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Pharma People on the Move: Fall 2022 Roundup

A review of the latest executive moves in the pharma industry over the past several months.



Pharma people on the move: Fall 2022 roundup

A review of the latest executive moves in the pharma industry over the past several months.

By Christiane Truelove •

Biogen taps ex-Sanofi head as CEO

Biogen Inc.’s board of directors has appointed Christopher A. Viehbacher as president and CEO and a member of the board of directors. Viehbacher succeeds Michel Vounatsos, who has led the company since 2017.

“It has been a privilege to lead this great company and work with so many outstanding people for nearly six years,” Vounatsos said. “With 30 clinical programs, 12 of which are in Phase III or filed, Biogen is at an important inflection point in CNS drug discovery and development. I am confident that Chris will be an excellent new leader of Biogen. With several potential breakthroughs in areas of high unmet needs on the horizon, I believe the best is yet to come for Biogen and its patients.”

The board points to Viehbacher’s extensive international experience in both large pharmaceutical companies and entrepreneurial biotech companies. After 20 years with GlaxoSmithKline, he served as global CEO of Sanofi for six years, during which time the company overcame the loss of exclusivity of most of its portfolio and pivoted to new sources of growth such as Dupixent, which resulted from the partnership with Regeneron, and in rare and specialty medicines following the acquisition of Genzyme. Under Viehbacher’s leadership, Sanofi strengthened and diversified its R&D pipeline and delivered significant value to shareholders.

“It is both an honor and an exciting opportunity to join the Biogen team,” Viehbacher said, “I greatly admire Biogen for its determination and resilience in pioneering important new medicines to address some of the most difficult and challenging conditions in health care. I am inspired by Biogen’s mission and untapped potential and look forward to working with the dedicated Biogen team to build an even stronger company for the benefit of patients, stakeholders and investors.”

More recently, Viehbacher and Ernesto Bertarelli co-founded Gurnet Point Capital, a
Cambridge-based healthcare investment fund, which has led to the creation and continuing development of many innovative companies. He has also chaired or been a member of the board of a number of entrepreneurial companies in biotechnology.   

Executives say Viehbacher has always been a strong advocate for innovation and public health. He has received a number of awards including the Légion d’Honneur from France.

“Chris is the rare pharma executive who has a keen understanding of the complexities involved in running a multibillion-dollar global pharma business as well as a deep appreciation for the value of innovation,” said Biogen Chairman Stelios Papadopoulos. “It was the combination of these attributes that enabled him to turn around Sanofi and leave behind a much better company compared to the one he inherited. I look forward to Chris leading Biogen to the next chapter of its evolution and, on behalf of the board, I pledge our support to his effort.

“I want to thank Michel for his significant contributions to Biogen and for his passionate commitment to our mission. He will be leaving Biogen with strong foundations for growth. We appreciate that Michel will remain employed by the company for a limited period of time to help ensure a smooth transition.”

New chief medical officer for Bayer subsidiary

Jenna Goldberg, M.D., has joined Vividion Therapeutics Inc. as chief medical officer. Executives say Dr. Goldberg brings industry leadership experience to Vividion, having held multiple senior medical roles during her career at Janssen Research and Development, a division of Johnson & Johnson.

Vividion, which uses novel discovery technologies to unlock high value, traditionally undruggable targets with precision therapeutics for cancers and autoimmune disorders, is a wholly owned and independently operated subsidiary of Bayer AG.

“Jenna has a broad and successful track record in drug development, having advanced several novel therapies through approval with focus and precision, thereby enabling patients in need to benefit from cancer breakthroughs,” said CEO Jeffrey Hatfield. “Jenna brings proven leadership skills, clinical development expertise and tremendous energy to our growing team. Her addition comes at an exciting inflection point for our growth, as we clearly see the potential to advance multiple programs into the clinic starting next year.”

Goldberg served most recently as VP, early clinical development, at Janssen, supervising the clinical programs for multiple myeloma, cellular therapy, prostate cancer, and clinical pharmacology. Additionally, she served as the co-chair of the Janssen Oncology Protocol Review Committee since January 2021. 

“I am very excited to join Vividion to continue to advance innovation in an entrepreneurial environment focused on patient benefits and outcomes,” Dr. Goldberg said. “I am impressed by the pipeline’s breadth of novel, first-in-class programs in oncology and immunology. These programs are nearly all targeting proteins the industry has previously viewed as undruggable, and indicate the potential to deliver enormous value to patients if successful. I am also intrigued by the arm’s-length business model established with Bayer that allows us to operate largely autonomously and independently but with the technical expertise and financial stability of a major pharmaceutical company.”

While at Janssen, Dr. Goldberg supervised protocol developments, successful IND submissions of numerous compounds, and all early development clinical efforts for teclistamab, talquetamab, and ciltacabtagene autoleucel. These products were either granted breakthrough therapy designation or are currently approved medicines. Goldberg also held other early as well as late development medical roles at Janssen over the past eight years. 

Prior to joining Janssen, she served as assistant attending physician at Memorial Hospital/Assistant Member of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Goldberg holds an M.D. from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and has an undergraduate degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with a Bachelor of Science in biology. Goldberg did her postdoctoral training as a fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering, Cancer Center in hematology and oncology as well as a fellow in medicine, at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

Seagen taps ex-Novartis exec as CEO

Seagen David Epstein

David Epstein

Seagen Inc. has appointed David R. Epstein as CEO and a member of the board of directors. 

Epstein brings more than 30 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, including more than 25 years at Novartis where he built its oncology business unit from initiation to second largest in the world and then served as CEO of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, a division of Novartis AG. More recently, he was executive partner at Flagship Pioneering. 

“I have long admired Seagen as a leader in the development and commercialization of transformative cancer therapies. Seagen is a pioneer in antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology with a portfolio of four approved medicines, a diverse pipeline of promising programs, and a science-driven, patient-first culture,” Epstein said. “I am honored to become CEO and work with the experienced team to further deliver on Seagen’s mission to make a meaningful difference so that people who have been diagnosed with cancer can live better lives.”

In addition, Seagen announced that Roger Dansey, M.D., who has served as Seagen’s chief medical officer since 2018 and as interim CEO since May 2022, has been appointed president, research and development. In this new role, Dansey will continue to serve as chief medical officer reporting to Epstein.

“I welcome David to the Seagen team and look forward to working closely with him as we continue to bring forward novel ADCs and other targeted treatments for cancer patients,” Dansey said. “I am excited to bring my passion for science and innovation to my expanded role overseeing research and development as we continue to deliver on the full potential of our pipeline and programs.”

Over the course of his career, Epstein led the development and commercialization of more than 30 new molecular entities, including major breakthroughs such as Glivec, Tasigna, Gilenya, Cosentyx, and Entresto. Epstein holds a B.S. in pharmacy from Rutgers University College of Pharmacy and an M.B.A. in finance and marketing from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business.

“Following a comprehensive search process, the board selected David to serve as Seagen’s next CEO,” said Felix J. Baker, Ph.D., chair of the board. “He shares Seagen’s belief that our future is bright as we continue to build world-class capabilities in order to develop and commercialize new innovative treatments that improve the lives of patients with cancer. David’s demonstrated ability to build and scale a global oncology business, his experience in both large multi-faceted organizations and small biotechnology startups, combined with deep oncology knowledge, provide the strategic and operational expertise needed to lead Seagen to the next level. 

“We are extremely grateful for Roger’s successful leadership and dedication as interim CEO. We look forward to Roger being able to focus his efforts on further strengthening our early research efforts, as he has successfully done for development, and driving the innovative engine that has been the heart of Seagen to have an even greater impact on cancer patients in the future.”

Dansey joined Seagen as chief medical officer in 2018, bringing extensive experience in cancer drug development. Previously, he was therapeutic area head for late-stage oncology at Merck & Co., where he was responsible for registration efforts for Keytruda (pembrolizumab) across multiple tumor types. Earlier in his career, Dansey was the VP of oncology clinical research at Gilead Sciences and the global development lead for Xgeva (denosumab) at Amgen, where he held multiple roles in oncology and hematology.

GSK CFO to retire, successor chosen

GSKIain Mackay, chief financial officer, is retiring from GSK, and will step down as CFO and as an executive director of the board in May 2023. The board has selected Julie Brown, currently chief operating and financial officer, Burberry Group plc, as Mackay’s successor to Iain. “Julie is a highly respected CFO with extensive experience in the biopharma and medtech sectors, having previously worked at AstraZeneca and Smith & Nephew, and as a non-executive director and audit chair of Roche Holding AG,” the board stated.

Brown will join GSK in April 2023 and will work with Mackay to transition responsibilities, taking responsibility as CFO and as an executive director of GSK on May 1, 2023.

“I want to thank Iain for all he’s done for GSK, and for his leadership and support to our people,” says Emma Walmsley, CEO. “He has played a very significant role to help deliver the reshaping of GSK and to improve our operating and financial performance. I am absolutely delighted that Julie will be joining the leadership team as his successor. Julie is a highly experienced CFO with a tremendous understanding of the biopharma sector. We also share a strong passion for people development, diversity, inclusion, and sustainability. I am looking forward to working together to deliver progress for patients, shareholders and our people.”

According to the board, Brown’s appointment was made on the recommendation of the Nominations & Corporate Governance Committee following an extensive search and selection process using external search firms, each of which was a signatory of the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms. A diverse list of candidates was compiled who were evaluated against an agreed set of criteria, to identify the most suitable candidate.

“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Iain for his significant contribution at GSK,” said Jonathan Symonds, chair. “He has been a highly valued member of the board and has provided strong support to Emma and the management team. We are delighted that Julie will join the board as Iain’s successor. She is a CFO of exceptional caliber and experience, and I look forward to the contribution she will make.”

