Welcome to this week’s Chutes & Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry. Please send the good word—or the bad—from your shop to Conor Hale, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.
Novartis brings in new CEO to clean up Korean branch
Joshi Venugopal will become CEO in September.
Former head of Novartis Malaysia and Brunei, Venugopal will take over for acting CEO Klaus Ribbe, who is retiring at the end of next month. Ribbe was sent in April 2016 to deal with the division’s emerging kickback scandal. Then-CEO Moon Hak-sun took a leave of absence and was later indicted alongside five senior managers over allegations they bribed doctors in exchange for prescriptions. Venugopal also led the company’s operations in other Asia-Pacific countries including Singapore, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and the Maldives. FiercePharma
Achillion poaches CMO from uniQure in clinical leader revamp
Steven Zelenkofske was named executive VP and chief medical officer.
Zelenkofske has been the CMO of uniQure for a little over a year, after joining the company last summer from AstraZeneca to head up its gene therapy pipeline. Achillion has been without a CMO since January, when David Apelian, M.D., Ph.D., left to become COO and executive medical officer at Eiger BioPharmaceuticals. In addition, Achillion brought on Laura Barrow as VP of clinical operations and head of project management, as well as Marc Uknis, M.D., as VP of clinical development and head of nephrology therapeutics. FierceBiotech
Sensei brings on new CMO as it eyes phase 2 trial
Ildiko Csiki, M.D., Ph.D., was appointed CMO.
Csiki was previously VP of immuno-oncology clinical development at Inovio Pharmaceuticals. She takes over for Edward Garmey, M.D., former CMO at Cerulean Pharma, who was serving as Sensei’s acting CMO since March. Before working at Inovio, Csiki served as a Keytruda development lead at Merck, as well as a director of clinical development at GlaxoSmithKline focusing on lymphoma and other oncology programs. FierceBiotech
> Hubert Chen, M.D., resigned as CMO of Pfenex, leaving the company without a CMO as it gears up to file a new drug application with the FDA, although Chen will continue as an adviser. FierceBiotech
> Allegro Ophthalmics is moving its former leader, Hampar Karageozian, up to the position of executive chairman, and promoting former president, co-founder and CMO Vicken Karageozian to CEO. The moves come as the company prepares for a phase 3 trial of its lead compound in diabetic macular edema. FierceBiotech
> Kaleido Biosciences named Alison Lawton, the company’s current president and COO, to succeed Michael Bonney as CEO. Joshua Brumm has been promoted to COO and will continue to serve as CFO. In addition, Bonney will continue as executive chairman of the board. Prior to joining Kaleido, Lawton served as COO at Aura Biosciences and OvaScience and spent more than 20 years at Genzyme and Genzyme Sanofi. Release
> ApoGen Biotechnologies has brought on Chrysalis Therapeutics founder Stephen Gwaltney, Ph.D., to be its VP of chemistry, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s strategic director, Peter de Vries, Ph.D., as senior director of biology. Gwaltney previously served as VP of chemistry at Global Blood Therapeutics, as well as director of chemistry at Takeda San Diego. De Vries previously served as director of cancer biology and pharmacology at Cascadian Therapeutics. FierceBiotech
> E-Scape Bio has brought on Julie Anne Smith as president and CEO and appointed her to its board of directors. Smith previously served as president and CEO of Nuredis as well as Raptor Pharmaceuticals before its acquisition by Horizon Pharmaceuticals. At E-Scape, she succeeds Leon Chen, a venture partner with Orbimed Advisors. Release
> Bi Jingquan, former head of China’s FDA beginning in 2015, was asked to resign from his current position as head of the ruling party and deputy director of the State Administration for Market Regulation, following a vaccine safety scandal. Wu Zhen, formerly No. 2 at China’s FDA, now faces an investigation by the party’s anti-corruption commission, while Jiao Hong, former CFDA deputy director and current chief of the State Drug Administration, will have to hand in a self-review. FiercePharma
> Biopharma services company Caligor Coghlan appointed Lisa Rich-Milan as CEO. Rich-Milan previously led the national commercial teams for Quest Clinical Informatics and served as CEO for CompuNet Clinical Laboratory, a joint venture with Quest Diagnostics. Release
> Chinese authorities are criminally prosecuting managers at Juxin Biotech after a massive explosion at its plant killed 10 people in December 2017. The biotech will also be fined 5 million yuan ($730,750), and its production permit is being revoked. FiercePharma