto and Robert Pelzer to its board of directors. Release

> SteadyMed ($STDY) added Elizabeth Cermak to its board of directors. Release

> Pulmatrix ($PULM) appointed Michael Higgins to its board of directors. Release

> AveXis named Sean Nolan as its CEO. Release

> Envisia Therapeutics appointed Eric Linsley as chief financial officer. Release

> City of Hope named Dr. John Zaia as director of its Center for Gene Therapy. Release

> Anavex added Steffen Thomas to its board of directors. Release

> Capricor Therapeutics ($CAPR) named Dr. Houman Hemmati as vice president of medical and clinical development for new therapies. Release

> Robert Hoffman, Arena Pharmaceuticals' ($ARNA) senior vice president of finance and CFO, will leave the company. Release

> Vigilant Biosciences added Dr. Linda Niessen to its board of directors. Release

> Tocagen named Dr. Asha Das as vice president of clinical development. Release

> Neogenomics ($NEO) elected Dr. Alison Hannah and Lynn Tetrault to its board of directors. Release

> Dr. Rajiv Shah joined Omeros' ($OMER) board of directors. Release

> Plasticell appointed Aaron T.T. Chuang as chief scientific officer. Release

> Agenus ($AGEN) named C. Evan Ballantyne as chief financial officer. Release

> Hemostemix appointed Rahul Sarugaser as vice president of business and corporate development. Release


> Genetic Technologies appointed Brian Manuel as chief financial officer. Release

> Metastat elected Douglas Hamilton as president and CEO. Release


> Novavax ($NVAX) appointed Gail Boudreaux to its board of directors. Release

> VaxInnate added Dr. Thomas Monath to its board of directors. Release