Brown joined Burberry from Smith & Nephew where she was the group CFO from 2013–2017. Before this, she was interim group CFO of AstraZeneca, having worked at the company for 25 years in finance, commercial, and strategic roles.

Brown has also served as a non-executive director and audit chair of Roche Holding AG. She is also co-chair of the Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project’s CFO Leadership Network, a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Council, the Business Advisory Board to the Mayor of London, and patron of Oxford University Women in Business. Brown is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountancy and the Institute of Tax and qualified with KPMG International Limited.

Neurocrine Biosciences appoints new chief regulatory officer

Ingrid Delaet,Ph.D. has joined Neurocrine Biosciences Inc.’s executive management team as chief regulatory officer, leading the regulatory affairs, quality assurance, medical writing, and program management teams. Delaet served as VP of regulatory affairs at Neurocrine since January 2021.

“Ingrid’s deep experience in regulatory affairs will be invaluable to Neurocrine as we work to advance our pipeline in our quest to relieve suffering for people with great needs, but few options,” said Kevin Gorman, Ph.D., CEO. “We are thrilled Ingrid is joining the management team to help lead our efforts to discover and develop life-changing treatments for patients with under-addressed neurological, neuroendocrine, and neuropsychiatric disorders.”

Before joining Neurocrine Biosciences in 2016, Delaet served as senior VP, regulatory affairs at Intercept Pharmaceuticals. Between 1997 and 2016, she held various positions of increasing responsibility at Bristol Myers Squibb in the United States, first in clinical research and development and then in global regulatory affairs, where she served as therapeutic area lead for immunology. Delaet started her career in the pharmaceutical industry in Belgium, where she held positions in clinical research at CellPro and Wyeth-Ayerst Research. She received her Ph.D. in immunology and her M.Sc. in pharmaceutical sciences from The Free University of Brussels, Belgium.

OSE Immunotherapeutics has new CEO 

Nicolas Poirier, Ph.D. has become CEO of French biotech OSE Immunotherapeutics SA. This appointment follows the decision of the board of directors to terminate the mandate of Alexis Vandier.

“I am very honored to be appointed CEO and would like to thank the board of directors for placing their trust in me at a key stage of the company’s development,” Poirier said. “I am proud of the work accomplished by our teams, all of whom are focused on advancing our late-stage clinical development programs and high-potential research platforms. I am deeply convinced that OSE Immunotherapeutics’ assets will be able to transform the care of patients suffering from cancer and chronic inflammatory diseases.”

According to executives, throughout his career, Poirier has demonstrated both his expertise as an international scientific leader, pioneering the discovery and development of innovative immunotherapies, and in-depth knowledge of the biotech sector through various strategic leadership roles. He has been instrumental in the development of OSE Immunotherapeutics, notably as the initiator of five programs in the company’s portfolio that are now in clinical stage. He also played a major role in the signature of four strategic pharmaceutical partnerships for OSE Immunotherapeutics.

“Since the creation of OSE Immunotherapeutics in 2016, Nicolas’ world-class scientific expertise, along with his well-recognized human and leadership skills have been vital in the development of the company, guiding the advancement from the identification of new therapeutic targets into the development of new drugs for severe diseases with a strong medical need,” said Dominique Costantini, president. “He has been essential in building our diversified portfolio of first-in-class products. He has been able to convince leading scientific experts and our pharmaceutical partners of the value of our innovations. Nicolas’ leadership will allow OSE Immunotherapeutics to accelerate the implementation of our strategic priorities and to achieve new growth milestones.”

Poirier holds a Ph.D. in immunology from the European Center for Transplantation and Immunotherapy Sciences, Nantes, a double master’s degree in biotechnology from the University of Nantes and in pharmacology from the University of Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, and a certification in global management from INSEAD. Poirier has been chief scientific director and member of the management team of OSE Immunotherapeutics since 2016. He started his career at Tcl Pharma in 2009 as a researcher, became project manager at Effimune in 2012, then director of R&D programs in 2014. 

In addition, Poirier in an active member of the Strategic and Scientific Advisory Committee of the French biomedical industry association MabDesign. Over the past 15 years, he has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed international scientific publications and holds more than 40 issued patents in the field of immunotherapy. 

Cerevance appoints chief medical officer

CNS company Cerevance has named Ottavio V. Vitolo, M.D. as chief medical officer. Vitolo brings more than 20 years of experience in neuroscience research and drug development. He joins Cerevance to lead the global clinical development and regulatory operations.

“We are thrilled to welcome Ottavio whose expertise will help advance our broad portfolio of innovative treatments for neurodegenerative diseases,” said CEO Craig Thompson. “His diverse and extensive experience in translational and clinical research will be an invaluable asset as we strategically advance our pipeline into and through the clinic.”

Vitolo most recently served as chief medical officer and global head of R&D at Alcyone Therapeutics. Prior to this position, Vitolo served as senior VP, head of R&D and chief medical officer at Relmada Therapeutics Inc. While at Relmada, he critically contributed to the company’s growth and strategy, including leading the successful initiation and completion of dextromethadone clinical studies. Earlier in his career, Vitolo was VP of clinical development at Homology Medicines and held positions of increasing responsibilities at Pfizer, including senior director and head of neuromuscular clinical research, research project lead, global clinical lead and medical director in the neuroscience research unit.

Vitolo is a trained and practicing neuropsychiatrist. After receiving his medical degree from the University of Rome La Sapienza, he completed his psychiatry residency at Washington University in St. Louis and completed a fellowship in behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. Vitolo also has a Master of Medical Sciences degree from Harvard Medical School.

“I am delighted to join Cerevance at such a pivotal time in the company’s history,” Vitolo said. “The potential of the NETSseq target discovery platform combined with the broad pipeline creates a tremendous opportunity to bring several novel and potentially transformative therapies to patients.”

New VP of regulatory affairs for CARsgen

CARsgen Therapeutics Holdings Limited, a company focused on innovative CAR T-cell therapies for the treatment of hematologic malignancies and solid tumors, has named Sylvie Peltier, PharmD, as senior VP of global regulatory affairs. She is responsible for developing global regulatory strategies, leading and driving the company’s regulatory affairs activities, initiatives in support of IND/CTA/BLA filing, and approval of developmental products globally.

Executives say Peltier has extensive global leadership and hands-on experiences in clinical and CMC regulatory affairs across several multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies. Before joining CARsgen, Peltier served as VP, head of U.S. regulatory affairs at MorphoSys US Inc. from 2020, and as head of regulatory affairs at Servier Pharmaceuticals LLC from 2018. 

Before joining Servier, Peltier was at Cephalon, holding various positions from senior director, Europe regulatory affairs, CNS/Pain and CMC, senior director, U.S. regulatory affairs, to senior director, clinical search evaluation and due diligence. Before Cephalon, Peltier worked at Pfizer regulatory affairs.

“CARsgen is a leader in CAR T-cell therapies globally, with competitive product pipelines and technology platforms,” Peltier says. “I am very happy to join CARsgen in this exciting time when the company is developing several differentiated CAR T-cell products, including zevor-cel, a competitive anti-BCMA CAR-T and CT041, the first-in-class anti-CLDN18.2 CAR-T. I look forward to working together with the colleagues in CARsgen to bring the innovative products to market soon and ultimately help achieve the vision of ‘Making Cancer Curable.’”

Peltier earned a Diploma of Pharmacy Doctorate and a Diploma of Graduated Specialized Studies (DESS) in health law from University of Paris XI in Paris, France.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Peltier join CARsgen,” said Raffaele Baffa, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer of CARsgen. “Dr. Peltier is a strong addition to our senior leadership team. Her extensive experience and knowledge in clinical and CMC regulatory will be critical assets for CARsgen as we continue to advance the pipeline products globally. Together with Dr. Peltier and the team, we will spare no efforts in developing our innovative cell therapy products to benefit cancer patients worldwide.”

After retirement, a new chief research officer for MorphoSys

Malte Peters, M.D., MorphoSys AG’s chief research and development officer and management board member, is retiring at the end of 2022. His successor is Tim Demuth, M.D., Ph.D., who was chief medical officer of Pieris Pharmaceuticals Inc. Demuth started his new role on October 1. He reports to MorphoSys’ CEO, Jean-Paul Kress, M.D., and is a member of the company’s executive committee. Malte has stepped down from his operational responsibilities.

“On behalf of the entire supervisory board, I want to thank Malte for the remarkable contributions he has made to science, modern medicine and human health over the course of his distinguished career,” said Marc Cluzel, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the supervisory board of MorphoSys. “We are grateful for the strong pipeline and team Malte has built at MorphoSys. We wish him all the best as he begins this new chapter, and we look forward to working with Tim.” 

Peters joined MorphoSys in 2017, and executives say he was instrumental in building an accomplished clinical development organization that successfully developed and obtained accelerated approval of Monjuvi (tafasitamab-cxix) in the United States. and European Union, as well as other countries worldwide. 

Most recently, Peters spearheaded the successful integration of Constellation Pharmaceutical’s research and development organization and the optimization of the pivotal, Phase III MANIFEST-2 study of pelabresib in first-line myelofibrosis.

“I am very thankful for everything Malte has done during his tenure at MorphoSys,” said Jean-Paul Kress, M.D., CEO. “Malte pushed us to think differently in how we discover and develop new medicines, driven by an unshakeable determination to put these breakthroughs into the hands of patients as quickly as possible. We are very excited that Tim is joining MorphoSys as our new chief research and development officer. His well-rounded clinical development experience and scientific expertise in oncology make him an asset to MorphoSys and the ideal leader to drive our potential best-in-class pipeline forward.”

