Regulus CEO Xanthopoulos' abrupt exit alarms investors

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.

Regulus CEO Xanthopoulos' abrupt exit alarms investors

Regulus Therapeutics
Kleanthis Xanthopoulos stepped down as CEO.

In an abrupt announcement, Regulus Therapeutics ($RGLS) CEO Kleanthis Xanthopoulos announced his resignation this week "to pursue investment opportunities in the biotechnology industry" as the company awaits key trial data for its in-development hepatitis C treatment. Along with him, Chief Scientific Officer Neil Gibson left the company, leaving Chief Medical Officer Paul Grint to take the CEO reins. News of the personnel changes spooked investors and sent the company's shares down 15%. Some of the concern may have come from the end of Xanthopoulos' last tenure as CEO of Anadys Pharmaceuticals, which he founded. Within two weeks of stepping down from that company in 2006, Anadys said it would halt the development of its hep C treatment on safety concerns and shares plummeted. Regulus is additionally working on preclinical candidates for cancer, fibrosis and metabolic disease with partners GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), Sanofi ($SNY), and AstraZeneca ($AZN). Story | Release

Sudden CEO exit suggests Pozen's prepping for a sale

John Plachetka stepped down as CEO.

Add to Pozen's ($POZN) list of problems a CEO transition as this week the company's founder, chairman and CEO, John Plachetka​, retired effective immediately. Manufacturing problems at a contract supplier and a lost partnership with Sanofi ($SNY) will be on the task list for new chief Adrian Adams, who was CEO at Auxilium until it was sold to Endo ($ENDP) in January. Along with the news, Pozen set up an Irish subsidiary, Pozen Limited, as a springboard for international growth, WRAL TechWire reported. FiercePharma noted that the country's tax-friendly jurisdiction could serve as an eventual tax inversion, and Adams' employment history suggests the company could be prepping for a buyout. Story | Release

Paul Cleveland named CEO as Celladon seeks a sale

Paul Cleveland was named CEO.

Following the review of "very disappointing" CUPID2 data for heart therapy Mydicar, Celladon ($CLDN) retained Wedbush PacGrow Healthcare as its financial adviser and announced that it's commencing a process to seek an acquisition or partnership, in the process naming Paul Cleveland CEO. In his 30-year career, Cleveland has served as a corporate lawyer, investment banker, venture capitalist and biotech exec. He joined Celladon in June 2014 as chief financial officer.  The move follows former CEO Krisztina Zsebo's decision last month to resign from the company as it halved its workforce to conserve cash. Release | More

Fresh off Novartis consumer deal, GSK slices off 350 workers to hit cost-squeezing targets. Story

Saama raises $35M to fuel push into life science data analytics. Article

AstraZeneca takes its emerging markets push to Algeria with $125M expansion. Story


> inVentiv Health appoints Michael McKelvey as president of its clinical division and executive vice president of inVentiv Health. Release

> Ultragenyx Pharmaceuticals ($RARE) names Dennis Huang as chief technical operations officer and senior vice president. Release

> Enumeral Biomedical adds Dr. Giulio Draetta and Dr. Kai Wucherpfennig to its scientific advisory board. Release

> Ovid Therapeutics appoints Dr. Yaron Werber as chief financial officer. Release

> Affimed Therapeutics ($AFMD) has formed a scientific advisory board comprising Dr. Stephen Ansell, Dr. Michael Caligiuri, Dr. Andreas Engert, Dr. Holbrook Kohrt, Dr. Owen O'Connor and Dr. Max Topp. Release

> Paratek Pharma appoints Yulii Bogatyrenko as senior vice president of business development and Randall Brenner as senior vice president of regulatory affairs and quality. Release

> Galectin Therapeutics ($GALT) appoints Dr. Marc Rubin as lead independent director of its board of directors. Release

> Peter Willinger joins Apogenix as chief financial officer. Release

> Novogen ($NVGN) adds Bryce Carmine and Ian Phillips to its board of directors. Release

> Armetheon appoints Dr. Sanjay Kakkar as CEO. Release

> Cardiome Pharma ($CRME) names David Dean as vice president of business development and investor relations. Release

Applied Genetic Technologies appointed Mark Shearman as its chief scientific officer. Release

ArQule named Robert Weiskopf as its chief financial officer. Release

Laurent Fanichet joined Sinequa as its vice president of marketing. Release

Ivor Macleod is the new senior vice president, chief financial officer and chief compliance officer of Eisai. Release

Purdue Pharma named Jean-Jacques Charhon its chief financial officer. Release

NuGene International named Donna Queen to its board of directors. Release

Anergis appointed Kim Simonsen as its chief development officer. Release

> Hydra Biosciences announced the members of its new medical advisory board: Robert DworkinDr. Roy FreemanDr. Nathaniel Katz, Dr. Paul Goldenheim and Hydra founder Dr. David Clapham. Release

> Proteon Therapeutics ($PRTO) hired Scott Toner as senior vice president of marketing. Release

> Creabilis named Catherine Moukheibir as chairman of its board of directors. Release

Medical Devices

> JenaValve Technology named Victoria Carr-Brendel as CEO. Release


> Navidea ($NAVB) added Anton Gueth to its board of directors. Release

Animal Health

> Jaguar Animal Health ($JAGX) added Folkert Kamphuis to its board of directors. Release