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How family and science moved Exelixis’ new CMO to work on oncology blockbusters; While John Maraganore racks up the prizes, his old crew at Alnylam selects president

Vicki Goodman
After 18 years at the FDA and climbing the corporate ladder in biopharma, Vicki Goodman is now in the biotech C-suite for the first time. The new CMO and executive VP of product development for Exelixis started on Dec. 4, flying out to the..

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Vicki Goodman

After 18 years at the FDA and climbing the corporate ladder in biopharma, Vicki Goodman is now in the biotech C-suite for the first time. The new CMO and executive VP of product development for Exelixis started on Dec. 4, flying out to the biotech’s headquarters just outside sunny San Francisco before returning home and flying all the way back to Philly, where she is based.

Goodman got her passion for medicine as a young child — it didn’t surprise anyone that she majored in biochemistry before going through medical school and residency, finishing up in the early 2000s with an emphasis in internal medicine, medical oncology and hematology. But for her, there was an underlying desire to use science to help people and work on problems that impact people’s health.

Part of that desire came from personal tragedy: Goodman lost her mother to breast cancer right as Goodman finished medical school. She decided to focus her career in oncology.

It was a a pivotal time in the field. Science was changing — particularly doctors’ understanding of biology and cancer.

“It was becoming very clear that our understanding of human biology — and increasing understanding of some of the molecular genetic underpinnings of cancer — could really have the potential to revolutionize treatment of patients with cancer,” Goodman told Endpoints News.

She noted Novartis’ tyrosine kinase inhibitor Gleevec for chronic myeloid leukeima was approved in 2001, near the end of her residency. The first-of-its-kind target therapy fundamentally transformed treatment of that type of cancer, and pushed her towards drug development.

“We really watched how that treatment — which was molecularly targeted — transformed the treatment of that disease from one that inexorably progressed,” Goodman said. “We didn’t have drugs that really affected the underlying disease. And ultimately, you know, patients would have a blast crisis and die of the disease. You were seeing with treatment with Gleevec, the tumors, cancer cells just melted away, the leukemic cells just disappeared.”

And going into drug development she did. After spending some time at the FDA, got hired at GlaxoSmithKline, where she spent 8 years working in clinical and medicine development before going over to Bristol Myers Squibb in 2015. While at Bristol Myers, Goodman worked as a VP, development lead before moving into the oncology senior leadership team there, ultimately working on blockbuster PD-(L)1 inhibitor Opdivo.

That’s when Goodman first got acquainted with Exelixis — she helped lead the partnership between BMS and Exelixis on the Checkmate -9ER trial, which combined Opdivo with Exelixis’ lead candidate, the now-approved drug Cabometyx for renal cell carcinoma.

After leaving BMS in 2020, she went to Merck, where she worked on PD-(L)1 blockbuster Keytruda and other Merck candidates in indications such as thoracic malignancies, head and neck cancers, breast and gynecologic cancers, and hematology.

Which brought her back to Exelixis. Goodman heard that the CMO position was open, and when they reached out to her, she didn’t want to let go of an opportunity, so she went for it.

So what’s next for Goodman and Exelixis? In Goodman’s own words, “There’s a lot to do,” especially on the data side of things. There’s expected readouts for Cabometyx for this year — some of them in Phase III trials for even more indications for the drug. There’s also pipeline expansion and setting up a registrational trial this year for XL092, the company’s new TKI inhibitor, and down the road for XL102, their new CDK7 inhibitor.

“The other key focus for me is really on the people and teams and making sure that we have the right capabilities in place,” Goodman said.

And it plays right into one of the things on her leadership to-do list: start building a development team out on the East Coast — which in Goodman’s view, is a crucial step for future success.

Paul Schloesser


Happy 2022, Peer Review readers! The new year has started with an unparalleled deluge of appointments, so buckle up:

Akshay Vaishnaw

→ A new era at Alnylam begins now with Yvonne Greenstreet as CEO, a new siRNA deal with Novartis, and a promotion: Akshay Vaishnaw has been elevated to president after nearly four years as president of R&D with the RNAi pioneer. Vaishnaw has been an Alnylam exec since 2006, leaving Biogen to take a job as VP of clinical research, and he’s been steadily rising in the company ever since.

As for Alnylam’s former CEO, the beat goes on with John Maraganore’s mission to “be a granddad” for other companies — Peer Review may as well institute a Maraganore Meter to track all the gigs he accumulates. What’s on tap for him now? First, he became an executive partner at RTW, as detailed by our Paul Schloesser; Atlas Venture tweeted this week that Maraganore will lend his expertise as a venture advisor; next, Maraganore has been named chairman of the board at Hemab, a Danish blood disorder biotech helmed by former Codiak exec Benny Sorensen; SQZ Biotechnologies also came calling this week, tapping Maraganore as a strategic advisor; and finally, he will be chair of the advisory council at Stanley Crooke’s non-profit n-Lorem Foundation.

Kate Haviland

→ Last year, Blueprint Medicines earned its fourth approval by crossing the goal line with Ayvakit for advanced systemic mastocytosis, and joined the M&A party by purchasing Lengo Therapeutics for $250 million upfront. On April 4, Blueprint will have a change at the top as CEO Jeff Albers passes the baton to Kate Haviland, who was hired as CBO in 2016 and has been COO since 2019. Haviland ventured off to Blueprint after her tenure as VP, rare diseases and oncology program leadership at Idera; she’s also led commercial development Sarepta and PTC Therapeutics. Albers will be executive chairman until the end of the year, at which time he will continue as chairman.

Another piece of Blueprint news: Also effective April 4, Christina Rossi, the company’s chief commercial officer since 2018, will replace Haviland as COO.

