PharmaVoice 100 honoree Brian Goff to replace Jackie Fouse as CEO of Agios Pharmaceuticals
Who: Former Alexion executive and 2016 PharmaVoice 100 honoree Brian Goff is slated to take the helm of Agios Pharmaceuticals Aug. 8 as the rare disease company’s current CEO, Jackie Fouse, transitions to lead its board of directors.
Background: Goff previously headed up commercial operations at Boston-based Alexion Pharmaceuticals until it was acquired by AstraZeneca in 2021 for $39 billion. Prior to that role, he served in several key positions at large pharma companies, including as vice president and head of the primary care business at Novartis and as president of hematology at Baxalta.
Why it matters: Agios is in the midst of launching its first rare disease therapy, marking a major milestone for the company after it sold its cancer treatment business in late 2020. The therapy, Pyrukynd, is the first FDA approved medication for pyruvate kinase deficiency, a rare blood disorder resulting in anemia. Agios is also seeking approval for several other indication areas.
Goff’s prior experience leading the commercialization of rare blood disease medications makes him well-suited to lead the company through these next steps, Fouse says.
“Throughout our history, Agios has engaged in deliberate and thoughtful long-term planning to drive positive impact for our people and patients,” she explained in a press release. “The time is right to evolve our leadership and deepen our genetically defined disease skill set to further drive our ability to develop life-changing treatments.”
Learn More: Goff’s unique knack for talent development may also serve Agios well as pandemic-related recruitment challenges persist. In 2016, he was named a PharmaVoice 100 honoree for his inspiring leadership and team building skills.
Biocom California names Miguel Motta vice president of strategic operations and head of its San Diego office amid biotech boom
Who: The life sciences trade organization Biocom California tapped former IRP Health CEO Miguel Motta as its new vice president of strategic operations and head of its San Diego office.
Background: The new role is fitting for Motta who has worked in the San Diego area for the majority of his more than 20-year career, mainly focused on the intersection of agriculture and biotechnology at companies like Monsanto, SGB and IRP Health. He’s also likely to bring a global perspective to the new role, having previously led operations in Switzerland, Spain, The Netherlands, France, Japan and Mexico.
Why it matters: Biocom California member companies in the San Diego area had a standout year in 2021, pulling in close to $3 billion in venture capital funding. The trade organization has also seen enormous growth in membership across the state, including in burgeoning hubs like Los Angeles. As vice president of strategic operations, Motta will play a role in further expanding growth of the life science industry statewide while strengthening San Diego as a major industry base.
“Miguel will be responsible for customizing our member benefits to our San Diego members and helping us engage even more closely on San Diego policy issues. Statewide, he will support the operational requirements and sophisticated implementation of our strategic plans in the short- and long-term,” says Joe Panetta, president and CEO of Biocom California.
BeiGene taps Chan Lee as new general counsel as it runs into U.S. regulatory roadblocks with cancer therapy
Who: BeiGene is bringing former Sanofi executive Chan Lee on as general counsel to oversee legal, compliance and intellectual property, effective July 18.
Background: Lee brings a wealth of knowledge about U.S. regulatory and compliance law to his new role, having served as Sanofi’s North America general counsel for six years and as chief counsel for a variety of business sectors, including vaccines, oncology and consumer health at Pfizer for eight years prior to that.
Why it matters: Lee is replacing BeiGene’s founding general counsel, Scott Samuels, who helped build the company’s global legal and compliance team. BeiGene is ramping up to commercialization of its cancer immunotherapy tislelizumab in the U.S. with Novartis. However, the FDA recently delayed review of the drug citing COVID-19 travel restrictions that prevent it from completing inspections of BeiGene’s facilities in China.
“Chan Lee is a proven leader in the biopharma industry and will be a valued partner to me and to our executive team. His expertise will strengthen BeiGene as we continue to expand globally and will be instrumental in advancing our business priorities,” said BeiGene co-founder and CEO, John V. Oyler.
EvolveImmune Therapeutics appoints Jay Fine president of research and development ahead of clinical programs for two therapies
Who: Jay Fine joined EvolveImmune Therapeutics, a clinical-stage oncology biotech company, earlier this month as president of research and development where he will guide a pipeline of therapeutics for solid tumor and chronic hematological cancers.
Background: Throughout his three-decades-long career, Fine led the development of first-in-class therapeutics in immunology, inflammatory diseases and tissue fibrosis at Merck, Roche and, most recently, Boehringer Ingelheim where he advanced more than 25 molecules into clinical development.
Why it matters: Backed by industry investors liker Pfizer and Takeda, and launched from the Sidi Chen Laboratory at Yale University, EvolveImmune is preparing to begin clinical trials for two first-in-category, first-in-human therapies — EVOLVE104 for the treatment of solid tumors and EVOLVE101 for the treatment of B cell malignant acute myeloid leukemia. Fine’s vast experience moving drugs through clinical development could be key to the success of these trials.
“We are out to solve big problems in the cancer immunotherapy space, and we are doing so by unraveling novel biology. To be successful, we need contributions from smart, talented, and experienced innovators like Fine who has proven himself to be a game changer,” said the CEO of EvolveImmune, Stephen Bloch.