MannKind's Alfred Mann relinquishes chairman role

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.

MannKind's Alfred Mann relinquishes chairman role

Alfred Mann stepped down.

A quarter-century after founding MannKind ($MNKD), chairman Alfred Mann announced his resignation this week; the company appointed Kent Kresa to serve in the role. Over his career, Mann founded 14 companies, 9 of which were acquired at a total of nearly $8 billion. He founded MannKind in 1991, but the company has seen tumult lately over the failure of the inhaled insulin Afrezza. MannKind's partner on the med, Sanofi ($SNY), recently dropped out, leaving MannKind to search for a new partner on top of some executive reshuffling earlier this year. Kresa has served as a MannKind director since 2004 and as a lead director since 2011. He's chairman emeritus of Northrop Grumman, having previously served as that company's CEO and chairman. Mann was named chairman emeritus of Valencia, CA-based MannKind and will continue to advise in a nonexecutive capacity. Release

Ipsen splits with Deputy CEO Christel Bories over strategy 'disagreements'

Christel Bories left the company.

Ipsen's deputy CEO, Christel Bories​, parted ways with the company this week due to "disagreements over strategy." However, the reshuffle at Paris, France-based Ipsen didn't stop there, as CEO Marc de Garidel also stepped aside and will limit his role to that of nonexecutive chairman. Terms of Bories' departure will entitle her to a severance package, an arrangement that has prompted questions about whether there really was a strategy disagreement, FierceBiotech reports. Bories, who had served as Ipsen's deputy CEO since March 2013, played a key role in the company's operational performance, freeing de Garidel to take on strategic direction and development. Ipsen, which is characterizing the restructure as a corporate governance evolution, says a new CEO will be in place "within the coming months." Story

Hemispherx, following examination of 'priorities,' lets go of CEO William Carter

Hemispherx Biopharma
William Carter was dismissed.

Pledging to implement "a strong financial austerity plan," penny-stock biotech Hemispherx Biopharma ($HEB) this week fired its chairman and longtime CEO, William Carter, who joined the company in 1978. No reason was stated for the firing, but Hemispherx said Carter's departure "will harmonize the management team." Philadelphia, PA-based Hemispherx made the move following months of "re-examining its fundamental priorities in terms of direction, corporate culture and its ability to fund operations," it said in a filing, adding that it plans to implement "a strict anti-nepotism policy." The company has spent decades developing Ampligen, a Carter-invented drug, through two FDA rejections in chronic fatigue syndrome. Story

Buffalo, NY-based drug developer Athenex says it will build a biologics plant and hire 900 employees. Story

Merck is muscling up its Irish production with 200 hires. Story

Biotech Alnylam is committing $100M to a plant for its RNAi therapy, expecting to add 220 jobs in 5 years. Story


Pittsburgh's Carmell Therapeutics named Randy Hubbell as its CEO. Release

Richard Daly joined NeuralStem ($CUR) as its CEO. Release

Tocagen appointed John Wood as its vice president of regulatory affairs and quality assurance. Release

Atreca brought on Susan Berland as its executive vice president and chief financial officer. Release

Rentschler Biotechnologie named Stefan Rampf as its chief financial officer. Release

> C4 Therapeutics appointed Thomas Needham Jr. as chief business officer. Release

> Ropack Pharma Solutions appointed Francois Chouinard as director of business development for R&D and formulation. Release

> Calmare Therapeutics named Dr. Christine Chansky as chief regulatory officer. Release

> DiaMedica appointed Todd Verdoorn as vice president of neuroscience. Release

> Protagonist Therapeutics named Thomas O'Neil chief financial officer. Release

> David Budd will join Epistem as CEO on March 1. Release

> Alnylam ($ALNY) brought on Dr. Alex Leather to lead Europe and Canada operations, Alfred Boyle as SVP of technical operations and Akin Akinc as general manager of fitusiran. Release

Med tech

> MedyMatch launched with Gene Saragnese as CEO. Release

> Dr. Gurdyal Kalsi joined TissueGene as its chief medical officer. Release


> SQI Diagnostics promoted Patricia Lie to vice president of finance and administration. Release