“It has been a privilege and an honor to lead MorphoSys’ research and development organization,” Peters said. “The strategic and innovative decisions we have taken to focus the company over the last five years have strengthened our pipeline and put us on a strong path towards the future. I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life. But I will miss working with my courageous, dedicated and inspiring MorphoSys colleagues who come to work every day to make a difference in patients’ lives. Tim will be a great leader for the research and development organization, and I wish him and the team continued success.”

Executives say Demuth is a seasoned biopharma executive with broad leadership experience in drug development, with a focus in oncology. Prior to being named the chief medical officer of Pieris, he was VP and head of global clinical development oncology at Merck KGaA, where he was responsible for the early and late-stage oncology pipeline of small molecules, antibodies, and antibody-drug conjugates, as well as for the end-to-end development strategy for oncology. 

Previously, he led the clinical development unit of hematology biopharma development at Sandoz AG, a division of Novartis AG. Demuth held various other leadership roles at Novartis AG, Italfarmaco S.p.A., and Merck & Co. 

He received M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany and was trained in Mainz and at Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany. He has also served as a post-doctoral fellow at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix, Ariz.

“I am thrilled to join MorphoSys at this pivotal and exciting time,” Demuth said. “Clinical data to date highlight the enormous potential of the company’s pipeline. I look forward to overseeing the efforts to advance MorphoSys’ pivotal Phase III trials, which are investigating pelabresib in first-line myelofibrosis and tafasitamab in first-line diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. These two medicines, if approved, may have the potential to transform the standard of care in aggressive and difficult-to-treat blood cancers, and I am excited to be part of that journey to make these medicines available to patients.”

Three expand Aristea leadership

San Diego-based Aristea Therapeutics has appointed three experienced drug development experts to key positions. Himanshu Patel, D.O., is executive medical director; Jennifer Barnes, Ph.D., is senior director, clinical science; and Walter Frank Eng, Pharm.D., is associate director, clinical science. 

“The addition of Himanshu, Jennifer, and Walter Frank to our team will be instrumental in our efforts to advance our ongoing trials of RIST4721 in both our dermatology and rheumatology franchises,” said said James M. Mackay, Ph.D., president and CEO. “They will be significantly involved in the completion of our ongoing clinical trials in palmoplantar pustulosis, hidradenitis suppurativa, familial Mediterranean fever and Behcet’s disease, and the expansion of our pipeline with additional immunology/inflammation assets. We couldn’t be more excited to bring them on board.”

Patel is a board-certified rheumatologist who worked for more than six years at Eli Lilly, in the areas of clinical development, patient safety and pharmacovigilance, and medical affairs. While in clinical development, he provided cross-functional support for many early phase molecules across dermatology, rheumatology, and gastroenterology. Patel has also supported NDAs across indications to a number of regulatory agencies including the FDA, EMA, and PMDA. He has also supported the launch of newly approved therapeutics in rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. Prior to joining Lilly, he spent 14 years in clinical practice as a managing partner for a large private practice rheumatology clinic with involvement in clinical research, and patient care, and served as part of the teaching faculty for a university hospital. Patel completed his rheumatology fellowship at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover, N.H., and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin.  

“I’m very excited to be a part of the Aristea team and help bring new therapeutics to the many patients with serious unmet medical needs,” Patel said. 

Barnes’ scientific expertise will help Aristea ensure the successful generation and interpretation of clinical data from ongoing trials. Barnes has global translational drug development experience in rare diseases having cardiovascular, pulmonary, and immune components. Prior to joining Aristea, she was instrumental in leading Phase I to Phase III clinical trials and securing global regulatory approval of an RNAi therapeutic for hereditary ATTR amyloidosis at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. Before Alnylam, Barnes was clinical sciences lead for a program investigating a novel therapeutic to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) at Acceleron Pharma. She holds a Ph.D. in translational medicine (CXCR3 signaling in IL-13 mediated lung injury) from University College Dublin.

“I am delighted to join the world-class team of experts at Aristea to address the significant unmet medical needs of people living with autoimmune inflammatory diseases,” Barnes said. “This team’s passionate pursuit of scientific and clinical excellence is paving the way for the development of innovative therapeutic options.”

Eng brings extensive experience in clinical development, market access, medical information, and medical affairs to Aristea. He also worked on developing innovative value-based partnerships to advance new contracting/reimbursement, distribution, and healthcare delivery models. After rotating through a two-year multidisciplinary fellowship program at Novo Nordisk, he joined Ascendis Pharma where he worked as a senior clinical scientist. Eng serves on the board of directors for the Stevenson House, a non-profit affordable housing community for seniors. He holds a Pharm.D., M.B.A., and B.A. from Creighton University. 

“I am extremely excited to join an amazing team at Aristea on its mission to develop novel therapies for patients affected by autoimmune and inflammatory diseases,” Eng said.

Ethypharm Group picks new CEO

The supervisory board has appointed Denis Delval as CEO of the Ethypharm Group. 

Delval has held positions of increasing importance in marketing, sales, strategy, and general management, notably at ALK, the leading Danish company in allergy desensitization treatments, where he was responsible for the French subsidiary and then senior VP Europe. In 2017, he was appointed president of LFB, a biopharmaceutical group that develops, manufactures, and markets medicinal products derived from living matter.

“I am proud to join Ethypharm, a European company with French roots, specializing in central nervous system diseases and hospital injectables,” Delval said. “I look forward to mobilizing energies and continuing the development of the group.”

New CFO for Agios

Agios Pharmaceuticals Inc. has made Cecilia Jones its new chief financial officer. Jones replaced Jonathan Biller, who was chief financial officer and head of corporate affairs, and resigned in September to become chief legal officer of Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

“With more than two decades of experience in financial leadership roles with leading biopharmaceutical companies, including most recently as chief financial officer of a rare disease company, we are thrilled to welcome Cecilia as a strategic member of our leadership team at such a pivotal moment for Agios as we continue to execute on the commercial launch of Pyrukynd, advance five pivotal trials, and expand our rare and genetically defined disease capabilities,” said Brian Goff, CEO of Agios. “Cecilia has deep expertise in rare diseases and across a range of finance functions, including global commercial operations, business development and long-range planning and budget management, making her the ideal fit for the role. In addition, she shares our dedication to raising the bar in all that we do on behalf of the patients we serve. I also offer my sincere gratitude to Jonathan for his contributions to Agios over the last three years, which have allowed us to focus on rapidly advancing our rare and genetically defined disease portfolio for patients in need and ensuring financial sustainability well into the future.”

Jones has more than 20 years of financial experience within the biopharmaceutical industry, including several companies focused on rare diseases. She joined Agios from LogicBio Therapeutics, where she served as chief financial officer and was responsible for driving the company’s financial strategy, including evaluation of financing alternatives and analysis of business development opportunities, and managing corporate financial planning, accounting, corporate communications, and investor relations. 

Prior to her role at LogicBio, Jones spent more than 10 years at Biogen in roles of increasing responsibility within the finance organization. Most recently, she was VP of R&D, worldwide medical and business development finance, advising senior management on investment prioritization to support the company’s strategic goals. Before that, she served as senior director of corporate finance, where she led global long-range planning and financial assessment of business development and M&A opportunities, and director of finance for emerging markets, global commercial strategy, and global market access. 

Before joining Biogen, Jones was director of international finance at Genzyme, where she held various roles of increasing responsibility within international finance. She earned a Licenciatura en Economia from Universidad de San Andres in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

“Agios is uniquely positioned to make a positive impact for people with rare and genetically defined diseases, with its promising portfolio of commercial, clinical and preclinical assets as well as its dedicated team and inspiring culture,” Jones said. “Importantly, Agios is in a strong financial position with a balance sheet that is differentiated within the industry, enabling the company to maximize its impact and reach its goals. I look forward to stewarding the company’s resources and driving its financial strategy to support Agios’ important mission.”

New COO for Almac Group, and new Almac Pharma Services managing director

Global contract pharmaceutical and development and manufacturing organization Almac Group appointed Graeme McBurney to the board of directors in the role of chief operating officer. 

McBurney has more than 30 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry.  He joined the Almac Group in 1990 and has held a number of operational and management positions, most recently as managing director and president of Almac Pharma Services since 2003.

As chief operating officer, Graeme is responsible for implementing operations aligned with long-term business goals and the group’s strategies.  He will oversee operations of the group and work with Almac executives to secure the functionality of the business to drive continued growth.

With McBurney’s promotion, John McQuaid became managing director and president of Almac Pharma Services, which provides a range of pharmaceutical development, manufacture and commercial services. McQuaid is now responsible for overall strategic, operational and financial leadership of the Almac Pharma Services business.

McQuaid has been with Almac since 1994 and has held a number of management roles including project management, production, and quality. He was appointed VP of technical operations in 2011 where he was responsible for overseeing the strategic growth and development of the pharmaceutical development service offering within Almac Pharma Services.

“We are delighted to welcome Graeme to the board at this exciting time as we progress our global growth strategy,” said CEO Alan Armstrong. “His wealth of experience and expertise will be instrumental in supporting our vision and congratulations to John on his new role as he leads Almac Pharma Services.”

“I am honored to join the Almac Group board of directors and look forward to the next phase of Almac’s evolution as we remain focused on our client relationships and the continued strategic growth of the Group,” McBurney said. “I also congratulate John on his promotion to MD of Almac Pharma Services. Having worked alongside John for many years, I am confident his technical knowledge and expertise coupled with strategic management experience is the perfect blend to lead and evolve the business.”