Javier Szwarcberg

Mike Grey’s days are up as interim CEO of Spruce Biosciences after pinch-hitting for the retired Richard King, now entrusting the company to Javier Szwarcberg. Following a short stay as VP of R&D and business development at Horizon, Szwarcberg pivoted to Ultragenyx, becoming SVP, head of program and portfolio management. Since February 2020, Szwarcberg had been group VP and head of program and portfolio development for JJ Bienaimé at BioMarin. Another Spruce note: Samir Gharib has been elevated to president and will retain his duties as CFO.

Kenneth Galbraith

→ There will be a new sheriff in town at cancer bispecifics biotech Zymeworks as Kenneth Galbraith replaces CEO Ali Tehrani “on or before” Feb. 1. Tehrani spent 18+ years at the helm and he’ll stick around as an advisor during the transition period. Galbraith has familiarity with the company already as a former board member from 2009-13, and the ex-CEO of Liminal BioSciences and Fairhaven Pharmaceuticals has been an entrepreneur-in-residence with Syncona since last April. There’s one more bit of C-suite activity to sort out — CFO and 15-year Zymeworks vet Neil Klompas has tacked on the role of COO with immediate effect.

Hubert Chen

→ While we were on a break (apologies to Ross from “Friends”), Hubert Chen resigned as CMO of Metacrine effective New Year’s Eve, leaving CEO Preston Klassen to fill the vacancy. Chen found another CMO gig at ADARx Pharmaceuticals, an RNA editing startup that raised the curtain on a $75 million Series B co-led by OrbiMed and SR One in September 2021. Chen joined Metacrine in August 2018 after four years with Pfenex — first as CMO, then as chief scientific and medical officer — and has previously been VP of clinical development at Aileron Therapeutics. Like many companies, Metacrine ran into a brick wall with NASH, throwing in the towel with its program in October and instead concentrating on a Phase II for inflammatory bowel disease with MET642.

Joshua Grass

→ The Grass is always greener: Joshua Grass has succeeded the retiring Alain Baron as CEO of San Diego-based upstart Escient Pharmaceuticals, with Baron staying on as a strategic advisor through Q1. After 15 years at BioMarin, where he was SVP, business and corporate development, Grass launched the rare disease play Modis Therapeutics in 2018 while he was an entrepreneur-in-residence at F-Prime Capital. The next year, Zogenix scooped up Modis for $250 million upfront.

→ Peer Review received a statement on behalf of Spark that Joseph La Barge has stepped down “to begin focusing on his next chapter in biotech.” La Barge jumped on board at Spark in 2013 as chief legal officer and had served as CBO for almost two years, playing a pivotal role in the acquisition by Roche.

Simon Allen

Simon Allen will be CEO of Anebulo Pharmaceuticals, which seeks to turn the tables on cannabinoid overdose and substance abuse. He will replace Daniel Schneeberger, who announced his resignation effective Feb. 1. Allen returned for a second tour of duty as CBO for Ambrx in March 2019 after holding the same position at the California biotech from 2010-15. Austin-based Anebulo, whose lead candidate ANEB-001 is in a Phase II proof-of-concept study for acute cannabinoid intoxication, has also brought in Scott Anderson as head of investor relations and public relations.

Julien Miara

→ At Paris-based biotech Onxeo, Julien Miara has replaced CEO Judith Greciet on an interim basis starting this week. A member of Onxeo’s board since September 2020, Miara’s run at Invus began more than a decade ago, earning a promotion in 2018 to lead its European team. Greciet was named CEO of Onxeo in 2011, back when the company was known as BioAlliance Pharma until it merged with Topotarget and was rebranded. The DNA damage response biotech is now chaired by Epizyme chief medical and development officer Shefali Agarwal.

Eric Hobbs

Eric Hobbs will be reassigned from CEO “to president of the Antibody Therapeutics business line” at digital cell biology player Berkeley Lights when his replacement is found. Hobbs first came to Berkeley Lights in 2013 as senior director of R&D and was promoted to CEO in March 2017. Berkeley Lights struck while the IPO iron was hot in the summer of 2020, blowing by the standard $100 million they initially penciled in with a $205 million upsized offering.

Francis Sarena

Francis Sarena has signed on to be COO of Apexigen, whose CD40 agonist sotigalimab is in Phase II studies in a number of cancer indications, namely melanoma. From 2011-21, Sarena was an exec with Five Prime, serving as chief strategy officer from 2016 until Amgen padded its oncology pipeline by purchasing the company for $2 billion. This is Apexigen’s second major executive appointment in the last several months after bringing in CMO Frank Hsu from Oncternal Therapeutics.

Michael Skynner has pedaled into a new post this week at Bicycle Therapeutics, shifting from COO to chief technology officer for CEO Kevin Lee’s squad while VP, human resources and communications Alistair Milnes steps into the COO slot. Skynner, Bicycle’s COO since 2018, first arrived in 2016 as VP, operations and discovery after his days as head of external alliances, rare disease research unit with Pfizer. Bicycle put a little air in Ionis’ tires in July 2021 with an oligonucleotide deal that saw Ionis fork over $45 million upfront.

Joseph McIntosh

Stephen Squinto’s nucleic acid gene therapy biotech Gennao Bio has pegged Joseph McIntosh as CMO and Anuj Goswami as general counsel. McIntosh was in this space a mere eight months ago when he took the CMO job at Jaguar Gene Therapy, spending the previous year as the medical chief of Aruvant. This is Goswami’s first foray into biotech after a 21-year career in private practice with Philadephia-based Ballard Spahr.

Esther Rajavelu

→ Rare disease player Fulcrum Therapeutics has found a new CFO in Esther Rajavelu, who most recently served as a senior equities research analyst at UBS. Rajavelu’s experience also includes stints at Deutsche Bank and Oppenheimer & Co. Fulcrum’s stock price went through the roof last summer on the strength of data for its sickle cell drug FTX-6058.

