Sanofi pulls Dr. Yong-Jun Liu from AZ to serve as head of research

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.

Sanofi pulls Dr. Yong-Jun Liu from AZ to serve as head of research

Dr. Yong-Jun Liu was named head of research.

Sanofi ($SNY) named Dr. Yong-Jun Liu its head of research, a role in which he'll work with leadership to "build a competitive R&D organization," Sanofi's statement this week said, as well as lead all of the French pharma's research activities. Dr. Liu's work has led to the development of several key drug targets in allergy, immunology and oncology. A world-renowned immunology researcher with 25 years of pharma and medical experience, Dr. Liu has served as founding director at the Cancer Immunology Research Institute at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He's also served at the Baylor Research Institute as VP and CSO and as director of the Baylor Institute for Immunology Research. He joins Sanofi from AstraZeneca's ($AZN) MedImmune, which he joined in 2014. At Sanofi, he'll report to Dr. Elias Zerhouni, president of R&D. "Yong-Jun will play a pivotal role in shaping a visionary R&D strategy for Sanofi and rejuvenating the company's early-stage pipeline," Zerhouni said in the release. "His world-class experience in immunology, oncology and translational medicine will be vital assets as Sanofi sets its sights on scientific excellence and innovation across its therapeutic areas." Story

Medivation appoints Jennifer Jarrett to serve as CFO

Jennifer Jarrett was named CFO.

During a week that saw it pair with JPMorgan to fend off unwanted M&A scouts, Medivation ($MDVN) has named Jennifer Jarrett its next CFO, effective April 23, to replace Rick Bierly, who's retiring in July. Jarrett heads to Medivation after more than 20 years in the investment banking industry, where she focused on life sciences, biotech and healthcare. Most recently, she served as managing director at Citigroup, responsible for the company's West Coast life sciences and biotech investment group. She's also spent time as a managing director at Credit Suisse Health Care Group. After recently bringing blockbuster-to-be Xtandi to market, Medivation has made itself a hot deal target, but the company has expressed that it isn't interested in being bought. "I look forward to being part of Medivation's future growth by helping to expand the Company's visibility in the marketplace, structure and assimilate new opportunities, advance the development program, and continue strong management of its financial operations so that we can further drive shareholder value," Jarrett said in an announcement. Release

Biogen hires Merck vet Michel Vounatsos as chief commercial officer

Michel Vounatsos was named chief commercial officer.

After 20 years at Merck ($MRK), Michel Vounatsos is heading to Biogen ($BIIB) to serve as chief commercial officer; he'll report to Biogen CEO George Scangos. At Merck, Vounatsos most recently served as president of the primary care business line and Merck Customer Centricity. He has also held leadership positions across Europe and China for Merck. In his new role, he'll be responsible for managing the development and execution of Biogen's global commercial strategy, focusing on the continued growth of the company's product portfolio and the necessary accompanying commercial infrastructure. "I am excited to work with my new colleagues to deliver on the unique promise of the Biogen pipeline as we seek to transform the lives of patients with neurodegenerative and rare diseases around the world," Vounatsos said in a release. "As I move to Biogen, I am grateful to the team at Merck for the tremendous opportunities I have had over the past two decades." Release

Ariad axed 90 staffers in an ongoing reorg. Story


> OvaScience ($OVAS) Chief Scientific Officer Arthur Tzianabos stepped down. Release

> aTyr Pharma ($LIFE) named Dr. Sanjay Shukla as chief medical officer. Release

> ContraVir ($CTRV) appointed John Cavan as chief financial officer. Release

> Mark Gardner joined OmniSeq as CEO. Release

> PixarBio named Glenn Reiser as vice president of external affairs. Release

> Helix CEO Dr. Zbigniew Markowski stepped down. Release

> ImmuneXcite appointed Eric Furfine as chief scientific officer and acting CEO. Release

> Curis ($CRIS) named James Dentzer as chief financial officer and chief administrative officer. Release

> Juniper Pharma ($JNP) appointed Dr. Herman Weiss as vice president of medical affairs and clinical development. Release

Via Surgical brought on John Gomes as its chief commercial officer. Release

Icon's ($ICLR) Thomas Lynch will retire as chairman. Release

Lantheus ($LNTH) appointed Jack Crowley as its CFO. Release

Yiping Mu will be the co-CEO of Advanced Electrophoresis Solutions. Release

Charles Dunlop became the president of Ambry Genetics and Aaron Elliott its CEO. Release

Moderna appointed Saqib Islam as its chief business officer. Release

Mount Tam Biotechnologies named Richard Marshak its CEO. Release

Actinium named Jennifer Liberi its director of clinical operations. Release

BioClinica appointed Steven Herne as its chief commercial officer and Francois Audibert as vice president for global consulting. Release

Med Tech

> Omron Healthcare named Ranndy Kellogg as president and CEO. Release

The DNA Diagnostics Center named Connie Hallquist president and CEO. Release