A new chief commercial officer joins Sebela 

Sebela Pharmaceuticals appointed Victor Parker to the position of chief commercial officer. Parker has more than 25 years of pharmaceutical experience, having served in commercial leadership roles at Prometheus Laboratories, Exact Sciences, and AbbVie/Abbott. He is responsible for Sebela’s overall commercial strategy and execution and will serve on Sebela’s executive committee.

“With three new product approvals expected in the next three years, we are very well positioned to grow our revenue and commercial business,” said  Alan Cooke, president and CEO. “Vic not only brings 25 years of pharmaceutical commercial experience but also has direct experience in our core therapeutic areas of gastroenterology and women’s health. Throughout his career, he has built a strong history in successfully launching new products and will play a vital role in growing Sebela’s business and commercializing our late-stage pipeline. We are delighted to welcome Vic to the Sebela team.”

Executives note that Parker is a highly accomplished commercial leader. As VP, sales at Prometheus Laboratories, he led the company’s go-to-market strategies to unlock new growth opportunities. Before joining Prometheus Laboratories, Parker served as VP, health systems marketing, sales, and specialty sales at Exact Sciences. There he led multiple teams in the commercial organization for Cologuard, which became the first billion-dollar product in diagnostics. Parker held a variety of leadership positions in his 20-plus years at AbbVie/Abbott including senior national sales director, immunology, where he helped grow Humira to be a market leader and multi-billion-dollar product in both gastroenterology and rheumatology. 

Parker received a B.S. from Clemson University, and an MBA from Emory University. 

“I am thrilled to join Sebela at this exciting time.  The company’s valuable and late-stage pipeline presents a real opportunity to build Sebela into the leading gastroenterology company in the U.S.,” Parker said. “I look forward to working with the Sebela team to improve patients’ lives with innovative gastroenterology and women’s health products.”

Vico Therapeutics gets a new CMO

Netherlands-based neurology company Vico Therapeutics B.V. has appointed Scott Schobel, M.D. as chief medical officer. 

Schobel brings significant drug development experience to Vico, including 10 years in various roles at Roche where he led the development of small molecules, monoclonal antibodies, and antisense oligonucleotides. While at Roche, he served as the clinical science leader of the tominersen program for Huntington’s disease (HD). In his new role at Vico, Schobel will lead clinical development efforts including advancement of VO659 for the potential treatment of Huntington’s disease and spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs)into the clinic and expansion of the company’s VICOMER oligonucleotide-based RNA modulation platform.

“I am pleased to announce Scott’s addition to the Vico team,” said Luc Dochez, chairman of Vico. “He is a great complement to our CEO, Micah Mackison, who joined in August 2022 and Dr. Nicole Datson, our chief development officer. By expanding and strengthening our executive leadership team, Vico is well positioned for continued progress and success in the future.”

“Scott shares our mission to bring innovative therapies to patients living with genetic diseases and brings an extraordinarily unique skill set and expertise to help us make this a reality,” Mackison said. “His leadership in clinical drug development and breadth of experience in developing genetic medicines, including for Huntington’s disease, ideally positions him to lead Vico’s clinical development efforts as we progress to a clinical stage company.”

At Roche, Schobel was group medical director and most recently clinical science leader of the Roche tominersen and gantenerumab clinical development programs. He pioneered the development of clinical endpoints in HD research, co-chaired a task force that generated a new research-based disease staging framework for HD based on underlying biology, and clinically led the first ever huntingtin-lowering therapy Phase III program with tominersen. 

Prior to Roche, Schobel was an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center focused on studying hippocampal dysfunction across neurological and psychiatric diseases using a cross-species neuroimaging approach. He was also medical director of Columbia University Medical Center’s Center of Prevention and Evaluation (COPE), a clinical service dedicated to the treatment and longitudinal study of teenagers and young adults at high risk for psychotic disorders. Schobel earned a B.A. in Japanese from the University of Minnesota, an M.D. from the University of North Carolina, and an M.S. from Columbia University.

“The VICOMER platform is positioned to transform the lives of patients living with rare genetic neurodegenerative diseases for which there are currently no disease-modifying treatments available,” Schobel said. “VO659 is a promising ASO and new molecular entity with allele-preferential mechanism of action for diseases like HD and SCA1, with the potential to treat all patients affected by these diseases regardless of individual genetic background, and an additional splice-modifying action in treatment of SCA3 based on data from preclinical studies. VO659 and the VICOMER platform are the reasons I joined Vico, as I am convinced this treatment modality is the way forward for devastating, rare genetically defined neurodegenerative diseases such as HD and SCAs.”

New CEO, COO for Bioxodes

Bioxodes SA has named Marc Dechamps as its new CEO, while company founder, Edmond Godfroid, takes up the post of chief operations officer alongside his existing responsibilities as chief scientific officer.

Dechamps’ appointment coincides with Bioxodes’ recent recruitment drive to strengthen its teams in readiness for a Phase IIa clinical trial for its flagship Ir-CPI molecule in patients with intracerebral hemorrhage.  Dechamps has more than 30 years of management experience in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, notably in the areas of strategic development and marketing. Executives say he was appointed for his leadership qualities and team management skills, as well as his extensive professional network and his understanding of players’ needs in this multinational industry.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Marc at this key moment for our company. His passion and wealth of knowledge in the world of investment and the pharmaceutical sector, will help us to achieve our strategic goals for our flagship product, Ir-CPI, with its unique properties and real potential to plug the current gap in the medical treatment of brain hemorrhages,” Godfroid said.

In his new role, Dechamps will take on the overall management of Bioxodes and oversee its transition to a clinical development company. He will spearhead efforts to secure the necessary funding for Bioxodes’ clinical development work and will establish strategic partnerships with key players in the pharmaceutical sector.

 “I’m delighted to be joining Edmond and the Bioxodes team at such a pivotal moment for the company,” Dechamps said. “It’s especially exciting to be involved in the fundraising activities and the clinical development, with the upcoming phase IIa clinical trials for Ir-CPI in patients with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). There is currently no treatment option that can prevent acute secondary damage within the first 72 hours in patients exhibiting this pathology.”

In his new role as COO, Godfroid, an expert in Ir-CPI and its potential applications, will be responsible for defining the company’s R&D strategy and operational approach in consultation with the management team. He will also ensure the ongoing development of the new molecules in the company’s drug pipeline.

“Not many projects in the biotech sector get as far as the patient clinical trial phase. Bioxodes is one,” said Pierre Detrixhe, head of operations at Investsud Tech and president of the board of directors at Bioxodes. “In recent months, we have worked hard to strengthen our clinical and regulatory teams. Thanks to these efforts and today’s appointment of Marc Dechamps, we are now ready to look for the funding we need to launch our clinical trial in patients with intracerebral hemorrhage.” 

Dechamps is a biologist with extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry dating back more than 35 years. During his career, he has worked for companies including GSK and ViiV Healthcare, building his expertise in market development for new products, including infectious diseases, immunological disorders, oncology, CNS disorders, and vaccines.

In 2016, Dechamps founded and became managing director of XMF consulting, a company that supports biotech and biopharma businesses with strategic advice and management leadership. He has also served as managing director of Delphi Genetics (CDMO) and interim CEO of eTheRNA Immunotherapies. He is co-academic director for the newly created advanced masters in biotech & medtech ventures at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics & Management. He is also responsible for representing BioWin – the life sciences cluster of Wallonia – on the international stage, and serves as president of the board for the Council of European BioRegions (CEBR) and the investment group Investsud Tech.

Orexo appoints Edward Kim, M.D., as new chief medical officer

Orexo welcomed Edward (Ed) Kim, M.D., as new chief medical officer, succeeding Michael Sumner, M.D., who has held this role since 2013. Kim is located at Orexo’s U.S. subsidiary in Morristown, New Jersey.

Kim’s primary responsibilities will include leading the U.S. medical affairs department, concentrating on commercial products in pharmaceuticals and digital therapeutics. Additionally, he will work closely with the Swedish pharmaceutical development team to further drive innovative treatment solutions based on Orexo’s amorphOX platform, with a focus on new innovative treatments for patients suffering from substance use disorders and other mental health issues.

Kim began his career with 13 years of clinical practice as a board certified psychiatrist, including several years in a senior leadership role with a large behavioral health system. He then acquired more than 16 years’ experience within the pharmaceutical industry, most recently as VP and head of medical affairs at Biohaven Pharmaceuticals. Executives state his proven track record is derived from extensive experience as a clinician, leader, and scientist across multiple senior positions within medical affairs, health economics, and clinical development in psychiatry and the neuroscience therapeutic area.  

“I am delighted to welcome Ed to Orexo,” said Nikolaj Sorensen, CEO and president. “His experience in psychiatry and public health will bring extensive knowledge and insights to our core therapeutic area in substance use disorders and mental health. Additionally, he will contribute to broaden our network within this growing and important treatment space. I also want to thank Michael Sumner for his contributions and leadership to Orexo and in improving the lives of people who are dependent on opioids.”

Key leadership roles filled at Versanis Bio 

Kenneth Attie, M.D., has joined Versanis Bio as executive VP and chief medical officer, bringing more than 30 years of experience developing biotherapeutics. Aditya Venugopal, Ph.D., serves as senior VP, corporate development and strategic planning, with more than 15 years of experience in biotechnology.

“Ken and Aditya each have demonstrated success growing biotechnology companies,” said CEO Mark Pruzanski, M.D. “They join our team at a critical moment, lending valued perspective and expertise as we advance our lead asset bimagrumab in a Phase IIb study, soon to be underway for the initial indication of obesity.”