→ New York’s Indaptus Therapeutics has tapped Boyan Litchev as CMO, the latest move in a whirlwind of stops the last five years. Let’s break it all down: Litchev had only led global clinical development at Shoreline Biosciences since the summer of 2021, and as we told you then, he spent his previous 16 months as head of clinical development, oncology at Poseida. Litchev was briefly the executive medical director, head of clinical development, oncology at Halozyme after two years with Akcea, and he joins Indaptus in time to push its lead cancer candidate Decoy20 into Phase I sometime this year.

Stephanie Oestreich

→ Danish biotech Galecto, part of the 2020 IPO frenzy, has waved in Stephanie Oestreich as CBO. After 12 years with Novartis, Oestreich was the international business leader for Avastin at Roche, then jumped over to Evotec, where she was head of academic partnerships and investments, North America & Asia. She just finished an abbreviated run as VP of operations and head of alliance management with Mnemo Therapeutics. Galecto’s lead product, GB0139, is an inhaled galectin-3 inhibitor in a Phase IIb trial for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

David McIntyre

David McIntyre has been named CFO of cardiovascular disease player Anthos Therapeutics, launched nearly three years ago by Blackstone and Novartis. An ex-partner at Apple Tree Partners, McIntyre just had a year-long stint as finance chief at Tessa Therapeutics. Anthos’ lead candidate, the monoclonal antibody abelacimab, is being developed as an anticoagulant to prevent or treat venous thromboembolism.

Sarah Liu

→ GI disease player 9 Meters Biopharma out of Raleigh, NC has named Sarah Liu chief commercial officer and Al Medwar head of investor relations. Liu spearheaded global commercial strategy for the spinal muscular atrophy drug Zolgensma while she was VP and head of worldwide new product planning and VP, global marketing at Novartis Gene Therapies. The Takeda and Abbott vet has also been VP of commercial operations and strategic planning at Melinta Therapeutics. Medwar swings into 9 Meters from Aruna Bio, where he was EVP of corporate & commercial development.

Kevin Lynch is making his way over to Notable Labs as CBO. Lynch comes aboard after careers as CBO of Recursion and VP of business development at Vir Biotechnology. Not only that, but earlier in his career, Lynch ran a 20-year stint over at Abbott/AbbVie as VP, search and evaluation.

Marie-Louise Fjällskog

→ Marie-Louise Fjällskog has left Sensei Biotherapeutics to become CMO at Finnish immunotherapy biotech Faron Pharmaceuticals. While Fjällskog was CMO at Sensei, the company rolled to a $152 million IPO in early 2021. In addition to her new role at Faron, Fjällskog also serves as associate professor of oncology at Uppsala University in Sweden.

Christopher Horan

Christopher Horan has answered the bell as chief technical operations officer at Artiva Biotherapeutics, Merck’s CAR-NK partner that doubled the fun in 2021 with a $120 million raise and a Nasdaq debut. After 13 years at Merck and another 14 with Genentech where he rose to head of product and global supply chain management, Horan served as chief technical operations officer at Dermira and, most recently, SanBio.

→ UK-based 4D pharma made the SPAC-tacular move of reverse merging with blank check company Longevity Acquisition Corporation and has now recruited John Doyle as CFO. Doyle had a quick cup of coffee as Chiasma’s finance chief last year after three years at Verastem, where he was promoted to VP, finance and investor relations.

Erik Vahtola

Giving the Teva reject laquinimod another go for patients with non-infectious non-anterior uveitis, Sweden’s Active Biotech has named Big Pharma vet Erik Vahtola as CMO. Vahtola was based in Finland when he worked for Roche from 2013-16, and since 2019 he had been head of medical affairs, oncology at Bayer. Elsewhere at Active Biotech, CSO Helena Eriksson’s 23 years with the company have come to a close, but she’ll stay active, so to speak, in a consulting role.

Jula Inrig

Travere Therapeutics, the company formerly known as Retrophin which was operating under “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli, has tacked on Jula Inrig as CMO. Inrig joins the company from IQVIA, where she served as global head of the renal center of excellence, right as they try once again to push for the accelerated approval of sparsentan.

Kirsten Gruis

DiaMedica, focused on developing treatments for neurological disorders and kidney diseases, has named Kirsten Gruis as CMO. Gruis brings with her a wealth of experience from her former stints at Edgewise Therapeutics (CMO), Roche (neuromuscular franchise head), Agilis Biotherapeutics, Wave Life Sciences, Idera, Alnylam and Pfizer.

→ Salt Lake City-based Elevar Therapeutics changed CEOs in 2021 when Kate McKinley took over for Alex Kim. As we ring in 2022, Elevar has selected Bristol Myers vet Jenny Gizzi as chief people officer. Gizzi was the VP of human resources for Arena Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer’s M&A jewel to close out last year, after a year with Mirati as head of human resources and site operations. Among the drug candidates in Elevar’s pipeline is rivoceranib, developed by Hengrui and approved in China for gastric cancer and second-line advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.

→ Eye drop developer Oculis has turned its eyes on Webb Ding as its next COO and general manager, China. Ding makes his way to Oculis from Fresenius Kabi, where he served as country president for China. Prior to that, Ding was with Novartis in China for a decade and notably served as general manager of Novartis Vaccines Greater China and Tianyuan Bio-Pharma. Earlier in his career, Ding also served in roles at Bristol Myers Squibb and Xi’an Janssen.

Biosion has welcomed Anthony Yeh as chief strategy officer and head of China business development. Yeh hails from CStone Pharmaceuticals, where he served as VP, head of corporate strategy, investor relations and capital market.

