Tal Zaks lands at Moderna as CMO

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 Michael Gibney (email | Twitter) or Amirah Al Idrus (email | Twitter), and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Tal Zaks lands at Moderna as CMO

Moderna Therapeutics
Dr. Tal Zaks was named CMO.

Dr. Tal Zaks, who was among the 100 oncology researchers who were cut from Sanofi ($SNY) last month, landed at Moderna Therapeutics this week as chief medical officer. Before being axed, Zaks led the global oncology effort at Sanofi, but the program never reached the success it sought. Soon after former Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher was ousted, R&D chief Elias Zerhouni triggered the revamp, folding the cancer drug R&D outfit into the global group. Moderna, one of the fastest growing biotechs in the business, has banked close to $1 billion in venture and partnering cash since its launch four years ago. Zaks joins as Moderna is adding about 100 new researchers. "I think my biggest challenge will be to help Moderna and its ecosystem of partners and ventures translate disruptive science with very broad biological applicability into a stream of new medicines, and to do so at a pace that recognizes the urgency of unmet patient needs," he wrote in an email to FierceBiotech. Story | Release


Nearing FDA filing, Chiasma taps biopharma vet Leuchtenberger as CEO

Chiasma
Mark Leuchtenberger was named CEO.

Israeli-American biotech Chiasma has recruited Mark Leuchtenberger as CEO fresh off raising $70 million in venture cash. A 25-year biopharma veteran, Leuchtenberger will take the reins from Roni Mamluk, who will stay onboard as chief development officer. Leuchtenberger previously led Acusphere, Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, Targanta Therapeutics and Therion Biologics, and managed the launch of Avonex during a 6-year stint at Biogen Idec ($BIIB). Chiasma's top prospect is oral octreotide, a drug in development for acromegaly that the company believes can unseat injectable therapies. It plans to file for the drug next quarter. Release


Old Allergan CEO Pyott won't join new Allergan's board

Allergan
David Pyott won't join new board after acquisition by Actavis.

After taking the company from a $3 billion market cap to a $66 billion sale to Actavis ($ACT), former Allergan ($AGN) CEO David Pyott elected not to join the joint company's board this week. Pyott spent 17 years at Allergan, and over the past several years scored a series of acquisitions and partnerships. In 2012, the company gave the exec a pay boost, citing its $20 billion market cap at the time; Pyott is on deck for about $89 million in cash in shares due to accelerated vesting because of the buyout. This week, while Actavis announced two new directors in Michael Gallagher and Dr. Peter McDonnell, Philips ($PHG) said that it is proposing to appoint Pyott as a member of its supervisory board. As part of the acquisition, Actavis will retain Allergan identity to highlight the "innovation in branded pharmaceuticals" that Allergan's name has represented for more than 65 years, CEO Brent Saunders said in a statement. Story | Release | More


Actavis job-cutting drive hits 400 on Long Island. Story

GlaxoSmithKline warned of 150 job cuts in Philadelphia. Report

AbbVie is expanding a Puerto Rico plant, adding up to 100 jobs. Story


Biotech

>Dr. Thomas Wessel joined Flex Pharma ($FLKS) as the company's chief medical officer. Release

> Deciphera Pharmaceuticals appointed Tucker Kelly as its chief financial officer. Release

> Gensignia brought on Dr. Napoleone Ferrara as a scientific and clinical adviser. Release

> Digisonics promoted Tony Fossile to its director of sales. Release

> Orgenesis appointed Itamar Raz to its board of advisers. Release

> BASI named Philip Downing its vice president of preclinical services. Release

> Inergetics promoted Alexis Graf to be the company's associate creative director. Release

> Polyphor appointed Michael Altorfer as its CEO. Release

> Xencor ($XNCR) adds Dr. A. Bruce Montgomery to its board of directors. Release

> CytomX Therapeutics appoints Dr. Rachel Humphrey to its board of directors. Release

> TapImmune adds David Laskow-Pooley, CEO of London Pharma, to its board of directors. Release

> Fibrocell Science ($FCSC) names Keith Goldan as senior vice president and chief financial officer. Release

> Zealand Pharma promoted vice president for development Adam Steensberg to senior vice president for development and chief medical officer. Keld Fosgerau, the vice president for research, will serve in the newly created position of senior vice president for research while the company seeks a permanent appointment. Hanne Leth Hillman has been appointed as senior vice president for investor relations & communications. Release

> Immune Design ($IMDZ) appoints Lewis Coleman to its board of directors. Release

> Dyadic International adds Jack Kaye to its board of directors. Release

> Genepeeks appoints Mara Aspinall as chairman of its board of directors. Release

> Cortendo appoints John Johnson as chairman and Richard Kollender as director. Release

> Innocoll ($INNL) appoints Dr. James Tursi as chief medical officer. Release

> Inovio Pharmaceuticals ($INO) appoints Dr. Scott White as vice president, clinical development--infectious diseases. Release

> Tekmira ($TKMR) appoints Adam Cutler as senior vice president of corporate affairs, Bruce Dorsey as vice president of chemistry and Rene Cornelis Rijnbrand as vice president of biology. Release

> Neurotech names Dr. Charles Johnson as chief medical officer. Release

Med tech

> Agilent ($A) adds Dr. Daniel Podolsky to its board of directors. Release

> Calhoun Vision names Rick Heinick as CEO, effective March 30. Release

 

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