Medical Innovation Exchange

Chutes & Ladders—CRISPR Therapeutics bids adieu to R&D head in securities filing

                          Chutes and Ladders
Welcome to this week’s Chutes & Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry. Please send the good word—or the bad—from your shop to Kyle LaHucik, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

CRISPR Therapeutics quietly reports R&D chief’s firing in SEC filing

CRISPR Therapeutics 
Tony Ho, M.D., has been let go.  

CRISPR Therapeutics has quietly reported that Ho, its executive vice president of research and development, was fired on Dec. 14. The company was mum on the details, except to say Ho’s departure was “without cause.” It added that his termination was not the result of any disagreement with the Company. Ho had been at CRISPR since Aug. 2017, according to his LinkedIn page. Prior to his stint at the gene editing specialist, Ho held top posts at pharma majors AstraZeneca and Merck & Co. Release

Chemist and Nobel laureate Robert Grubbs passes away

Robert Grubbs, Ph.D, passed away on Sunday at age 79.

Grubbs, Caltech’s Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry, has passed away. The nobel laureate and beloved professor was 79. In 2005, Grubbs was a co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which he won for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis. Metathesis, which means “change places,” is a chemical reaction, aided by special catalysts, where double bonds between carbon atoms are broken and refashioned in ways that cause specific chemical groups to change places, Caltech explained in a release. More specifically, Grubbs developed “powerful new catalysts” that teed up the synthesis of custom-built molecules, which had specialized applications in the creation of plastics or more effective drugs. Release

Two Galapagos execs take flight for growth factor biology specialist Agomab

Agomab Therapeutics
Reginald Brys, Ph.D., joins as head of research, while Maria Nichol comes on board as head of intellectual property.

Two Galapagos execs are flying the next, with plans to alight on Belgian growth factor biology specialist Agomab Therapeutics. Brys joins the flock as head of research, while Nichol is entering in the role of head of intellectual property. “Onboarding Reginald and Maria is a good example of our progress to grow Agomab into a global leader,” Tim Knotnerus, CEO at Agomab, said in a statement. Brys inhabited Galapagos from 2000, where he’s held multiple leadership roles in the company’s research organization. He most recently served as vice president, head of disease biology. Nichol, for her part, landed at Galapagos in 2006. She most recently held the title of vice president, head of intellectual property, similar to the role she’ll be assuming at Agomab. Release

> GlaxoSmithKline has enlisted Sir Dave Lewis as non-executive chair designate of the new consumer health company it plans to spin out in 2022. Lewis’ post becomes official on the first day of the New Year. GSK expects the new business to be a “world-leader” in consumer health. Lewis’ background, meanwhile, is in consumer goods and retail. From 2014 to 2020, he was group chief executive officer of Tesco. Before that, he served as global president of personal care at Unilever. Release

> Clinical-stage ImmunoGenesis has summoned Charles Schweizer, Ph.D., into the role of senior vice president of clinical development. Schweizer joins from pharma major GlaxoSmithKline, where he most recently served as the therapeutic area head for oncology. At ImmunoGenesis, Schweizer will be on deck to drive clinical development strategy and execution as the company gears up for the start of multiple trials in 2022. Release

> Nordic Nanovector has tapped Sandra Jonsson, Ph.D, as its new chief operating officer. She’ll kick off her duties on Jan. 10, 2022, taking over from Marco Renoldi, M.D., who’s retiring. Renoldi will stick around as a consultant to the company, Nordic Nanovector said in a release. Jonsson joins the Nordic team from Alexion Pharmaceuticals, where she was senior director of commercial international before AstraZeneca bought out the company in 2021. Release

> Biologics specialist I-Mab Biopharma has enlisted Andrew Zhu, M.D., Ph.D., as president and board director. In his new role, Zhu will be in charge of the company’s global R&D organization, with a specific focus on delivering pipeline milestones and “enhancing” clinical development capability in the U.S. and China. Zhu has an impressive resume, having served stints at Merck, Eli Lilly, Roche and Bayer. Meanwhile, bigger changes are in store for I-Mab: CEO Joan Shen is stepping down on Dec. 31 “to pursue other interest,” with Jingwu Zang, the company’s founder and chairman, poised to fill the role of acting CEO on Jan. 1. Release

> Oncolytics Biotech has elevated Thomas Heineman, M.D., Ph.D., into the role of chief medical officer. The promotion follows two decades of clinical development leadership experience, which includes time as Oncolytics’ global head of clinical development and operations. Before he served there, Heineman was senior vice president and head of clinical development at Denovo Biopharma. Release

> Bio-Techne is calling on William Geist to take up the mantle of president of the company’s protein sciences segment, starting Jan. 3. He’ll take over for N. David Eansor, who’s retiring from the company. Eansor plans to stick around through the end of February to help smooth Geist’s transition, Bio-Techne said in a release. Geist most recently served as chief operating officer for Quanterix. Before that, he was vice president and general manager of two of Thermo Fisher Scientific’s largest business units, protein and cell analysis and qPCR. Release

> Daniel Wendt, M.D., Ph.D., is entering the ring as CytoSorbents’ new vice president for cardiovascular medical affairs on the first day of the New Year. At the moment, Wendt is co-director of the Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Clinic, West German Heart and Vascular Center in Essen, Germany. He’s also a professor of cardiac surgery at Essen University Medical School. Release

Fraiser Kansteiner

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