Attie trained as a pediatric endocrinologist and brings combined experience in academic research, biotechnology, and clinical medicine to his role at Versanis. In his career, he has led five drugs to approval across eight indications, in addition to caring for patients with endocrine and metabolic diseases. Most recently, he was the chief medical officer at Imara Inc. Prior to his role at Imara, Attie served as VP of medical research at Acceleron Pharma. He also held leadership roles at Altus Pharmaceuticals and Insmed and spent more than a decade at Genentech. Attie earned his M.D. from New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine and completed his medical training at New York University and University of California, San Francisco Medical Centers. 

“I look forward to applying my medical research experience and successful track record advancing therapeutic programs through regulatory approval to design and lead Versanis’ development programs,” Attie said. “Bimagrumab is an exceptional agent that has the potential to drive substantial weight loss, improve body composition, and result in sustained long-term clinical benefit for people with obesity and cardiometabolic diseases.”

Venugopal is an accomplished biopharma strategist bringing expertise in developing strong business partnerships, capital formation, and corporate and business development strategy. Most recently, he served as VP of business development at VectivBio, where he grew the company’s portfolio with the acquisition of a platform technology broadly targeting inborn disorders of metabolism. Before joining VectivBio, he was head of strategic planning at Intercept Pharmaceuticals. Previously, he spent seven years in strategic life science consulting, first at Easton Associates and subsequently at Navigant Consulting. Venugopal holds a Ph.D. in immunology and microbial pathogenesis from Cornell’s Weill Medical School.

“It’s an exciting time to join this team with a demonstrated commitment to broadening the range of possibilities for the treatment of obesity,” Venugopal said. “I am thrilled to partner with Mark again to help him build Versanis and advance bimagrumab as a truly differentiated drug candidate.”

ReviR Therapeutics expands research team

Sridhar Narayan, Ph.D. has been appointed to VP responsible for the global medicinal chemistry team at ReviR Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on developing RNA-targeting small molecule drugs.

“I am delighted to welcome Dr. Narayan to the team,” said Paul August, Ph.D., chief scientific officer. “He is a seasoned ‘drug-hunter’ who brings deep operational expertise in the discovery and development of small molecules that target RNA and modulate their function. His experience over 20 years directing interdisciplinary teams of drug discovery scientists, at multiple global companies, will be invaluable to strengthen our drug discovery team. Dr. Narayan’s background will facilitate our efforts to leverage our artificial intelligence and machine learning VoyageR platform to progress our RNA focused pipeline and advance collaborations with biotech and pharma partners.”  

Narayan has advanced drug discovery efforts in both large pharma and smaller biotech environments. He has a successful track record of managing teams across the drug discovery continuum. Narayan formerly served as a VP at Satellos Bioscience where he led the discovery and development efforts to advance a targeted, small molecule therapy to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy and muscular atrophy related syndromes. 

Prior to this position, Narayan led the development of a broad-spectrum antibiotic at Appili Therapeutics that targeted bacterial RNA. Previously, he held scientific leadership roles at Navitor, AstraZeneca, and Eisai, where he was responsible to advancing multiple programs into clinical development. His expertise spans multiple therapeutic areas including rare diseases, oncology, immunology/inflammation, CNS, and infectious diseases. 

Narayan received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and performed  post-doctoral research at the Scripps Research Institute with Prof. K. Barry Sharpless, who recently won his second Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Narayan also holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management.

“ReviR has developed cutting edge AI and machine learning approaches to identify small molecule therapeutics that target RNA,” Narayan said. “This is a powerful combination, and I am looking forward to leveraging my background and experience to bring novel therapeutics forward to patients that treat cancer and rare genetic diseases.”

Providence Therapeutics appoints chief financial officer

Providence Therapeutics Holdings Inc. has tapped Judyanna Yu, CPA, CA as chief financial officer.

“Judyanna’s extensive experience in global finance and operations will be critical as we enter our next phase of growth,” said CEO Brad Sorenson. “With the recent positive top-line data from the Phase II trial of our mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate, and as we solidify plans to further develop and expand our pipeline of mRNA vaccines for cancer and infectious diseases, Judyanna will be instrumental in identifying strategic partners to further our mRNA platform growth.”

Yu previously served as VP of corporate finance, operations, and development at Cerecin Inc. Prior to that, she held the position of CFO and chief operating officer at Re-Stem Biotech. She is a chartered professional accountant, qualifying at KPMG, and she holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree with distinction from the University of Alberta.

“I’m honored to join Providence’s forward-thinking leadership team in their mission to leverage their world-class mRNA platform toward the greatest possible clinical benefit for underserved people worldwide,” Yu said. “I look forward to supporting the company’s development as they advance toward late-stage vaccine trials while balancing their original focus on oncology programs.”

New chief medical officer for Protagonist

Protagonist Therapeutics has hired Arturo Molina, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.P. as chief medical officer.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Dr. Molina to Protagonist as our chief medical officer,” said Dinesh V. Patel, Ph.D., president and CEO. “As a widely respected hematologist-oncologist and practicing physician, he brings a wealth of experience in clinical research and development, including a strong track record of advancing therapeutics from preclinical through Phase I-III studies, global regulatory approvals, and successful commercial launches. Arturo’s immediate focus will align with our top priority – execution of the Phase III VERIFY study of rusfertide in polycythemia vera. With Arturo’s arrival, we are further strengthening our world-class team at Protagonist, firmly dedicated to our mission of advancing new therapies to improve patients’ lives.”

“I am thrilled to join Protagonist at this exciting juncture,” Molina said. “I believe rusfertide has the potential to transform the treatment paradigm and patient journey for people living with polycythemia vera. The opportunity to guide the Phase III VERIFY study forward to its successful completion, and to lead and support preparations for rusfertide’s potential regulatory review and market approval, is exciting and well aligned to my personal commitment to bringing meaningful therapeutic innovations into settings of clinical practice and patient care.”

Molina joins Protagonist from Sutro Biopharma, where he was chief medical officer since 2016. Prior to Sutro, Molina was VP, oncology scientific innovation at Johnson & Johnson. 

He earned his M.D. and M.S. in physiology degrees from Stanford University Medical Center, and a B.A. in psychology and B.S. in zoology from the University of Texas at Austin. Molina maintains an adjunct clinical faculty appointment in the Department of Medicine, Division of Oncology, Stanford University School of Medicine.

New CFO for IO Biotech

IO Biotech has appointed Amy Sullivan as the company’s new chief financial officer.

“We are pleased to welcome Amy to the executive team,” said Mai-Britt Zocca, Ph.D., president and CEO. “Her financial prowess and successful track record guiding biotechnology companies through significant organizational growth will be an invaluable addition to IO Biotech. On behalf of the entire leadership team, I look forward to Amy’s many contributions as we continue to mature our business and advance our promising pipeline of novel cancer immunotherapies.”

Sullivan is a seasoned life sciences professional with more than 25 years of experience raising capital and building and managing corporate biotechnology and life sciences brands. Sullivan joins IO Biotech from TABA, BV, where she served as chief financial officer. Prior to her time with TABA, she was chief strategy officer for Euronext-listed Kiadis Pharma, where she was responsible for all aspects of fundraising and capital formation strategy, repositioning the company after a clinical failure, and played a critical role in the company’s sale to Sanofi. 

Prior to Kiadis, Sullivan was at Keryx Biopharmaceuticals where she was senior VP of corporate affairs. Before Keryx, Sullivan served as head of corporate communications and investor relations at AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Idenix Biopharmacueticals, and Genencor International. 

Sullivan has her bachelor of science degree in business from Salem State University and her masters of business administration from Bentley University.

“I am honored to join IO Biotech at this exciting time in the company’s evolution,” Sullivan said. “Since its founding in 2014, IO Biotech has built a tremendous team of industry veterans with the expertise and capabilities to reimagine oncology research and drug development, and a blue-chip investor syndicate to enable this bold vision. I am eager to work with the team to drive the company’s strategy as we aim to discover and continue to develop a portfolio of product candidates that can disrupt the way cancer is treated.”

SK bioscience appoints new executives towards global business growth

Harry Kleanthous, Ph.D., formerly senior program officer in global health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has joined SK bioscience as executive VP of vaccine R&D strategy and external innovation. An expert in the vaccine field, he has devoted 30 years to the vaccine industry in both biotech and large biopharma, serving as VP research at Acambis, and head of research for North America at Sanofi Pasteur, where he developed innovative platforms and developed pipelines targeting medically important infectious diseases. He majored in microbiology and biochemistry at Manchester Metro University, U.K., and obtained his Ph.D. in medical molecular microbiology at the University of London.

In support of expanding its globalization efforts, SK bioscience has named Sally Choe, Ph.D., an expert in drug review, clinical pharmacology, and medical product development, as head of global clinical development and regulatory affairs of the company. In this role, she will be leading the company’s clinical development and execution of innovative products and regulatory affairs to advance SK bioscience’s global competitiveness.

Choe joins SK bioscience from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) where she most recently served as the super office director of the Office of Generic Drugs (OGD). Prior to her 12 years of tenure at the FDA, she worked at Parexel Regulatory Consulting firm as senior director, and also worked in large biopharma including Bristol Myers Squib and Pfizer. She majored in electrical engineering at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and holds a master’s and Ph.D. in pharmaceutics from the University of Michigan.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Harry Kleanthous and Dr. Sally Choe join our company,” said CEO Jaeyong Ahn. “As we have successfully developed our own COVID-19 vaccine and carried out CDMO business during the COVID-19 pandemic, we attract significant global interest, We hope to be more globally competitive, comparable to major bio-pharmaceutical companies worldwide through strategic R&D investments.”

New chief commercial officer at Mallinckrodt 

Mallinckrodt plc has appointed Lisa French as executive VP and chief commercial officer. French brings more than 30 years of commercial biopharmaceutical experience and will oversee the development and execution of Mallinckrodt’s commercialization strategy. She will serve on the executive committee and succeeds Hugh O’Neill, who departed Mallinckrodt as of September 16, 2022.  

