Williams setting up shop at Codiak after Biogen departure

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.

Williams setting up shop at Codiak after Biogen departure

Codiak Biosciences
Doug Williams became CEO.

Four months after stepping aside as R&D chief at Biogen ($BIIB), Doug Williams announced this week that he signed on over the summer to lead startup Codiak Biosciences, which will set out to explore the role exosomes play in treating cancer and other diseases. With $80 million in financing to work with, Williams is now recruiting a team and lining up a permanent location in Cambridge, MA, where he'll collaborate with Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT president and Codiak co-founder Eric Lander. According to Williams, the startup could take a therapeutic program to the clinic next year and begin to seek partnerships. Prior to his stint at Biogen, Williams led ZymoGenetics through its sale to Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) for nearly $1 billion. He spent 5 years at Biogen, a time which included the company's development of game-changing MS med Tecfidera. Story

 Guido Rasi starts term as EMA's executive director

European Medicines Agency
Guido Rasi assumed the office of executive director.

Guido Rasi assumed the office of the executive director for the European Medicines Agency this week; he was nominated for the spot and appointed last month. He returns to the office to serve a 5-year term after previously serving as the regulator's executive director from November 2011 to November 2014 and as the EMA's principal adviser in charge of strategy from November 2014 to November 2015. A former director general of the Italian Medicines Agency from 2008 to 2011, Rasi was made a full professor of microbiology in 2008 at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. At a press briefing on Dec. 9, he'll outline his priorities for the 5-year term. Release | Background

After short stint, MannKind CEO Edstrom steps aside

Hakan Edstrom stepped down as president, CEO and director.

In the face of flailing Afrezza sales, MannKind's ($MNKD) CEO and president, Hakan Edstrom, stepped down on Friday, ending a CEO term that lasted less than one year. Formerly the company's COO for more than a decade, Edstrom will additionally relinquish his director role at the company while MannKind's founder, Alfred Mann, will step in to serve in the top position on an interim basis. Mann has founded and largely funded 17 companies, two which went public and 10 which were purchased at an overall total of nearly $8 billion. MannKind said in a statement that it plans to establish a committee to find a permanent CEO. Prior to MannKind, Edstrom held leadership positions with Bausch + Lomb and Pharmacia. He was appointed CEO in January. Release

Macrocure is axing staff as Phase III flops take a toll on prospects. Story

History suggests a Pfizer-Allergan hookup would mean sizable cuts in manufacturing. Story

Regeneron is plotting a $150M R&D expansion and planning to add 300 jobs at its New York hub. Story


BioAmber hired Mario Saucier as its chief financial officer. Release

Crescendo Biologics appointed Kevin Johnson as its new chairman. Release

Angela Wilson joined NantKwest ($NK) as chief financial officer. Release

Ambrx hired Dr. Yong-Jiang Hei as its chief medical officer. Release

Grace Lytle joined Avellino Labs as its senior medical director. Release

Atlas Genetics appointed Keith Stauffer as its vice president of sales and marketing. Release

Analyst Geoffrey Porges joined Leerink Partners as its managing director, senior biotechnology analyst and director of therapeutics research. Release

Synergy Pharmaceuticals ($SGYP) brought on Gary Sender as its chief financial officer. Release

> Immune Pharma ($IMNP) appointed Dr. Miri Ben-Ami as president of Immune Pharmaceuticals Israel and executive vice president of oncology, and Dr. Monica Luchi as executive vice president of global drug development and chief medical officer. Release

> Purdue Pharma named Dr. Alan Dunton as senior vice president of research and development. Release

> West Pharmaceutical Services ($WST) named George Miller senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary. Release

> NovaBay Pharma's ($NBY) CEO, Ron Najafi, stepped down. Chairman Mark Sieczkarek will serve as interim president and CEO. Release

> Afferent Pharma appointed Prabha Ibrahim as chief technology officer and Michelle Carpenter as vice president, regulatory affairs and project management. Release

> Boston Pharma appointed Dr. Santiago Arroyo as chief medical officer and Constantine Chinoporos as chief business officer. Release

> C4X Discovery announced the appointment of Dr. Clive Dix as executive chairman and the departure of CEO Piers Morgan. Release

> Diaceutics Group named Steve Vitale managing director of analytics, insights and strategy division. Release

> Idera Pharma ($IDRA) named Dr. Joanna Horobin as chief medical officer. Release

> BioTime ($BTX) appointed Russell Skibsted as chief financial officer. Release

> Inivata appointed James Clark as vice president of clinical laboratory operations. Release

> Oncimmune named Dr. James Jett as chief medical officer. Release


> Dr. Glynis Neagle joined Medpace as vice president of medical affairs. Release


> Natera ($NTRA) appointed Jimmy Lin as chief scientific officer for oncology. Release

> PlaqueTec named Dr. Nick West as chief medical officer. Release

Med tech

Shameze Rampertab stepped down from his position as CFO of Profound Medical. Release

Cardiovascular Systems CEO David Martin is taking a medical leave of absence. Chairman Scott Ward will serve as the interim CEO. Release

Egalet ($EGLT) brought on Paul Varki as its senior vice president and general counsel. Release

> Hamilton Thorne hired Keith Edwards as senior vice president and general manager. Release