Diana Chung

Terns Pharmaceuticals is giving it the old college try with NASH and brings two appointments to this week’s Peer Review: Jeffrey Jasper as SVP, head of research and Diana Chung as chief development officer. Most recently, Jasper was VP, drug discovery at Rubedo Life Sciences, and he also served as executive director, research science at Merck Research Laboratories. Chung has been at Terns since September 2019, where she started as VP, clinical development and operations before moving to SVP in November 2020.

Judith Robertson

→ Australian eye disease biotech Opthea has appointed Judith Robertson as chief commercial officer. Robertson is no stranger to Opthea, where she has served on the board of directors (chaired by Ovid chief Jeremy Levin) since June 2021. Robertson has held the position of CCO at both Eleusis and Aerie Pharmaceuticals, and at J&J‘s Janssen, she was global commercial VP, immunology and ophthalmology.

→ Cancer-focused Curis has locked in three new execs: Felix Geissler (VP of medical affairs) just held the same post at Horizon, which plunked down $25 million upfront in a deal with Alpine Immune Sciences last month; Kimberly Steinmann (VP of clinical development) is a Boehringer Ingelheim vet who had been a consultant for Takeda’s oncology development program and was executive medical director for orphan diseases with Grifols; and Dora Ferrari (VP of clinical operations), who had a 10-year career at ArQule, comes to Curis from Aileron Therapeutics, where she was VP, clinical development and program management. Curis’ IRAK4 kinase inhibitor CA-4948 is in a Phase I/II study for acute myeloid leukemia or high-risk myelodysplastic syndromes, both as a monotherapy and in combination with azacitidine or venetoclax.

→ Everything’s coming up Chemomab in Peer Review, whether it’s Dale Pfost hitting the scene as CEO and later becoming chairman or naming David Weiner as interim CMO. This time the Israeli fibrotic and inflammatory disease biotech has installed Jack Lawler as VP of global clinical development operations. Lawler hails from Goldfinch Bio, where he was VP, clinical operations and data management, and he was director of clinical development operations at ViroPharma before Shire’s $4.2 billion acquisition.

Rimma Steinhertz

→ Putting mutations of the MAPK and mTOR pathways under the proverbial microscope, Immuneering has picked up Eisai and Merck alum Rimma Steinhertz as VP, project and alliance management. Steinhertz had spent the last two years as executive director, global program leader, portfolio & program management, oncology at Glenmark sub Ichnos Sciences, and she was the group director, external collaborations, oncology during her time at Merck.

Repare Therapeutics has brought on Philip Herman as its EVP of commercial and new product development. Herman most recently served as CCO at Y-mAbs Therapeutics, where he oversaw the launch of the neuroblastoma drug Danyelza. Herman has also served as head of marketing at Dyax and director of marketing at Vanda Pharmaceuticals.

Matthew Vincent

Peter Kolchinsky orchestrated Point Biopharma’s Nasdaq debut through a SPAC deal in March 2021, and this week the radiopharmaceutical player has welcomed Matthew Vincent as SVP, business development. Vincent had held the same title at Avacta Life Sciences since 2017. A month ago, Point promoted Justyna Kelly to COO and bid farewell to chief commercial officer Michael Gottlieb, who left “to pursue other opportunities.”

→ Announced on Christmas Eve, Danielle Campbell has returned to aTyr Pharma, this time as VP of human resources after working in HR there for a brief period in 2015-16. Campbell just closed out her five years with Poseida as senior director, facilities operations after starting out in HR for Eric Ostertag’s crew. San Diego-based aTyr is seeking redemption with lead candidate ATYR1923 for patients with pulmonary sarcoidosis after stumbling with Project ORCA in 2018, triggering a 30% reduction in its staff.

→ Philly-based Context Therapeutics has named Christopher Beck as SVP of operations and Mark Fletcher as VP of R&D. Additionally, the company will be parting ways with its current head of CMC Bill Rencher as he plans for retirement. Beck joins the women’s oncology-focused company from Galera Therapeutics, where he served as VP of program management. Prior to that, Beck spent nearly a decade with Shire and had stints at Merck and AstraZeneca. Meanwhile, Fletcher comes aboard with experience from his time at Pharmaceutical Associates, Hikma Pharmaceutical US Operations, Douglas Pharmaceuticals, Endo Health Solutions and Ligand Pharmaceuticals.

Joanna Auch

→ South San Francisco heart disease biotech Tenaya Therapeutics, which hit Nasdaq last summer not long after a $106 million crossover round, has enlisted Joanna Auch — formerly the head of HR North America for Santen — as SVP of people and culture. Tenaya has also named Ultragenyx chief legal officer and EVP Karah Parschauer to the board of directors, which also includes Eli Casdin and June Lee. The ex-associate general counsel at Allergan is on the boards of Evolus and Anebulo Pharmaceuticals.

→ The pandemic crushed Esperion’s hopes of making its cholesterol therapy Nexletol into a blockbuster, prompting Tim Mayleben to throw the CEO keys to Sheldon Koenig and put someone with commercial bona fides into the top spot. After drastic cutbacks in October, Esperion has turned to Benjamin Looker to be general counsel. Looker comes from Trillium, where he was general counsel for a biotech that Pfizer purchased for more than $2 billion. At MorphoSys from 2017-19, Looker — an EMD Serono alum — was VP, head of US legal and global business operations.

Ronald Krasnow

T-knife needed just a year to pull together a $110 million Series B in August 2021 after its initial financing round, and the biotech focused on T cell receptor (TCR) engineered T cell therapies has enlisted Ronald Krasnow as general counsel. Krasnow had a 10-year run as Relypsa before moving on to Menlo Therapeutics as general counsel, secretary and chief compliance officer and his most recent stop as the COO of Arch Oncology.

