Former CFO Schiller to lead Valeant during CEO Pearson's medical leave

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.

Former CFO Schiller to lead Valeant during Pearson's medical leave

Valeant Pharmaceuticals
Howard Schiller was named interim CEO.

Valeant ($VRX) appointed its former CFO, Howard Schiller, to the position of interim CEO this week in the wake of CEO J. Michael Pearson's hospitalization for a severe case of pneumonia in late December. Schiller, who served as the Canadian pharma's CFO from December 2011 through June 2015, will fill the role in place of a three-man committee previously set up on Dec. 28. Valeant's lead independent director, Robert Ingram, will serve as interim chairman. Pearson's hospitalization is the most recent in a series of challenges for the pharma, which in 2015 faced pricing pressure and a controversy surrounding its relationship with specialty pharmacy Philidor. In a Financial Times interview, Schiller said 2016 will be a time for the company step away from the limelight brought on by price increases. Ingram said in a statement the timing of Pearson's recovery and return "remains uncertain." Story | Release | More from FT (sub. req.)

Mary Szela takes CEO reins at Aegerion

Aegerion Pharmaceuticals
Mary Szela was named CEO.

Aegerion Pharmaceuticals ($AEGR) named Mary Szela its CEO this week, tasking the biopharma vet with leading the company's comeback following a marketing misstep and two executive resignations this summer. Szela replaces Sandford Smith, who stepped in on an interim basis after former CEO Marc Beer resigned this summer. In late 2013, Beer got the company into trouble for exaggerating about the benefits of cholesterol-lowering med Juxtapid, a controversy that attracted FDA and DOJ attention and brought on share price problems. Previously serving as CEO of Melinta Therapeutics and in various roles at Abbott ($ABT), Szela will be responsible for guiding the company in the face of new cholesterol competition. "With two marketed products, orphan drug development expertise and a growing global footprint, I believe we have the potential to build a sustainable company and make a meaningful impact on the lives of patients," Szela said in a release. Smith has been appointed chairman. Story | Release

Former Cubist CEO Michael Bonney joins Third Rock Ventures as partner

Third Rock Ventures
Michael Bonney was named partner.

Third Rock Ventures announced this week that it's bringing on former Cubist CEO Michael Bonney as a partner to assist in the company's establishment of future biotech firms. In a statement, Bonney said among the factors impacting his decision to join was "the ability to put meaningful capital to work to advance the powerful and unprecedented scientific discoveries emerging from academia and industry today." He added that he finds it "very compelling" to be able to work with the industry's next generation of leaders. Prior to his Cubist role, Bonney held various positions of increasing responsibility at Biogen ($BIIB) and, before that, at Zeneca Pharmaceuticals. He serves on the boards of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals ($ALNY), Celgene ($CELG) and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. "Mike possesses qualities we deem critical for building great companies, such as operational excellence, a collaborative nature, and an entrepreneurial spirit," Kevin Starr, co-founder and partner at Third Rock Ventures, said in a statement. "… His broad experience across commercial, R&D, and drug discovery will be invaluable to Third Rock and our portfolio companies and we are excited to welcome him to the team." Release

Abbott will close a Silicon Valley manufacturing facility at the cost of 144 jobs. Story

Bard will close a Minnesota plant, eliminating 185 jobs. Story


> aTyr Pharma ($LIFE) appointed Dr. Sanuj Ravindran as chief business officer. Release

> Essa Pharma ($EPIX) appointed Dr. David Parkinson as president and CEO. Release

> Glycotope named Paul Higham as CEO. Release

> Rentschler Biotechnologie appointed Dr. Frank Mathias as CEO effective April 1. Release

> Symic Biomedical appointed Rinko Ghosh as president and chief business officer. Release

> Dr. Calman Prussin joined Knopp Biosciences to head clinical and translational medicine in immunology. Release

> Ra Pharma appointed Dr. Jeffrey Johnston as senior vice president and chief medical officer and David Lubner as chief financial officer and executive vice president of operations. Release

> Blueprint Medicines ($BPMC) named Kate Haviland as chief business officer. Release

> Abide Therapeutics appointed Dr. Chan Beals as chief medical officer. Release

> Evofem named Brandi Howard vice president of global medical affairs and Nicole Beckstrand as vice president of public relations and communications. Release

> Circulogene Theranostics named Dr. James Posey III as chief medical adviser. Release

> Seres Therapeutics ($MCRB) appointed Wael Hashad as chief commercial officer. Release

> Syngene named AstraZeneca's ($AZN) Jonathan Hunt as its CEO. Release

> ISA Pharmaceuticals appointed Gerben Moolhuizen as its chief business development officer. Release

> Glenn Sblendorio joined Ophthotech ($OPHT) as its executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer. Release

> Ardelyx ($ARDX) brought on Dr. Paul Korner as its executive vice president and chief medical officer. Release

> Achillion ($ACHN) appointed Joel Barrish as its chief scientific officer. Release

> Natasha Giordano joined PLx Pharma as its CEO. Release

Adaptimmune Therapeutics appointed P. Julian Dyson as the head of its new Autoimmune Group. Release

South San Francisco-based Annexon named Dr. Mario Saltarelli its chief medical officer and Dr. Susan Kramer its vice president of product development. Release

Med tech

> CIVCO Medical Solutions named Ron Vaske vice president of finance and business analysis for its Radiation Oncology Business Unit. Release

> EnteroMedics ($ETRM) appointed Paul Hickey as SVP of marketing and reimbursement, Nick Ansari as SVP of sales and Peter Delange as SVP of operations and business development. Greg Lea, chief financial officer and chief operating officer, was named chief financial officer and chief compliance officer. Release

> IsoRay ($ISR) CEO Dwight Babcock will retire; Bill Cavanagh, vice president of R&D, will serve as interim CEO. Release

> JenaValve appointed Janet Fauls as vice president of regulatory affairs. Release

> Ivenix appointed Stuart Randle as CEO. Release

Celyad tapped Jean-Pierre Latere to lead its regenerative medicine and medical device franchise. Release


> BioDuro named Ian Wisenberg as chief financial officer. Release

> Agilent ($A) named Michael Tang senior vice president, general counsel and secretary. Release