Changing Faces: Digital and supplier hires from January 2024
It’s honestly getting harder to separate AI-powered pharma companies from pharma-focused AI companies as AI becomes more and more embedded in biopharma operations. We included BenevolentAI in our pharma and biotech hires round-up, but Quris-AI is here. We’re playing it by ear based on how much the company is focused on services vs their internal pipeline (if any). Anyway, read on for all the hires we tracked in AI and DTx companies, as well as more traditional pharma suppliers.
Quris-AI brings on big pharma vets. Boston and Tel Aviv-based Quris-AI, a technology company creating a “Bio-AI clinical prediction platform” that includes work in drug discovery and development, made two new hire announcements in January, both big pharma heavy-hitters. Michel Vounatsos, the former CEO of Biogen, joined the company’s Board of Directors, while Yossi Ben Amram, a former regional resident at Merck & Co., came on as president.
“Adding accomplished pharmaceutical leaders such as Yossi Ben Amram and Michel Vounatsos to our leadership team will be invaluable in our push for a pharma Bio-AI revolution. Both bring a deep understanding of industry dynamics, relationships, global growth strategies, and unique perspectives that will be tremendously beneficial as we continue to scale,” Dr Isaac Bentwich, CEO and founder of Quris-AI, said in a statement.
Ginkgo Bioworks rolls out Biopharma Advisory Board. Another AI-powered platform company, Gingko Bioworks, which is creating a horizontal platform for cell programming, announced the formation of a six-member council to advise on their ongoing biopharma operations. The Board includes Norbert Bischofberger, president and CEO of Kronos Bio; Jeff Legos, EVP and global head of oncology and hematology for Novartis; John Maraganore, former CEO of Alnylam and former BIO Chair; Paolo Martini, chief scientific officer of International Therapeutic Research Centers and founder of rare diseases at Moderna; Dr Mark McCamish, president and CEO at IconOVir Bio; and Christi Shaw, former CEO of Kite Bio who has also held leaderships at Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, and Novartis.
Gene testing lab taps new CEO. UK-based genetic screening laboratory Informed Genomics appointed a new CEO, Simon Davis. Davis worked for a number of years at Everything Genetic, another UK gene testing laboratory. Before that, he spent time at Celgene and Abbott Labs.
New COO in at CGT supplier. Cell and gene therapy manufacturing equipment provider Cellular Origins, a subsidiary of technology and product development company TTP, has tapped Peter Crossley as its new chief operations officer. Crossley has been with TTP for 17 years as a consultant, much of that time spent in life sciences.
Enhanc3D makes C-Suite hire. Cambridge, UK-based Enhanc3D Genomics, which has developed a next-gen gene sequencing platform for drug discovery, brought in Dr Daniel Turner as its new chief scientific officer. He comes off more than 20 years at Oxford Nanopore Technologies, where he served in a variety of leadership roles. He’ll support the company as it moves towards commercialisation.
Cleanroom leaders add new C-level role. AES Clean Technologies has appointed Brian Weed as its new chief revenue officer, tasked with developing new revenue streams for the Pennsylvania-based cleanroom provider. Weed comes from Controlled Contamination Services, an AES channel partner, where he spent 10 years in leadership roles.
Two companies target the US market with new sales hires. Two UK firms – organ-on-a-chip company CN Bio and small molecule CDMO Onyx Scientific – announced new sales hires focused on the US market this month. CN Bio hired Joe Parisi, an experienced life sciences salesman, as US director of sales, while Onyx appointed Anthony Harbour, previously of Alevi and ParaPRO, as business development manager in North America.
API maker adds new engineering role. Veranova, a Pennsylvania-based manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) is consolidating its engineering functions under a single VP of global engineering for the first time, tapping Chris Holmes for the role. Prior to this appointment, Holmes held leadership roles at MacroGenics, Invitrogen/Life Technologies, and Catalent.
Three Advisory Board appointments. Several companies announced high-profile additions to their Scientific Advisory Boards.
- Pepper Bio, self-styled “Google Maps for drug discovery”, announced that Dr Martin Gershon, a six-time start-up founder and current managing partner and CIO at Endeavor Life Sciences Venture Fund, is joining up as a senior advisor.
- Lindus Health, an innovative research organisation that calls itself an “anti-CRO”, added Robert S Langer, the renowned MIT professor and co-founder of Moderna, to its Advisory Board.
- Cellular Origins, the CGT manufacturer we mentioned above, established its Advisory Board with founding members John Campbell, founder of Resolution Therapeutics; Dr Matthew Li, director of cell therapy at Tome Biosciences; Dr Paul Roberts, co-founder of CMR Surgical; and Geoffrey Hodge, former CEO of SOTIO Biotech.
Last, but not least, Board news. We also had three companies this month with changes on their Boards of Directors.
- Gene editing company InVivo Biosystems has a new Board chair, C Palani Palaniappan. A Board member for the last five years, Palaniappan’s career includes innovation leadership at a number of biotech companies.
- Mental health precision medicine company Feel Therapeutics announced two new Board members: Michel Vounatsos, former Biogen CEO (who had a busy month, as he also joined the board at Quris.AI, see above) joined as chair of their advisory board, while Amy Kruse, chief investment officer of Satori Neuro, joined the Board of Directors as an observer.
- And one last AI hire: Generative AI drug discovery company Absci added Sir Menelas “Mene” Pangalos to both its Board of Directors and its Advisory Board. In addition to being a bona fide knight, Pangalos formerly served as EVP of BioPharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca.
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 email@example.com to be included in future editions of Changing Faces.