Jared Cohen has moved into the role of general counsel at Boston-based Entrada Therapeutics, now targeting neuromuscular diseases like Duchenne with oligonucleotide therapies and nabbing $116 million in funding last March to do so. Since April 2020, Cohen had served as Entrada’s VP, head of IP and legal affairs. Prior to that, he served as VP of legal affairs at Repertoire Immune Medicines.

Rahul Khara

Rahul Khara has taken on the role of general counsel at Disc Medicine, which plucked bitopertin out of mothballs from Roche and recently raked in a $90 million Series B. Before Merck backed up the Brinks truck, Khara spent three years at Acceleron as VP, legal and chief compliance officer. In another Acceleron connection, its former R&D chief and one-time Celgene CMO Jay Backstrom has joined Disc Medicine’s board of directors.

Mira Chaurushiya

Westlake Village BioPartners is welcoming Mira Chaurushiya to the fray as a senior partner. Chaurushiya hops aboard after a six-year stint at 5AM Ventures. During her time to 5AM, Chaurushiya invested in and served as director or observer on the boards of multiple organizations, including Precision Nanosystems (acquired by Danaher), Ideaya Biosciences, Enliven Therapeutics, Escient Pharmaceuticals, Magnetic Insight, Novome Biotechnologies, Purigen Biosystems, and TMRW.

Legend‘s CEO Ying Huang is now taking a seat on its board of directors as a Class I director. Huang has served in the position of CEO since September 2020 after his predecessor Frank Zhang was placed under house arrest as part of a customs investigation involving GenScript. Prior to his role at the helm of the company, Huang started as Legend’s CFO after stints at BofA Securities, Wells Fargo, Credit Suisse and Schering-Plough.

Yuan Xu

→ Speaking of Legend, ex-CEO Yuan Xu is the latest addition to the board of directors at Xilio Therapeutics — chaired by Dan Lynch — after Sara Bonstein and the aforementioned Christina Rossi became board members last year. Xilio made the Nasdaq leap in October 2021 with a nearly $118 million IPO.

→ Led by first-year CEO and former Ovid president and CMO Amit Rakhit, Houston portfolio company Sporos Bioventures has given ex-Black Diamond CMO Rachel Humphrey a seat on the board of directors. Humphrey, who also is on the board at Xilio, is the CEO of an unnamed “biotech startup focused on immunotherapies.”

John Orloff

Lonnie Moulder’s US/China startup Zenas BioPharma has made John Orloff a member of the board of directors. Orloff, the former R&D chief at AstraZeneca sub Alexion, has changed course as a venture partner for Agent Capital.

→ Ex-Five Prime CFO David Smith has claimed another board seat, this time with Sonny Hsiao’s antibody-cell conjugation outfit Acepodia, which has another $109 million to work with from last month’s Series C round. Smith is also a board member with Codexis and Neurelis. Acepodia has also supplemented its scientific advisory board with Elizabeth Smith and Richard Lopez.

John Shiver

Taking its VLP “soccer ball” technology to Nasdaq with a nine-figure IPO last summer, Seattle’s Icosavax has made space available for John Shiver on its board of directors. After 22 years at Merck and seven more at Sanofi, Shiver is IGM’s chief strategy officer for infectious diseases.

Crinetics, which spun out its radiopharmaceutical pipeline into a new company called Radionetics Oncology last fall, has named Rogério Vivaldi to the board of directors. Since August 2018, Vivaldi has been president and CEO of Flagship’s Sigilon.

Laurence Reid, the CEO of Decibel Therapeutics, is taking a seat on the board of directors of Cambridge, MA-based Garuda Therapeutics. Prior to taking the helm of Decibel, Reid was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Third Rock Ventures and formerly CEO of Warp Drive Bio. Additionally, Reid served as CBO and SVP of Alnylam.

Tunde Otulana

→ Down in New Orleans, Revolo Biotherapeutics — once known as Immune Regulationhas appointed ex-Mallinckrodt CMO Tunde Otulana to the board of directors. Otulana, the current CMO at Veloxis Pharmaceuticals, was SVP, clinical development & medical affairs during his time at Boehringer Ingelheim.

Sebastian Guth has been appointed to the board of directors at New York oncology player Phosplatin Therapeutics. Guth currently serves as president of Bayer Pharmaceuticals Americas, and sits on the boards of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, BIO and Children’s Aid.

Jennifer Lew

RA Capital-backed Boundless Bio, a San Diego cancer biotech that raked in $105 million in a Series B last April, has appointed Jennifer Lew to its board of directors. Lew, who currently serves as EVP and CFO of Annexon Biosciences, will also act as chairperson of Boundless Bio’s audit committee.

→ At the same time as paying $1,452,724 in amounts owed to Numus Financial as part of a debt settlement, Sona Nanotech has brought on Neil Fraser and Walter Strapps to its board of directors. Fraser is president of Medtronic Canada, while Strapps most recently served as CSO of Gemini Therapeutics and previously led discovery at Intellia Therapeutics.

John Varian has been added to the board of directors at Acorda, which sang a familiar tune by slicing what’s left of its workforce by 15% in September. Varian, the ex-CEO of XOMA, is a board member at AmMax Bio and Sellas Life Sciences.

Aniz Girach

→ Paris-based Pharnext has welcomed Elisabeth Svanberg as chairman of its board of directors, succeeding Michel de Rosen who will continue to serve the company as non-executive director. Svanberg brings with her experience from her time at Serono, BMS and Janssen.

→ French hearing loss outfit Sensorion has tapped Aniz Girach on the shoulder as successor to Jean-François Morin on its board of directors. Girach currently serves as CMO of ProQR Therapeutics and formerly served in the same role at Nightstar Therapeutics and Oxurion.

→ Ideaya Biosciences, the company that picked up a $50 million IPO back in 2019 to fuel the clinical drive on synthetic lethality, has picked up former Onyx Pharmaceuticals founder and CSO Frank McCormick as chair for its scientific advisory board.

