Former Teva CEO Levin returns to biopharma as chairman of upstart Ovid 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.

Former Teva CEO Levin returns to biopharma as chairman of upstart Ovid Therapeutics

Former Teva CEO Jeremy Levin resurfaced as Ovid Therapeutics' chairman.

Jeremy Levin, known for his transformational efforts at Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) and leadership stint at Teva Pharmaceuticals ($TEVA), has surfaced in the biotech world as chairman at Ovid Therapeutics, a startup working on rare neurological diseases with no treatments. There was no official release and Ovid doesn't have a website yet, but according to media reports, the company is privately held and based in New York; it's been able to raise about $5 million from undisclosed investors. "We're not here as a flash in the pan; Ovid is here to be a sustainable, long term company built in the area of orphan diseases of the brain," Levin said. He added that the company is "going phenomenally well, and it's meeting all of its goals." Levin was Novartis' ($NVS) head dealmaker from 2002 to 2007; VP of strategy and alliances at BMS from 2007 to 2012 and, following that, Teva CEO for less than two years. More

Teva appoints business development head

Timothy Wright was named business development head.

Also this week, Teva ($TEVA) announced that Timothy Wright will take the reins of the company's business development, strategy and innovation, effective April 13. He'll be responsible for identifying sources of innovation and growth and report directly to CEO Erez Vigodman. With nearly 30 years of global pharma and biotech experience, many in executive roles, Wright's addition complements Teva's management team, Vigodman said. "Tim is known for leading the transformation of large companies," he explained. "His significant experience across various aspects of healthcare and unique perspective will enable us to realize our full potential at this critical time of change in the pharmaceutical industry." Wright has held positions at Covidien, Elan, AAI Pharmaceuticals/Xanodyne, DuPont Merck, and was most recently the director of the Drug Discovery and Development Institute at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. Release

Chris Guiffre moves from COO to CEO at Cerulean

Chris Guiffre was named CEO.

Chris Guiffre will be moving into the leadership chair at Cerulean Pharma ($CERU) this week with the company's announcement that he's transitioning from COO to CEO. Guiffre, the company's COO since 2014, was the "obvious choice to take the reins," Dr. Paul Friedman, chairman, said in a release. With a cancer focus, Cerulean says it is committed to improving treatments with its Dynamic Tumor Targeting Platform to selectively attack tumor cells. "I am honored to have the opportunity to lead this promising company," said Guiffre. "It is a privilege to work with such talented and committed professionals. We pride ourselves on being a tightly knit team, and we are passionate about developing treatments for people living with cancer. We believe we can make a difference in the fight against cancer, and we are determined to prove it." Release

GlaxoSmithKline will cut 180 sales and admin jobs in North Carolina. Story

Daiichi Sankyo announced it would cut 16% at its headquarters. Report


> Acadia ($ACAD) adds Daniel Soland to its board of directors. Release

> BioNano appoints Terry Salyer as chief commercial officer. Release

> Vtesse formed a scientific advisory board, including Cristina Csimma, Dr. Forbes Porter, Paul Gissen and Dr. Marc Patterson. Release

> BioSig Technologies appoints Jay Millerhagen as vice president of clinical affairs. Release

> Panther Biotechnology appointed Evan Levine as its CEO. Release

> Insmed ($INSM) brought on Dr. Eugene Sullivan as its chief medical and scientific officer. Release

> ​Cortendo named A. Brian Davis as its chief financial officer and Stephen Long as its chief legal officer. Release

> ​Dr. Paul-Andre de Lame joined Aridis Pharmaceuticals as the company's chief medical officer. Release

> Verde Technologies named Jason Sundby as its CEO. Release

> Halozyme Therapeutics ($HALO) appointed James Mazzola as the leader of its corporate communications and investor relations. Release

> Aptose Bioscience brought on Dr. Michael Andreeff as a member of its scientific advisory board. Release

> AcelRx ($ACRX) appointed Howard Rosen as its interim CEO. Release

> StemCells ($STEM) named Ian Massey its president and chief operating officer. Release


> PRC Clinical appoints Mike Catelani as chief financial officer as well as to its board of directors, Daniel Head as vice president of business operations, Sue Dowden as senior director of clinical operations and Tony Taricco, co-founder and current COO, as president and chairman of the board. Release