Changing Faces: Digital and supplier hires from February 2024

Changing Faces

For the digital health and pharma suppliers we cover, February was a month of changes, with CEOs coming and going (sometimes dramatically), and several other C-Suite and board shake-ups.

New CEO in at life sciences AI outfit. Campbell, California-based Saama, whose AI platform powered the clinical trial that led to Pfizer’s COVID vaccine, is getting a new CEO. Vivek Sharma, who has served since the summer of 2022, is stepping down “for personal reasons” (as per the company) and Bhaskar Sambasivan is stepping into the lead role. Sambasivan’s 30-year background in the space includes leading CitiusTech as CEO, and serving as chief strategy officer and president of patient services at pharmaphorum parent company EVERSANA.

Leadership change at UK lab vendor. EMS Healthcare, a provider of medical and research lab facilities based in Cheshire, England, also has a new CEO in Dr Clare Grace, who is succeeding outgoing CEO Keith Austin as part of a planned transition. Grace served most recently as Parexel’s first chief patient officer. Her career prior to that encompasses leadership roles at Syneos Health and AstraZeneca.

PhRMA Board announces new leadership. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of American (PhRMA), one of the main lobbying groups for the industry, announced that Gilead Sciences chair and CEO Daniel O’Day has assumed the role of chair of the board for the organisation, succeeding Novartis’s Dr Vas Narasimhan. Additionally, Pfizer CEO and chair Dr Albert Bourla will serve as board chair-elect and Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson will be treasurer.

Unexpected shake-up at Exscientia. News broke in February that decorated Exscientia CEO Dr Andrew Hopkins had been dismissed over “inappropriate relationships” with two employees. Board chair David Nicholson also resigned over his handling of the incident. Dave Hallett, who has been serving as chief science officer and chief operating officer, is taking over in an interim capacity. Read our full coverage here.

BC Platforms’ Silvola moves on. Real-world data and analytics enablers BC Platforms also had a CEO change on leap day, with CEO Tero Silvola departing the company after 10 years to step into the role of CEO at global IT firm Modirum. BC Platforms announced that COO Mikaela Bruhammar will take over as interim CEO until a permanent leader for the company is found.

Another AI clinical trial company makes two C-Suite hires. Tel Aviv’s QuantHealth, an AI-powered clinical trial design and simulation company followed up its recent $17M funding announcement with a pair of C-level hires who happen to share a first name. Dr Adam Petrich, an oncologist with bona fides at Daiichi-Sankyo and AbbVie, is in as the company’s first chief medical officer, while Adam Goldberger, whose most recent gig was chief business officer at RenalSense, will serve as the company’s inaugural chief financial officer.

UK tech vendor hires CTO. Bionical Solutions, a UK tech company that serves pharma, biotech, and healthcare companies, as well as the NHS, has tapped Andrew Seward as its new chief technology officer for the digital business. Seward comes from Experian Customer Services, where he served as head of data product development. He’s also the founder of Tech Nottingham, a large community organisation formed to promote Nottingham as a centre for tech.

One more C-Suite hire, for UK instrument manufacturer. Lab equipment maker SPT Labtech, based in Melbourne, UK, has a new chief commercial officer in Morten Frost Norgreen. In fact, Norgreen will be the first to hold the newly created position. He served in the same capacity at Veracyte and before that held leadership roles at Agilent Technologies and IQVIA.

CDMO adds two to leadership team. Rentschler Biopharma, a Laupheim, Germany-based CDMO that also has an office in Milford, MA in the United States, made two appointments to its global SLT, both internal promotions. In Laupheim, Senta Brandt will serve as head of transformation, “driving continuous improvement and innovation”, while in Milford Gerrick Rodriguez will lead the company’s IT group as global head of IT.

Three more supplier hires. More hires than not were C-level, but there were several other announcements of note.

  • Life sciences logistics experts Biocair appointed a new general manager to lead their US business. Jeff Stone has worked in contract manufacturing, specialty logistics, and private equity for over 13 years in the space.
  • Cambridge, UK precision medicine start-up Sano Genetics hired Dr Paul Wicks, an early investor in the company and a long-time neuropsychologist and researcher in the field of ALS, as its new VP of neuroscience. Wicks has spent the past five years advising digital health and pharma companies, including Ada Health, Woebot, AstraZeneca, and Biogen.
  • UK pharma commercialisation technology company Diaceutics named Ken Ruppel its new VP of scientific and medical services. A 25-year industry vet, Ruppel most recently held the position of VP of precision medicine at Amplity Health.

And three for the boards. We round out the round-up, as is tradition, with some board appointments.

  • Aizon, which offers an AI-powered software as a service for pharma manufacturing, add Scott B. Waldman to its board as an independent director. Founder of consulting firm Waldman Growth Strategies, Waldman has 25 years of experience in CDMOs and pharmas, mostly around growth strategies and M&A.
  • Connected pill bottle maker AdhereTech announced the addition of Paul Sekhri to its board of directors. Sekhri’s 30-year-plus career in pharma includes stints at Teva, Sanofi, and Novartis, as well as CEO roles at vTv Therapeutics, eGenesis, and Lycera.
  • Global CRO TATAA Biocenter tapped Fabienne Deckert for its scientific advisory board. Deckert holds a PhD in experimental and clinical pharmacology and boasts 30 years in the industry. He’s the first new addition to the board since it was formed in November.

That’s it for this round-up. Remember, if you’ve had a recent appointment and you work in or around the pharma space, we want to hear about it. Please send your press releases to to be included in future editions of Changing Faces.