French most recently built and led the U.S. Women’s Health Commercial team for Organon & Co. following its spin-off from Merck & Co. Previously, she held numerous leadership positions at Merck, where she ultimately led all aspects of a multibillion-dollar brand, executed commercial innovation initiatives and oversaw multiple sales teams.

“Lisa brings decades of commercialization experience, with deep expertise and a proven track record developing and implementing effective and growth-oriented commercialization strategies,” said Siggi Olafsson, president and CEO. “I am confident her insights and experience will be invaluable as we continue working to advance our branded pipeline, bring Mallinckrodt’s existing products to new markets and geographies and stabilize our portfolio – all for the benefit of our patients, shareholders, and other stakeholders.”

French is a commercial biopharmaceutical executive with more than 30 years of experience in U.S. go-to-market commercialization strategy development and operating experience across the therapeutics lifecycle. She most recently served as U.S. business unit lead of Organon & Co.’s women’s health franchise, where she led the commercial team. French previously held positions of increasing responsibility at Merck KGaA, where she served as associate VP, U.S. marketing lead – HPV franchise; VP of U.S. strategy and commercial model innovation; executive director of U.S. federal policy; national executive director of commercial operations – women’s health; national director of commercial operations – HIV; regional director of commercial operations – chronic care; and regional director of commercial operations – cardiovascular care, among other roles.

French holds a B.S. in biology from West Chester University and completed Harvard Business School’s Emerging Leaders and Leadership & Strategy executive programs.

“One of the reasons I was drawn to Mallinckrodt is the company’s focus on innovative, drug development and commercialization for underserved patients with severe and critical conditions,” French said. “The company’s portfolio benefits from core products with established track records and strong brand recognition. I look forward to working closely with Siggi and the Mallinckrodt team to build on this strong foundation.”

Eupraxia gets chief business officer

Eupraxia Pharmaceuticals Inc. made Paul Brennan its chief business officer. Brennan will work closely with the executive management team to secure partnership opportunities to help advance the company’s pipeline of drug candidates.

“Paul is an experienced and successful business development executive with decades of biotech experience in Canada and internationally,” said James Helliwell, M.D., CEO. “The company continues to make progress in pipeline development, having recently added a second Phase II program in eosinophilic esophagitis. As we continue to advance additional pipeline candidates, we believe development and commercialization partnerships will offer a potentially non-dilutive means to resource and fund these programs, as well as important external validation of the underlying drug candidate prospects. With a focus on optimizing value for shareholders and fully resourcing all pipeline projects, we believe Paul will be instrumental in the execution of this next stage of growth for the company.”

Brennan has more than 30 years experience in the pharma and biotech industries where he has held several executive positions in general management and/or business development including at NervGen Pharma, Aquinox Pharmaceuticals, Arbutus Biopharma (formerly Tekmira Pharmaceuticals), Aspreva Pharmaceuticals, and AnorMED. He has participated in the development and/or commercialization of more than 10 products that have advanced from clinical development through to regulatory approval in either the United States or Europe and has been involved in several billions of dollars worth of business development and financing transactions.

Notable transactions involving Brennan include the sale of Aspreva to Vifor Pharma for $915 million, the sale of AnorMED to Genzyme for $580 million, and the merger of Tekmira and OnCore Biopharma to form Arbutus Biopharma, valued at more than $1 billion.

He has also served in senior business development and regulatory affairs roles with AstraZeneca plc, working in Sweden, the United Kingdom and Canada. 

Brennan holds a master’s degree in Neurophysiology from Queen’s University in Kingston.

Senior appointments at Lipocine

Lipocine Inc. announced George Nomikos, M.D., Ph.D., has joined Lipocine as chief medical officer and Spyros Papapetropoulos, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed lead director and chairman of the board.  

“Consistent with our recently announced new strategy to a focus on developing new treatments for CNS disorders, it is important that Lipocine have a leadership team with the appropriate skillset,” said Mahesh Patel, Ph.D., president and CEO. “I am delighted to welcome Dr. Nomikos as chief medical officer and congratulate Dr. Papapetropoulos on his appointment as lead director and chairman of the board. George’s knowledge in the fields of neurology and psychiatry, both from an academic and industry perspective, will be invaluable as we advance our pipeline of CNS candidates. In addition, Spyros’ executive and BoD tenure in CNS-focused companies combined with his expertise in clinical and translational neurosciences means that he is well qualified to guide the company. We look forward to the contributions these talented individuals will bring to Lipocine and are excited to have them as an integral part of our leadership team.”

“This is an exciting time for Lipocine,” Papapetropoulos said. “The company has a compelling opportunity to leverage its best-in-class oral delivery technology to develop differentiated treatments for high unmet need neuropsychiatric disorders.  I look forward to continue being a part of the company’s renewed CNS focus in my role as chairman.”

Nomikos is a biopharmaceutical R&D scientist and psychiatry-trained clinician with extensive academic and industry experience in neuropsychiatric, neurometabolic, neurohormonal, neuromuscular and chronic pain therapeutics. He has a proven track record directing large cross-site and cross-functional teams to key advancement decisions in drug discovery research and clinical development. Until recently he served as senior VP, medical & clinical sciences at Scholar Rock, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, where he oversaw clinical development and medical functions of neuromuscular therapeutics. 

Nomikos previously held senior positions at Biogen, Sage, Takeda, Astellas, Amgen, and Eli Lilly. He received an M.D. and a Doctorate  in pharmacology from the Medical School, University of Athens, Athens, Greece, and a Ph.D. in psychiatry/neuroscience from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada. He is licensed to practice medicine in Greece and Sweden and was an associate professor of pharmacology at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Nomikos has published more than 180 peer-reviewed articles and reviews, authored several book chapters and patents, and edited a textbook on translational medicine in CNS drug development. 

“I am very pleased to join Lipocine and to have the opportunity to leverage my expertise in neurology and psychiatry as I join a talented and dedicated team working to bring new treatments to patients,” Nomikos said.

Papapetropoulos has been a member of Lipocine’s board since April 2022. He is an experienced biopharmaceutical executive, recognized neuroscientist, neurodegenerative disease clinician and change agent. He is currently chief medical officer at Vigil Neuro. 

ImmuneID appoints chief business officer

Jessica Atkinson is now chief business officer at ImmuneID, where she will oversee business activities as part of the company’s leadership with dual goals of advising on the company’s current direction and exploring and maximizing external collaboration opportunities for its aiSPIRE platform.

“Jessica is a leader in the field, with expertise in developing and executing on portfolio-advancing strategies and transactions with the potential to shape the patient treatment landscape,” said CEO Jim Scibetta. “We are excited to have her flexible and strategic perspective assist ImmuneID in drawing connections between a wide range of scientific concepts and applications, enabling us to develop therapeutic and biomarker development strategies across a spectrum of indications and therapeutic modalities.”

Atkinson joins ImmuneID from Glympse Bio. Inc., where she was the senior VP of business development, crafting and leading the execution of business development strategy for a newly discovered, completely novel technology. Prior to Glympse, she managed an oncology therapeutics market-based business development strategy at Foundation Medicine Inc. Atkinson holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from the University of Texas at Austin.

“ImmuneID has ambitious and exciting goals for untangling the complexities of the human immune system, and I’m excited to help translate those goals into specific business development objectives that will increase value for patients,” Atkinson said. “I look forward to joining ImmuneID’s leadership team and playing a central role in the growth and success of the organization as a leader in precision medicine.”

Industry veteran becomes Visiox Pharma CMO

Cynthia Matossian, M.D. is now chief medical officer of Visiox Pharma LLC. “Dr. Matossian is  an experienced and enthusiastic eye care leader, dedicated to providing compassionate care and advancing innovation,” said CEO Ryan Bleeks. “Her clinical expertise and proven leadership, as well as her extensive medical and clinical research experience, will further strengthen our efforts and support the progress of our product pipeline.”

As chief medical officer, Matossian will play a critical role in developing the medical affairs strategy for Visiox’s near-term commercial products, as well as helping to forge strategic partnership engagements and evaluating portfolio expansion.

“I could not be more thrilled to be joining Visiox Pharma and working with such a dynamic management team,” Matossian said. “The company’s lead program, PDP-716 (brimonidine tartrate 0.35%), has already demonstrated compelling results with a promising safety profile and durability that could change the standard of care for patients with glaucoma. I believe the same potential exists for SDN-037 (difluprednate 0.04%) addressing an unmet need for cataract surgery that Visiox plans to file later this year.”

Matossian is the founder and past medical director of Matossian Eye Associates. Under her leadership, the practice grew to 14 doctors and more than 90 employees until it was by acquired a private-equity-backed business entity. Matossian has authored hundreds of articles, routinely lectures, and has participated in numerous clinical trials. Her list of honors and awards include Top 100 Women in Ophthalmology Power List, President of the American College of Eye Surgeons and the New York IOL Implant Society, and president and board member for the American College of Eye Surgeons (ACES).

Matossian earned her medical degree from Hershey Medical Center of Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, completed her ophthalmology residency at George Washington University School of Medicine, and is fellowship-trained in corneal disease.

Kineta appoints CFO

Keith Baker has become the new chief financial officer of Kineta Inc.  “It is a pleasure to welcome Keith to our management team at this pivotal time for Kineta,” said CEO Shawn Iadonato. “Keith’s experience as an accomplished CFO with deep financial and operational expertise along with a solid track record of building and financing both public and private companies will be invaluable as we transition into a publicly traded company.”

Baker brings more than 30 years of financial expertise to Kineta in corporate finance, public accounting, and Securities and Exchange Commission reporting. Prior to joining Kineta, Baker served as chief financial officer of several technology companies including Element Data Inc., a decision intelligence technology firm, and Zemax LLC, a software company in optical and illumination design. 