Derek Graf also contributed to this edition.

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Dr. Peter McCullough: Official COVID “Narrative Has Crumbled”

Dr. Peter McCullough: Official COVID "Narrative Has Crumbled"

Authored by Art Moore via WND.com,

Dr. Peter McCullough – a renowned cardiologist and highly published medical scientist whose confrontation of the government’s COVID-19 policies.

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Dr. Peter McCullough: Official COVID "Narrative Has Crumbled"

Authored by Art Moore via WND.com,

Dr. Peter McCullough – a renowned cardiologist and highly published medical scientist whose confrontation of the government's COVID-19 policies has drawn more than 40 million views on Joe Rogan's podcast – told WND in a video interview Thursday night the official pandemic narrative that has been fiercely guarded by establishment media and social-media censors is "completely crumbling."

That narrative, he said, included "false statements regarding asymptomatic spread, reliance on lockdown and masks – which obviously didn't work – the suppression of early treatment, the mass promotion of vaccines that failed."

"And now here we are, almost in complete free fall," McCullough said, referring to the record number of COVID-19 cases as officials acknowledge the vaccines don't prevent infection or transmission.

McCullough noted that in California, with the more contagious but much milder omicron variant now dominant, health care workers who tested positive for COVID-19 and had symptoms were told to go back to work.

"With that, I think that's it. I think that's the end. The narrative has crumbled. People don't want these vaccines," McCullough said.

"The vaccines should be pulled off the market. They clearly are not solving the problem."

The focus, he said, should be on "treating high-risk patients who develop symptoms" with some of the early treatments that he and other physicians around the world have found to be effective, including ivermectin and a new drug granted emergency use authorization by the FDA, Paxlovid.

McCullough cited a study from Denmark and data from the U.K.'s health agency showing that the vaccines have zero effectiveness against omicron.

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"That's not misinformation," he said. "I'm just quoting the data. All of this can be looked up. Fact-checkers can look at it. I know I'll never have any problems with allegations of misinformation, because I just quote the data."

President Biden clearly had McCullough in mind when on Thursday he urged social media companies and media outlets to "please deal with the misinformation and disinformation that's on your shows. It has to stop."

McCullough pointed out his work has been relied upon by courts across the nation, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and he has testified to the U.S. Senate and will be back there later this month.

"I think America knows who is giving them the straight story."

In the half-hour video interview with WND (embedded below), McCullough also discussed:

  • The punishment of physicians who counter the official COVID narrative and use clinically indicated, FDA-approved drugs off-label such as ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients, including a colleague in Maine whose was ordered to undergo a psychological examination after her license was suspended;

  • His participation in a rally in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23 protesting vaccine mandates;

  • The Supreme Court's rulings Thursday on vaccine mandates;

  • The possibility that omicron could spell the end of the pandemic, serving as a "universal booster";

  • Data showing that vaccination has backfired, making the pandemic worse in nations with high vaccine intake;

  • The lethality of the mRNA vaccines;

  • His view on Biden's mass testing program;

  • His take on new FDA-approved treatments and his simple, inexpensive, over-the-counter protocol for treating omicron;

  • The unwillingness of so many doctors to "come off the sidelines" and treat patients for COVID-19;

  • The "crisis of competence" among top government health officials;

  • Where to find resources and support for physicians and patients, and for employees confronting mandates.

"I think Americans are going to understand that their individual choice is really what's going to matter in the end," he McCullough told WND in conclusion. "If Americans decide that they're not going to take any boosters or any more vaccines, it doesn't matter how many mandates or how many court decisions that happen. The vaccine program is going to crumble. I think it's just a matter of saying no."

He emphasized that the vaccines are still "research."

"No one can be forced into it," he said of vaccination. "And they're not turning out to be safe or effective. So, if  everybody just stands firm and declines the vaccines, I think that will be the quickest way for us to get out of this."

See the WND interview with Dr. Peter McCullough:

McCullough, in a video interview with WND in December, called for a "pivot" from the current policies to early treatment and "compassionate care" for those who have COVID or have suffered vaccine injuries, which have included myocarditis, neurological issues and blood clotting.

"Now is the time for doctors to step up. Now is not a time for rhetoric or harsh statements regarding scientific discourse," he said.

Many of McCullough's 600 peer-reviewed publications have appeared in top-tier journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association and The Lancet. He testified to the U.S. Senate in November 2020 against what he described as the federal government's politicization of health care during the pandemic, curbing or blocking the availability of cheap, effective treatments. In a speech in September, he told of having been stripped of the editorship of a Swiss-based journal after having lost his position with a major health system, "with no explanation and no due process." Baylor University Medical Center fired him in February. And Texas A&M College of Medicine, Texas Christian University and University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine have cut ties with McCullough, accusing him of spreading misinformation.

"I've been stripped of every title that I've ever had in that institution. I've received a threat letter from the American College of Physicians, [and] a threat letter from the American Board," he said in September.

All because of his "lawful" participation "in a topic of public importance."

He said there are "powerful forces at work, far more powerful than we can possibly think of, that are influencing anybody who is in a position of authority."

McCullough is the chief medical adviser for the Truth for Health Foundation, a physician-founded charity that says it is "dedicated to following the Oath of Hippocrates to serve individual patients to the best of our ability and judgement and to uphold the highest standards of medical ethics."

