Movers and Shakers August 2015

NuCana Appoints Chris McGuigan as Chief Scientific Officer


The clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, and proprietary owners of ProTide technology, appointed Professor Chris McGuigan as its new Chief Scientific Officer. McGuigan, the original inventor of ProTide technology, has more than 30 years experience in phosphoramidate chemistry—generating more than 4,500 new chemical entities throughout his career. He was also awarded the Descartes Prize in 2001 for his achievements in ProTide chemistry. Currently McGuigan is a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. In 2014, he was appointed by the Economy Prime Minister of the Welsh Government as Chair of the Life Sciences Hub Wales Ltd. NuCana’s CEO, Hugh Griffith says, “We are delighted that Chris has chosen to join our team. He is one of the world’s most respected medicinal chemists.”

Vectura Appoints James Ward-Lilley as New CEO

A leader in airway disease pharmaceutical development, Vectura appointed James Ward-Lilley as CEO and Executive Director, starting in October. Ward-Lilley comes from AstraZeneca where he spent 28 years. Most recently, as VP Respiratory, Inflammation & Autoimmunity, GPPS, he lead the company’s strategy in those therapeutic areas which included the acquisitions of Almirall’s respiratory business and Pearl Therapeutics. He also lead AstraZeneca’s business in China to become the number one pharmaceutical company in the market in 2008.

“His significant relevant experience in the respiratory market which he has gained within a major global pharmaceutical company will be a considerable asset for Vectura,” Bruno Angelici, Vectura Chairman, said in a statement. “James joins at an exciting and important time for Vectura and we are confident that the company will continue to grow from strength to strength under his leadership.”


Alliance Life Sciences

The life science consultancy and technology provider, has expanded its executive team. Teresa Ferlo will now serve as VP of Global Client Development for Alliance. Ferlo has more than 25 years of experience in various life science industry sectors and previously held positions at companies including IMS Health and Managed Market Insights & Technology.

AnaptysBio, Inc.

A leader in the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies for inflammation and immune-oncology, AnaptysBio appointed Hollings Renton and John Schmid to its Board of Directors. As members of the board, Renton and Schmid will work closely with the company on strategy planning to help build a strong pipeline of new therapeutic opportunities in the inflammation and immune-oncology fields.

Area 23

Noriko Yokoi joined Area 23, a FCB company, as EVP, Group Strategic Planning Director. In this newly created role, Yokoi will oversee the full strategic planning department. Yokoi brings more than 15 years of experience in planning and most recently worked at Health4Brands (H4B), where she led the strategic planning department as EVP, Director of Customer Experience.

Consilium Strategic Communications

The company recently appointed Chris Gardner as a Partner. In this position, he will oversee campaigns and crisis communication. Gardner has spent more than 15 years providing top-rate communications for leading pharmaceutical companies, most recently at Citigate Dewe Rogerson. Consilium Strategic Communications is a leader in communications advisory for healthcare companies across the globe.

Essa Pharma Inc.

The pharma company appointed Dr. David Parkinson to its Board of Directors to serve as an independent director. Currently a venture partner at New Enterprise Associates, Dr. Parkinson previously served as President and CEO of the San Francisco-based biotechnology company, Nodality. He also served as Senior Vice President, Oncology Research and Development at Biogen Idec. According to the company, Dr. Parkinson will bring an invaluable perspective to its strategic decisions.


Huya Bioscience International expanded its senior management team with the appointment of Yoshiki Shimamura as Vice President for Japan operations. Shimamura brings more than 25 years experience in the biopharma industry and valuable experience in clinical research organizations from his work with organizations based in Japan and South Korea, including Novocure KK, Hospira Japan Co. Ltd., Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical, Amgen and Taiho Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.


Gordon K. “Rusty” Johnson was promoted to the new role of Chief Business Officer at KemPharm, the company dedicated to pro drug development for severe medical conditions. Since 2013, Johnson led KemPharm through strategic financing and business opportunities, including the development of their most advanced product candidate KP201/APAP.

Merz North America

Specializing in the development and commercialization of aesthetics, dermatology and neurosciences treatments, Merz appointed David Dobrowski as Vice President and Head of North American Research and Development. In his previous 23 years in the industry, Dobrowski held leadership roles at Salix Pharmaceuticals and UCB Biosciences. He will head all medical, regulatory and product safety functions for Merz in North America.

NeuroCog Trials

Providing cognition services for pharmaceutical trials in more than 25 countries, the company named Josh Spiegel as Chief Operating Officer. Before joining NeuroCog, Spiegel was a founding partner and Principal at Cypress Associates LLC. He will be responsible for strategic and operational growth.

OncoSec Medical

Richard B. Slansky is now OncoSec Medical’s new CFO and will lead financial operations and manage budgets for the company. Slansky’s previous experience includes 25 years in senior management positions, most recently at GenMark Diagnostics.


Joseph J. Echevarria was appointed to Pfizer’s Board of Directors as part of the  Audit, Regulatory and Compliance and Science and Technology Committees. Echevarria previously worked with Deloitte LLP for 36 years in leadership roles including as the company’s CEO.

Strand Life Sciences

Scott A. Storrer, President of Strand Life Sciences, was recently appointed as the company’s CEO. He will be responsible for all strategy and worldwide business operations. Throughout his time with the company, Storrer has overseen the U.S. launch of StrandAdvantage, a therapeutic option that fast-tracks the analysis of therapeutically actionable cancer genes and pairs them with relevant FDA-approved targeted cancer therapies.


You May Also Like

How To Achieve Orchestrated Customer Engagement

Many life sciences companies are just beginning to formulate or implement multichannel or omnichannel ...

Foolish Followship

Almost 10 years ago I wrote an article called “Fear of Firstness,” which discussed ...

Orphan Drugs Catch Fire in Big Pharma

The year 2014 marked the best year ever for drugs approved for rare diseases. ...