Previously, Baker led SEC financial reporting and the Sarbanes-Oxley compliance program at Targeted Genetics Corporation (now Armata Pharmaceuticals). He started his career in public accounting as an auditor at Deloitte & Touche LLP.

“It’s an exciting time to join Kineta’s leadership team, with the company well-positioned to achieve key strategic goals in closing the reverse merger with Yumanity Therapeutics and expecting to initiate the first-in-human clinical trial of KVA12.1 this quarter,” Baker said.

Chris Truelove, Med Ad News Chris Truelove is contributing editor of Med Ad News and



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Three Years To Slow The Spread: COVID Hysteria & The Creation Of A Never-Ending Crisis

Three Years To Slow The Spread: COVID Hysteria & The Creation Of A Never-Ending Crisis

Authored by Jordan Schachtel via ‘The Dossier’…



Three Years To Slow The Spread: COVID Hysteria & The Creation Of A Never-Ending Crisis

Authored by Jordan Schachtel via 'The Dossier' Substack,

Last Thursday marked the three year anniversary of the infamous “15 Days To Slow The Spread” campaign.

By March 16, yours truly was already pretty fed up with both the governmental and societal “response” to what was being baselessly categorized as the worst pandemic in 100 years, despite zero statistical data supporting such a serious claim.

I was living in the Washington, D.C. Beltway at the time, and it was pretty much impossible to find a like-minded person within 50 miles who also wasn’t taking the bait. After I read about the news coming out of Wuhan in January, I spent much of the next couple weeks catching up to speed and reading about what a modern pandemic response was supposed to look like.

What surprised me most was that none of “the measures” were mentioned, and that these designated “experts” were nothing more than failed mathematicians, government doctors, and college professors who were more interested in policy via shoddy academic forecasting than observing reality.

Within days of continually hearing their yapping at White House pressers, It quickly became clear that the Deborah Birx’s and Anthony Fauci’s of the world were engaging in nothing more than a giant experiment. There was no an evidence-based approach to managing Covid whatsoever. These figures were leaning into the collective hysteria, and brandishing their credentials as Public Health Experts to demand top-down approaches to stamping out the WuFlu.

To put it bluntly, these longtime government bureaucrats had no idea what the f—k they were doing. Fauci and his cohorts were not established or reputable scientists, but authoritarians, charlatans, who had a decades-long track record of hackery and corruption. This Coronavirus Task Force did not have the collective intellect nor the wisdom to be making these broad brush decisions.

Back then, there were only literally a handful of people who attempted to raise awareness about the wave of tyranny, hysteria, and anti-science policies that were coming our way. There were so few of us back in March in 2020 that it was impossible to form any kind of significant structured resistance to the madness that was unfolding before us. These structures would later form, but not until the infrastructure for the highway to Covid hysteria hell had already been cemented.

Making matters worse was the reality that the vast majority of the population — friends, colleagues, peers and family included — agreed that dissenters were nothing more than reckless extremists, bioterrorists, Covid deniers, anti-science rabble rousers, and the like.

Yet we were right, and we had the evidence and data to prove it. There was no evidence to ever support such a heavy-handed series of government initiatives to “slow the spread.”

By March 16, 2020, data had already accumulated indicating that this contagion would be no more lethal than an influenza outbreak.

The February, 2020 outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship provided a clear signal that the hysteria models provided by Bill Gates-funded and managed organizations were incredibly off base. Of the 3,711 people aboard the Diamond Princess, about 20% tested positive with Covid. The majority of those who tested positive had zero symptoms. By the time all passengers had disembarked from the vessel, there were 7 reported deaths on the ship, with the average age of this cohort being in the mid 80s, and it wasn’t even clear if these passengers died from or with Covid.

Despite the strange photos and videos coming out of Wuhan, China, there was no objective evidence of a once in a century disease approaching America’s shores, and the Diamond Princess outbreak made that clear.

Of course, it wasn’t the viral contagion that became the problem.

It was the hysteria contagion that brought out the worst qualities of much of the global ruling class, letting world leaders take off their proverbial masks in unison and reveal their true nature as power drunk madmen.

And even the more decent world leaders were swept up in the fear and mayhem, turning over the keys of government control to the supposed all-knowing Public Health Experts.

They quickly shuttered billions of lives and livelihoods, wreaking exponentially more havoc than a novel coronavirus ever could.

In the United States, 15 Days to Slow The Spread quickly became 30 Days To Slow The Spread. Somewhere along the way, the end date for “the measures” was removed from the equation entirely.

3 years later, there still isn’t an end date…

Anthony Fauci appeared on MSNBC Thursday morning and declared that Americans would need annual Covid boosters to compliment their Flu shots.

So much of the Covid hysteria era was driven by pseudoscience and outright nonsense, and yet, very few if any world leaders took it upon themselves to restore sanity in their domains. Now, unsurprisingly, so many elected officials who were complicit in this multi-billion person human tragedy won’t dare to reflect upon it.

In a 1775 letter from John Adams to his wife, Abigail, the American Founding Father wrote:

“Liberty once lost is lost forever. When the People once surrender their share in the Legislature, and their Right of defending the Limitations upon the Government, and of resisting every Encroachment upon them, they can never regain it.”

Covid hysteria and the 3 year anniversary of 15 Days To Slow The Spread serves as the beginning period of a permanent scar resulting from government power grabs and federal overreach.

While life is back to normal in most of the country, the Overton window of acceptable policy has slid even further in the direction of push-button tyranny. Hopefully, much of the world has awakened to the reality that most of the people in charge aren’t actually doing what’s best for their respective populations.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/21/2023 - 18:05

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Economic Death Spiral

Economic Death Spiral

Authored by Robert Stark via Substack,

Fed Trap: Financial Collapse or Hyper Inflation?

With this banking crisis,…



Economic Death Spiral

Authored by Robert Stark via Substack,

Fed Trap: Financial Collapse or Hyper Inflation?

With this banking crisis, which has serious Lehman vibes, it is a good time to revisit my article, Is This The End of The End of History, from March of last year. The article dealt with the theme of collapse vs stagnation, and historical cycles, in light of the Ukraine war, the post-pandemic climate, the onset of inflation, and speculation about economic collapse. A point of mine, that has especially been vindicated, is that “a delay in the Fed raising interest rates, could cause a short term rally in stocks, further expanding the bubble. The bigger the bubble, the worse inflation gets, and the longer the Fed keeps delaying raising rates, the worse the crash will be down the road.” For the most part, most of my geopolitical and economic forecasts have come true, though I actually predicted an economic collapse to occur sooner, which actually vindicates that point, that kicking the can down the road will just create a much worse crisis.

Despite countless signs of economic volatility, the recent bank failures, with shockwaves to the entire financial system, are a turning point, where it is clear that there is going to be a severe economic downturn. For instance, Elon Musk recently said, lot of current year similarities to 1929, and Moody’s cut the outlook on the entire U.S. banking system to negative from stable, citing a "rapidly deteriorating operating environment." Even the perma bulls, mainstream media, and financial “experts,” can no longer deny the obvious signs of economic peril. However, the bullish propaganda was still strong as recently as January, which was really the bulls’ last gasp, with the monkey rally, in response to the Fed only raising interest rates by .25 points, plus economic data showing record low unemployment plus a dip in inflation.

It is important to emphasize that the same figures in media, banking, and government, who were recently shilling a soft landing or mild recession, were previously saying that inflation is transitory. It is especially laughable to think that there are people who take someone like CNBC’s, Jim Cramer, seriously, who in 2008 told his audience don’t be silly on Bear Stearns, right before it crashed, and more recently shilled for Silicon Valley Bank, and is still predicting a soft landing. A lot of the recent propaganda is practically identical to right before the 08 crash, as well as during stagflation in the 70s, and even before the Great Depression, as the media has vested economic and political interests in propping up the markets. The financial YouTuber, Maverick of Wall Street, brilliantly uses this “self-love” gif of  Jack Nicholson, from the film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, as a metaphor for whenever perma-bulls see any data that may signify a Fed pivot, causing stocks to rally. As the desperation really kicks in, expect further talk of a soft landing, as well as more rallies in stocks, as we saw in response to the bailouts, as well as desperate investors switching back and forth between the NASDAQ and S&P500, which happened in 08. So any return to bullish sentiment is actually a sign of greater economic catastrophe. The stock market rallying over bad economy news, as a sign of a potential pivot, just further shows that the markets are not a good metric for the health of the economy. Not to mention that the top 1% own over half of all stocks.

It has always been the case with bubbles, that the greater the size of the bubble, the more copes to deny reality, and the more vested interests there are in preventing the inevitable crash. Certainly many corporations and banks have made economic decisions based upon an assumption of a soft landing or Fed pivot. This also explains the gaslighting to justify that the 2010s economic boom, especially in tech, was based upon productivity and innovation, when it was primary due to Fed monetary policy, plus data mining in the case of Big Tech. While it is silly for conservatives to blame wokeness as the primary culprit of bank failures, wokeness and bullshit DEI jobs, are a symptom of the corruption that Fed policy enabled. 

Fed Balance Sheet: Return to QE


The current banking crisis is triggering more stock buybacks, and a return to Quantitative Easing with the bank bailouts, including plans to inject another $2 Trillion into the banking system, on top of the $300 billion increase in the Fed’s Balance Sheet, in just the last week. This seems counter intuitive, as QE caused inflation, but the economy is so addicted to the “Cocaine,” that is  cheap money. So basically quantitative tightening is being implemented and interest rates raised  to stop inflation, but as soon as the first major economic disruption of raising rates is felt, then a return to financial policies to further prop up the bubble, causing more inflation. Now the Fed is trapped with two bad options, raise rates or pivot, both of which will lead to inevitable economic doom.