*  *  *

Last year, America's doctors, nurses and paramedics were celebrated as frontline heroes battling a fearsome new pandemic. Today, under Joe Biden, tens of thousands of these same heroes are denounced as rebels, conspiracy theorists, extremists and potential terrorists. Along with massive numbers of police, firemen, Border Patrol agents, Navy SEALs, pilots, air-traffic controllers, and countless other truly essential Americans, they're all considered so dangerous as to merit termination, their professional and personal lives turned upside down due to their decision not to be injected with the experimental COVID vaccines. Biden’s tyrannical mandate threatens to cripple American society – from law enforcement to airlines to commercial supply chains to hospitals. It's already happening. But the good news is that huge numbers of "yesterday’s heroes" are now fighting back – bravely and boldly. The whole epic showdown is laid out as never before in the sensational October issue of WND's monthly Whistleblower magazine, titled "THE GREAT AMERICAN REBELLION: 'We will not comply!' COVID-19 power grab ignites bold new era of national defiance."

SUPPORT TRUTHFUL JOURNALISM. MAKE A DONATION TO THE NONPROFIT WND NEWS CENTER. THANK YOU!

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/17/2022 - 23:50

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Pfizer CEO Predicts Life On Earth “Will Return To Normal” In The Spring

Pfizer CEO Predicts Life On Earth "Will Return To Normal" In The Spring

Just a few days ago, Bill Gates shared some of his (revised) thoughts on the COVID pandemic and the trajectory that omicron has left us on. Several weeks after warning…

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Pfizer CEO Predicts Life On Earth "Will Return To Normal" In The Spring

Just a few days ago, Bill Gates shared some of his (revised) thoughts on the COVID pandemic and the trajectory that omicron has left us on. Several weeks after warning that omicron's heightened infectiousness might send the pandemic into overdrive, the Microsoft founder postulated instead that omicron might hasten the end of the pandemic by leaving the human population with more antibodies against the virus. As a result, SARS-CoV-2 might enter its endemic stage more quickly, Gates suggested.

This view, that the end of the pandemic might finally be at hand after two years of suffering, has become increasingly popular as of late. Take this piece from the BBC: "Endemic COVID: Is the pandemic entering its endgame?".

While the piece mostly focused on the UK, the sense is that the developed world more broadly is closer to the end because of its access to vaccines.

So, is a new Covid-era truly imminent and what will that actually mean for our lives?

"We're almost there, it is now the beginning of the end, at least in the UK," Prof Julian Hiscox, chairman in infection and global health at the University of Liverpool, tells me. "I think life in 2022 will be almost back to before the pandemic."

What's changing is our immunity. The new coronavirus first emerged two years ago in Wuhan, China, and we were vulnerable. It was a completely new virus that our immune systems had not experienced before and we had no drugs or vaccines to help.

It even came with his handy illustration depicting the difference between "pandemic" and "endemic" COVID:

Source: The BBC

Well, it appears the CEO of Pfizer has caught on to this narrative - and he approves. Speaking to the French media, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla that while he expects COVID to continue to circulate for many years to come, he expects future waves won't cause the types of restrictions that people have become used to over the last two years, and that life will return to "normal" in the spring.

Bourla told French news outlet Le Figaro in an interview published Jan. 16 that he expects a "return to normal life" at some point in spring of this year. However, he added the caveat that the mysterious dynamics of COVID's spread make accurate predictions more difficult.

"We will soon be able to resume a normal life," Albert Bourla told the French paper. "We are well positioned to get there in the spring thanks to all the tools at our disposal: tests, very effective vaccines and the first treatments that can be taken at home."

He also credited improvements in COVID testing, vaccines, and therapeutics for his optimistic outlook, telling BFM TV that he expects the current omicron-driven wave to be the "last with so many restrictions."

But given its affinity for its human hosts, COVID will likely be "very difficult to get rid of," which is why Bourla expects it to become endemic, with the occasional seasonal flareup, like the flu.

Finally, the Pfizer CEO shared details of local partnerships that he said would help France produce more of Pfizer's COVID fighting drug Paxlovid.

With his approval rating at an all-time low, President Biden better hope the likes of Bourla and Gates are right. Ending the COVID pandemic might be the only thing that could help Biden regain some support among the tired and frustrated American electorate.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/17/2022 - 17:00

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The case for vaccine mandates is collapsing

It’s more about a grab for power than about public health “The unvaxxed, I really feel like pissing them off,” said French President Emanuel Macron a few days ago. “And so we’re going to keep on doing that, to the very end. That’s the strategy.”…

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It’s more about a grab for power than about public health

“The unvaxxed, I really feel like pissing them off,” said French President Emanuel Macron a few days ago. “And so we’re going to keep on doing that, to the very end. That’s the strategy.”

In an interview in September, an outraged Justin Trudeau accused unvaccinated Canadians of being “extremists” who are “often misogynistic and racist.” “They are a small group that occupy a loud space and a decision needs to be made,” he added. “Do we tolerate these people?”

A few days ago, a clip from an interview that Bill Gates gave to CNN’s Anderson Cooper in August went viral. During the interview, Cooper asked Gates if he thought the federal government should revoke social security from the unvaxxed. His breezy matter-of-factness did not give the impression that he thought taking away the livelihood of senior citizens is the outrageously cruel proposal that it manifestly is.

A few months ago, the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper, ran a series of Twitter posts on its front page showcasing the dwindling patience of the vaccinated for the unvaccinated. “I have no empathy left for the wilfully unvaccinated. Let them die,” said one. “I honestly don’t care if they die from COVID. Not even a little bit,” read another. Another suggested that the unvaccinated be refused health care.

The Star’s public editor subsequently apologized for that catastrophically misguided feature, a blot on Canada’s reputation for kindness and tolerance. But that didn’t stop the paper from running an editorial a few days ago, urging the government to “turn the screws” on the unvaccinated, singling them out for blame for “for the restraints under which Canadians are currently required to live.”

Vaccine mandates are, of course, intended to protect public health and save lives. After all, what else would they be for? One writer, Geoff Schullenberger, has recently suggested another plausible alternative: They are – or, at least, are increasingly becoming – a vehicle for signalling belonging to a political tribe and punishing one’s ideological foes.

