Former Covidien CEO Almeida to head Baxter

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 Covidien CEO Almeida to head Baxter

José Almeida was named CEO.

After spinning off its therapeutics business into Baxalta ($BXLT) in July, Baxter ($BAX) quickly became the target of activist investors Third Point. It has since offered Third Point a board seat and is now turning to former Covidien CEO José Almeida to lead its next chapter; he'll assume the CEO role Jan. 1. Robert Parkinson, Baxter's current CEO, will retire on that date and assume the role of chairman emeritus. Along with the announcement, Baxter said it's cutting $130 million in annual costs through the elimination of 1,400 nonmanufacturing positions as it seeks to move forward as an independent public company focused on renal and hospital products. Story | Release

Research vet Miguel Barbosa named CSO at Mirna

Mirna Therapeutics
Dr. Miguel Barbosa
was named CSO.

Austin, TX-based Mirna Therapeutics ($MIRN) appointed biopharma research veteran Miguel Barbosa as its executive vice president and chief scientific officer this week. With 20 years of experience, Barbosa has served in leadership roles at multiple Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) subsidiaries, most recently serving as executive in residence, therapeutic innovation at Johnson & Johnson Innovation. Barbosa joins a company seeking to develop a pipeline of microRNA-based oncology therapeutics, with CEO Dr. Paul Lammers saying that his expertise and strategic vision, "particularly in emerging areas of science, will prove critical as we advance" that pipeline. Release

Doug Geiger to handle Astellas' marketing strategy for new therapeutic areas

Doug Geiger was named VP, head of marketing strategy for new therapeutic areas.

Doug Geiger was recently promoted to vice president, head of new therapeutic areas in marketing strategy, at Astellas, the company said this week; he joined the pharma in 2008. He'll be responsible for delivering strategic leadership around Astellas' emerging therapeutic areas, bringing 23 years of pharma experience to the position. Prior to Astellas, Geiger held leadership positions at Abbott ($ABT) and TAP Pharmaceuticals. "Doug has been a pivotal strategic commercial leader since joining Astellas in 2008," Yukio Matsui, senior vice president and head of marketing strategy, said in a statement. "He will play an instrumental role as we establish a presence in new therapeutic focus areas such as pain, central nervous system, nephrology and inflammation." Release

Baxter plans to cut 1,400 jobs. Story

Struggling Arena Pharma will ax 80 jobs and narrow its R&D. Release


SynteractHCR appointed Dieter Seitz-Tutter as its vice president of global clinical operations. Release

Craig Ballaron retired from his position as CEO of Aqua Pharmaceuticals, and Ted White rose to be president. Release

Systech named Mark Quinlan as senior vice president of sales. Release

Shape Memory Therapeutics hired Ted Ruppel as its CEO. Release

Michael Bruch joined Cesca Therapeutics as its chief financial officer. Release

Northsight Capital appointed John Hollister as its CEO. Release

Asana Biosciences brought on Dr. Louis Denis as its chief medical officer. Release

Amarantus appointed Dr. Curtis Scribner as senior vice president of regulatory affairs. Release

> Paragon Bioservices hired Kevin Sly as senior vice president of marketing and commercial strategy. Release

> BioPharmX ($BPMX) appointed AnnaMarie Daniels as executive vice president of clinical and regulatory affairs. Release

> Inivata named Jeffrey Buchalter as chairman. Release

> Bellicum ($BLCM) appointed Alan Smith as senior vice president of manufacturing. Release

> Anika Therapeutics ($ANIK) appointed Richard Hague as chief commercial officer. Release

> Biophotonic Solutions named Vittorio Fossati-Bellani as CEO. Release

Biotech IT

> GenomOncology appointed David Lasecki as chief commercialization officer. Release


> Daktari appointed Donald Hawthorne as CEO. Release

Med tech

> Entellus Medical ($ENTL) named Jeff Kogl as vice president of business development and strategy. Release