Populists can talk about nationalizing the banks into public debt free banking, and Austrian School libertarians can call for ending the Fed, and returning to a gold standard. While it is true that the Federal Reserve is a corrupt system, that is quasi private in how private banks own shares, the reality is that we are stuck with this system of relying upon the Fed’s interest rates, for the incoming economic crisis. If the Fed continues raising rates, there will be a liquidity crisis, with more bank failures. While interest rates were close to zero, banks used uninsured deposits to both invest in securities and purchase bonds, and thanks to fractional reserve banking, banks are only required to hold a fraction of deposits. So when rates rose, bonds fell in value and unrealized losses surged, so the banks were not able to pay off their depositors.


Regional banks make up about half of all US banking, so any contagion in the banking system, as people and businesses move their deposits to mega banks, deemed “too big to fail,” could trigger a Depression. One of the main reasons that the economy has not crashed sooner is because more people have been tapping into their savings and maxing out their credit cards. However, high interest rates will cause many people to default on their credit card debt, which will exacerbate the banking crisis. Not to mention Auto loans defaults wiping out credit unions, and the potential for another mortgage crisis, due to rising mortgage rates. There is a ripple effect, as far as rising interest rates being felt by debt holders, and now is just the tip of the iceberg. This could end up being a multifaceted debt crisis, in banking, corporate debt, personal debt, and government debt.

Besides the Fed likely pivoting soon due to the banking crisis, higher rates will make interest payments on the National Debt too expensive to pay off, risking a default on government debt. Overall levels of debt, both public and private, are much worse than when Fed Chair, Volcker, raised rates very high to successfully quell inflation. Any freeze in Federal spending or a default on the national debt, in response to the debt ceiling, will crash the economy, and any major extension in the debt ceiling will accelerate inflation. There is a good chance that inflation will be tolerated, with the dollar greatly devalued, to make government debt cheaper so that creditors eat the costs.

Source: Peter G. Peterson Foundation

A tight labor market is the main case that the bulls make to prove a strong economy. However, the official BLS jobs numbers are “baked” to exclude those who have given up on seeking employment, as well as counting 2nd or 3rd jobs. Not to mention that the BLS numbers were exposed by the Fed as overstating 1 million jobs during 2022. Even if one accepts the “baked” numbers, layoffs have a lagging effect on unemployment, including by industry (eg. tech layoffs before service sector). Now new jobless claims have grown at the fastest pace since Lehman'. It is also noteworthy that just about every recession has been preceded by low unemployment numbers. The increase in layoffs will put further pressure on the Fed to pivot, which on top of increased unemployment benefits, will cause inflation to surge again. This creates another doom loop, as inflation leads to more unemployment, as consumers are forced to cut back on spending.

Source: ZeroHedge

While bulls can say that this time is different from past crashes, all of the signs are pointing to this crisis being much worse than previous crashes. For instance, the economic recovery, after Volcker was done raising rates to fight inflation, was possible because of lower levels of debt, but the US has never entered a recession with debt/GDP at 125% and deficit/GDP at 7% in at least 85 years. Also the fallout of the 2008 crash was mitigated by a strong dollar, which also minimized the effects of inflation last year, but inflation will surge if the dollar is weakened. Despite signs of a pivot, the Fed has been moving much faster to fight inflation, then in the past, even with Volker. This crisis is also unique in that rates are being raised while entering a severe recession, and inflation could coincide mass layoffs. While the general assumption is that severe economic downturns are deflationary, financial commentator, Peter Schiff, makes a compelling case as for why an Inflationary Depression is a likelihood. Under this nightmare scenario, which would be much worse than even the Great Depression, inflation will negate any of the remedies that ended past crises, such as the New Deal, quantitative easing in 08, and the covid stimulus. Other signs of economic peril include, the steepest yield curve inversion since the early 80s recession, which is a barometer that has predicted just about every single recession, a major decline in ISM manufacturing sales, a big decline in savings rates, and Americans’ credit card debt approaching a record $1 Trillion.


This is the perfect storm with inflation, stagflation, recession, a potential debt crisis, as well as energy and supply chain issues. With this bubble to end all bubbles or too big to fail on steroids, the Fed has two choices, cause a liquidity crisis by shrinking the money supply, or letting inflation rip. While raising rates appears to be the least bad of these two options, further rate hikes are futile with the return of QE. A combo of QE plus interest rates having to remain high, is what could lead to that scenario of inflationary financial collapse, that Peter Schiff warned about. Though most likely it will either be long term stagflation or a deflationary Depression. This is not a hyperbole, nor clickbait, but a Depression is a very real possibility, especially if policy makers continue to kick the can down the road, to prop up the bubble.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Tue, 03/21/2023 - 17:25

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From the bed sheets to the TV remote, a microbiologist reveals the shocking truth about dirt and germs in hotel rooms

The filthy secrets of hotel rooms and why you might want to pack disinfectant on your next trip.




Relaxing in filth? Pexels/Cottonbro studio

For most of us, staying in a hotel room is either something of a necessity – think business travel – or something to look forward to as part of a holiday or wider excursion.

But what if I told you there’s a large chance your hotel room, despite how it might appear to the naked eye, isn’t that clean. And even if it’s an expensive room, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any less dirty.

Indeed, whoever has stayed in your room prior to you will have deposited bacteria, fungi and viruses all over the furniture, carpets, curtains and surfaces. What remains of these germ deposits depends on how efficiently your room is cleaned by hotel staff. And let’s face it, what is considered clean by a hotel might be different to what you consider clean.

Typically, assessment of hotel room cleanliness is based on sight and smell observations –- not on the invisible microbiology of the space, which is where the infection risks reside. So let’s take a deep dive into the world of germs, bugs and viruses to find out what might be lurking where.

It starts at the lift

Before you even enter your room, think of the hotel lift buttons as germ hotspots. They are being pressed all the time by many different people, which can transfer microorganisms onto the button surface, as well back onto the presser’s fingers.

Communal door handles can be similar in terms of germ presence unless sanitised regularly. Wash your hands or use a hand sanitiser after using a handle before you next touch your face or eat or drink.

The most common infections people pick up from hotel rooms are tummy bugs – diarrhoea and vomiting – along with respiratory viruses, such as colds and pneumonia, as well as COVID-19, of course.

Hotel door opening.
Welcome to germ paradise. Pexels/Pixabay

Toilets and bathrooms tend to be cleaned more thoroughly than the rest of a hotel room and are often the least bacteriologically colonised environments.

Though if the drinking glass in the bathroom is not disposable, wash it before use (body wash or shampoo are effective dishwashers), as you can never be sure if they’ve been cleaned properly. Bathroom door handles may also be colonised by pathogens from unwashed hands or dirty washcloths.

Beware the remote

The bed, sheets and pillows can also be home to some unwanted visitors. A 2020 study found that after a pre-symptomatic COVID-19 patient occupied a hotel room there was significant viral contamination of many surfaces, with levels being particularly high within the sheets, pillow case and quilt cover.

While sheets and pillowcases may be more likely to be changed between occupants, bedspreads may not, meaning these fabrics may become invisible reservoirs for pathogens – as much as a toilet seat. Though in some cases sheets aren’t always changed between guests, so it may be better to just bring your own.

Less thought about is what lives on the hotel room desk, bedside table, telephone, kettle, coffee machine, light switch or TV remote – as these surfaces aren’t always sanitised between occupancies.

TV remote lying on pink bedding.
Handle with care: the TV remote is often one of the dirtiest items in a hotel room. Pexels/Karolina grabowska

Viruses such as the norovirus can live in an infectious form for days on hard surfaces, as can COVID-19 – and the typical time interval between room changeovers is often less than 12 hours.

Soft fabric furnishings such as cushions, chairs, curtains and blinds are also difficult to clean and may not be sanitised other than to remove stains between guests, so washing your hands after touching them might be a good idea.

Uninvited guests

If all those germs and dirty surfaces aren’t enough to contend with, there are also bedbugs to think about. These bloodsucking insects are experts at secreting themselves into narrow, small spaces, remaining dormant without feeding for months.

Small spaces include the cracks and crevices of luggage, mattresses and bedding. Bed bugs are widespread throughout Europe, Africa, the US and Asia – and are often found in hotels. And just because a room looks and smells clean, doesn’t mean there may not be bed bugs lurking.

Woman making bed in hoteroom.
Get those cushions off the bed straightaway. Pexels/Cottonbro studio

Fortunately, bed bug bites are unlikely to give you a transmissible disease, but the bite areas can become inflamed and infected. For the detection of bedbugs, reddish skin bites and blood spots on sheets are signs of an active infestation (use an antiseptic cream on the bites).

Other signs can be found on your mattress, behind the headboard and inside drawers and the wardrobe: brown spots could be remains of faeces, bed bug skins are brownish-silvery looking and live bed bugs are brown coloured and typically one to seven millimetres in length.

Inform the hotel if you think there are bed bugs in your room. And to avoid taking them with you when you checkout, carefully clean your luggage and clothes before opening them at home.

As higher-status hotels tend to have more frequent room usage, a more expensive room at a five-star hotel does not necessarily mean greater cleanliness, as room cleaning costs reduce profit margins. So wherever you’re staying, take with you a pack of antiseptic wipes and use them on the hard surfaces in your hotel room.

Also, wash or sanitise your hands often – especially before you eat or drink anything. And take slippers or thick socks with you so you can avoid walking barefoot on hotel carpets – known to be another dirt hotspot. And after all that, enjoy your stay.

Primrose Freestone does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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