One doesn’t like to think that public health policy could be motivated by anything so juvenile as that. And yet, the troubling escalation of and excesses in rhetoric suggest that, in some cases, it may well be. This was always the risk with the mandates, of course. The problem with coercive measures, as Schullenberger notes, “is that they risk conflating intention and outcome.” In which case, support for the mandates comes to be driven not by empirical evidence that they are working but rather by a conviction that they are, in some abstract moral sense, “the right thing to do.”

True, there may be another, more sinister motivation at work, though one hesitates to mention it. Despite the claims of our technocrats that if everybody only did what they were told, Covid would be controlled and eliminated, the virus has so far refused to comply. Even previously successful zero-COVID jurisdictions like Australia, with all their ideal geographic advantages, are now facing the reality that, with the hyper-transmissible Omicron variant, community spread and endemicity are inevitable. In the face of this uncontrollable tsunami of infections, politicians will inevitably grope about for the nearest scapegoat. If only for this reason, we must be quick to reject any hint of rhetoric “othering” the unvaccinated.

Schullenberger is right to single out the “remarkable incuriosity” of our political and chattering classes about whether the mandates passed so far have actually accomplished what they were supposedly intended to. Are mandates having an appreciable impact in increasing vaccinations, and ultimately (the only metric that really matters) curbing the spread of disease and saving lives? Meanwhile, what are the costs: to social cohesion, to long-term trust in authorities? These questions scarcely ever get asked, let alone answered.

The only recent example I can think of – an analysis in the New York Times – found that U.S. states with mandates had no higher vaccination rate than states without. But if the case for the mandates was already shaky, in the age of Omicron it has fallen to pieces. The evidence is overwhelming that, despite initial optimism and data suggesting that the vaccines could lead to herd immunity, vaccine efficacy against symptomatic infection has collapsed. Even worse, the mandates are now leading to staffing shortages in hospitals and clinics, among police, firefighters and other first responders, counterintuitively producing a public health deficit.

If vaccines no longer meaningfully slow or prevent infection, and the mandates haven’t increased vaccinations, then what’s the public health rationale for barring the unvaccinated from restaurants and movie theatres, again? There isn’t one. All that’s left is tribal virtue-signalling and (alas) vindictiveness: i.e., a desire to separate the sheep from the goats, to punish those who did “the wrong thing,” and to privilege and comfort those who “followed the rules” and did “the right thing.”

As the prime minister of New Zealand put it a few months ago in a moment of troubling candour, vaccine mandates aren’t just about increasing vaccination rates. They’re also, she said, a tool to give “confidence” to the vaccinated. “People who are vaccinated want to know that they’re around other vaccinated people,” she said while cheerily agreeing that she is creating a “two-class” society. “That is something that I think we should offer to people who have been vaccinated, that confidence that we’re doing everything we can to keep them safe.”

Protecting the feelings of one group in society over another is not, of course, any way to conduct public health policy. Remarks like this do little to inspire confidence that cool-headed, empirically-driven public health considerations are in the driver’s seat or will prevail in the end. Too often, it seems as if the mandates are simply being retrofitted into the framework of our political tribalization: just one more tool to express our a priori loyalties and to “own” the other.

Hence, at the very moment that the case for the mandates is collapsing, the mandate zealots are doubling down, chasing a particularly perverse form of the sunk cost fallacy. “Turn the screw,” urges the Toronto Star. “[R]aise the cost” of this “demonstrably anti-social behaviour.” One wonders: How high? How high are we willing to raise the cost? How will we know when to stop or when we have gone too far? The Star, for its part, suggests that everything short of banning the unvaxxed from “all social services” is on the table. But then again, experience suggests that what is not on the table today may well be on the table tomorrow. After all, it was only a few short months ago that even Trudeau proclaimed vaccine mandates to be un-Canadian. How quickly times change.

At the beginning of the pandemic many of us hoped that the crisis might help people overcome these tribal divisions and unite against a common threat. Except for a few weeks in the beginning, that largely did not happen. But it is never too late.

The mandates are not doing what they were promised to do. Indeed, there are hints they are doing the opposite: provoking psychological reactance among the vaccine-skeptical, further entrenching them in their suspicion that the vaccines are less about public health than they are about power. While they may be wrong about that, the one way I can think of to prove them right is to bring down the full weight of the coercive power of the state on their heads.

Although I am happily vaccinated and believe that most people should be vaccinated, I know many who are vaccine-hesitant. None of them have gotten vaccinated in response to Ontario’s vaccine passport, which bars them from public venues and restaurants. Some, however, who were previously considering getting vaccinated have said that they will certainly not get vaccinated now that it has come down to a choice of whether or not to cooperate with an unjust mandate. Turning up the heat may eventually convince a per cent or two more to cave, but for the remainder this has now become an existential struggle against what they perceive as an increasingly totalitarian effort. Just how far are we willing to go to break the resolve of that last few per cent?

The growing impression that some pro-mandate politicians are increasingly motivated by personal animus towards the unvaccinated, and that some governments intend to double down on coercion regardless of whether or not doing so provably advances public health, is not helping. Without a course correction, there is a very real risk that the deep divisions and distrust fomented by misguided mandates will remain with us for years, if not decades, imperilling our ability to respond effectively to future public health crises.

Even if those of us who are vaccinated disagree with the misinformation being spread or the choices being made by the unvaccinated, it is time for us to unite in opposition to coercive policies that are further dividing us, sowing fear, distrust, and anger, and which have utterly failed to achieve the public health outcomes that they were ostensibly designed to achieve.

By John Jalsevac
Contributor
Cardus

John Jalsevac is currently working on his PhD in medieval philosophy at the University of Toronto, where he is a Faculty of Arts and Science Top (FAST) fellow.

Courtesy of Troy Media.

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