Viehbacher returns to lead Swiss billionaire's $2B biotech fund

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.

Viehbacher returns to lead Swiss billionaire's $2B biotech fund

Gurnet Point Capital
Chris Viehbacher was named managing partner.

Former Sanofi ($SNY) CEO and outspoken champion of innovation Chris Viehbacher returned to biotech this week to lead Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli's $2 billion healthcare investment fund Gurnet Point Capital. Based in Cambridge, MA, the company will seek biotechs to invest in throughout the industry hubs of the U.S. and Europe, big and small. "Science is progressing at an accelerating pace," Viehbacher said in a statement, "and the next few years will see a number of more transformative treatments, devices and technologies coming to market. I know Gurnet Point Capital will be at the heart of bringing those to patients, and I look forward to working with Ernesto and his team to make this happen." Bertarelli, the former Serono CEO, raked in an estimated $15 billion when the company was sold to Merck KGaA. He's maintained a deep interest in the field, setting up a biotech center in the old Serono campus after it was abandoned and now establishing Gurnet Point. Story | Release (PDF)


AZ respiratory exec departs for Vectura CEO role

Vectura Group
James Ward-Lilley
was named CEO.

After 28 years at AstraZeneca ($AZN), VP of respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity James Ward-Lilley has announced he's leaving his post to head respiratory drug specialist Vectura, which has partnered with AZ rivals GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Novartis. At AstraZeneca, Ward-Lilley's recent claims to fame are the acquisitions of Almirall's respiratory business and the $1.15 billion Pearl Therapeutics buy. He'll head Vectura starting Oct. 1, replacing Dr. Chris Blackwell, who is leaving at the end of the month. His jump is the second such move this month; two weeks ago, former AstraZeneca R&D chief Briggs Morrison left to helm Syndax Pharmaceuticals. Story | Release


Takeda CFO's departure leaves unanswered questions

Takeda
François-Xavier Roger stepped down as CFO.

Takeda was left scrambling for a CFO this week after it was announced that Frenchman François-Xavier Roger left for the CFO post at Nestle. Roger's farewell--less than two years after joining Takeda--left employees "shocked," the Financial Times reported, and prompted CEO Christophe Weber to reassure staffers that the global expansion remained on track. In his reasoning, Roger said that Nestle is "one of the largest companies in the world" and "an iconic brand," though he would have been "extremely happy" to remain at Takeda. As the FT reported, foreign executives at Japanese companies are few and far between, with a discouraging track record. The publication pointed to former Olympus CEO Michael Woodford, who was left fleeing the country after exposing an accounting fraud and the recent arrest of Toyota's chief communications officer Julie Hamp, suspected of illegally importing a prescription drug from the U.S. Story


Bristol-Myers Squibb ripped up its R&D group, adding, eliminating and moving 800-plus. Story

Parexel is cutting 850 jobs as it dims its revenue outlook. Story


Biotech

> OncoSec Medical ($ONCS) named Richard Slansky as chief financial officer. Release

> Aegerion Pharmaceuticals ($AEGR) appointed Gregory Perry as chief financial officer. Release

> William Duke Jr. joined Pulmatrix ($PULM) as chief financial officer. Release

> Ultragenyx Pharmaceuticals ($RARE) named Daniel Welch as chairman of its board. Release

> Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology ($HART) appointed James McGorry as CEO. Release

> Lannett ($LCI) added Albert Paonessa to its board of directors. Release

> PixarBio promoted Jason Criscione to chief technology officer. Release

> PDL Biopharma ($PDLI) appointed Steffen Pietzke as controller and chief accounting officer. Release

> Cheryl Cohen, formerly of Medivation ($MDVN), joined CytRx's ($CYTR) board of directors. Release

> Agios ($AGIO) named Maykin Ho to its board of directors. Release

> Phosplatin Therapeutics appointed Dr. José Jimeno as chief medical officer. Release

> Sphere Medical Holding named David Martyr as its new chairman. Release

> Dr. Kanya Rajangam joined Cleave Biosciences as vice president of clinical development. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Alessandra Cesano is leaving the company. Release

> NuCana appointed Dr. Martin Birkhofer as chief medical officer. Release

ProNAi Therapeutics appointed Dr. Barbara Klencke as its chief development officer. Release

Kryptiq brought on Dr. Joseph Siemienczuk as its chief medical officer. Release

TissueGen appointed Jennifer Seifert as its senior scientist leading the spinal cord injury repair program. Release

Ambrx named Tiecheng Qiao as its CEO and Feng Tian as its CSO. Release

Ultragenyx ($RARE) appointed Dr. Jayson Dallas as its chief commercial officer and senior vice president. Release

Conatus Pharma ($CNAT) appointed Mason Yamashita as its vice president of pharmacovigilance. Release

Julie Monzo joined Astellas Pharma as a member of corporate affairs. Release

Chris Martin joined ADC Therapeutics as its CEO. Release

Bind Therapeutics ($BIND) named Andrew Hirsch as its president and CEO. Release

Intercept Pharma ($ICPT) appointed Dr. Juan Carlos Lopez-Talavera as its senior vice president of medical affairs. Release

Clovis Oncology ($CLVS) appointed Lindsey Rolfe as its chief medical officer. Release

Med Tech

> Sebacia hired Pedro Medrano as vice president of engineering and program management. Release

> Second Sight ($EYES) appointed Will McGuire as president and CEO and Dr. Robert Greenberg as chairman of the board. Release

> Medtronic ($MDT) named Geoff Martha as executive vice president and president, Restorative Therapies Group. Release

CRO

SNBL USA named Monica Vergarra as director of toxicology support services and Charlie Barker its director of scientific services. Release | Release

 

Suggested Articles

Preclinical-stage biotech Abpro Therapeutics wants to trial its two lead candidates for HER2-positive cancers and diabetic macular edema in 2019.

After a rough patch in 2017, the stars seem to be realigning for French CAR-T expert Cellectis, which just closed a $164 million U.S. public offering.

Investment firm Frazier Healthcare Partners has closed its 11th fund—worth $780 million—that will help established companies accelerate their growth.