From executive to financier


From executive to financier

29.06.2015 - Ex-Sanofi-CEO Christopher Viehbacher has been named Managing Partner of Waypoint Capital’s Gurnet Point Capital fund worth US$2bn.

Waypoint Capital is the business enterprise for investments associated with the Bertarelli family. The fund managed by Viehbacher will have an initial allocation of US$2bn (€1.8bn) of capital to invest, with a mandate to lead its global healthcare investment strategy.

“We have considerable capital to invest, but to succeed in the healthcare market requires more than money; it requires the experience, ability and relationships to create successful partnerships; the development and regulatory competency; and the know-how to create value from individual molecules, devices or technologies,” commented Ernesto Bertarelli, Chairman of Waypoint. “[Viehbacher] has these qualities in abundance.”

Viehbacher was abruptly removed from his role of Sanofi’s Chief Executive Officer by the board of directors on 29 October last year. He had been at the helm of the French drugmaker for six years, and had frequently clashed with the board of directors. 

With his dismissal at Sanofi, he also laid down his roles as chairman of Genzyme and, shortly after, his position as president of pharmaceutical business association EFPIA.

03.12.2014 Karus Therapeutics, a developer of medicines for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and cancer, has taken on two stars from the pharma world to strengthen its R&D team – Simon Roitt and Peter Finan.

Simon Roitt © Karus

Bringing 20 years of clinical development experience in the healthcare sector, Simon Roitt has been appointed as Head of Clinical Development at the UK company. With previous senior roles at Roche, GE Healthcare and Biocompatibles, Simon who joined Karus in August, will implement the company’s clinical development plans. As Karus’ newly appointed Head of Biology, Peter Finan has an extensive career in the pharma industry and has held a number of senior roles at Novartis over a period of 16 years. His last position at the pharma giant was VP, Global Head in respiratory disease. In his new role, Peter will work on Karus’ most advanced programme – a treatment for inflammatory disorders.

17.11.2014 French specialty vaccine developer Abivax has appointed Karl Birth­istle as Vice President Global Regulatory Affairs. At the same time, his colleague Daniel Kenny was named Chief Commercial Officer & VP of Business Development at the firm.


A physician by trade, Birthistle moved sideways into the pharma and biotech industries, where he has held positions focussing on drug, biologics and vaccines development, working at British SmithKlineBeecham, Dutch Pharming, Austrian Baxter Bio­Science and other firms. His most recent post was as Director of Clinical Development and Safety Assessments for Philip Morris in Switzerland. Birthistle remains Deputy Head of the Clinical Review Division of Swissmedic, the Swiss regulatory authority.

13.11.2014 Jamal Temsamani has been appointed as Director of Drug Development and Corporate at VECT-­HORUS, a Marseille-based biotechnology company that designs and develops peptide vectors facilitating the delivery of drugs or imaging agents.


Temsamani is also a member of the VECT-HORUS Management Committee. The molecular biologist most recently held the post of Vice President of R&D at French generic drug maker CLL Pharma and at Synt:em before it was acquired by CLL. He also worked at Hybridon’s Europe arm, where he was Scientific Director. Temsamani has published dozens of scientific articles, and is a co-inventor on 40 patents.

10.11.2014 German Alzheimer's specialist Probiodrug in November invited Inge Lues – who has acted as Chief Development Officer since 2013 – to join the board.

© Probiodrug

 Chairman of the Supervisory Board Erich Platzer said Lues had been instrumental in the company’s recent IPO on the Euronext Amsterdam. Before joining Probiodrug in 2008 as a research and development advisor, Lues was Head of Global Drug Discovery and Non-Clinical Development Pharma at Merck KGaA. Prior to that, she led Merck’s Business Area in Central Nervous Systems.

30.10.2014 Scottish specialist reagent manufacturer Link Technologies Ltd. has appointed David Ricketts as its new CEO. Ricketts has taken over the company’s lead from John Bremner in October.

© Link Technologies

Ricketts, a graduate of Oxford University, spent the last two years as CEO of stem cell specialist FibromEd. Before that, he was CEO of Belgian Pharma Diagnostics and also focused on business development for various smaller R&D companies.

27.10.2014 Sir Philip Hampton will join the Board of GlaxoSmithKline plc as Non-Executive Director next January. He will also take over the role of Chairman later that year. Hampton is currently Chairman of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc.

© Royal Bank of Scotland

Prior to that, he held the position of Chairman of J Sainsbury plc, and Group Finance Director at Lloyds TSB Group.  He is Senior Independent Director of Anglo American plc, Chairman of their Remuneration Committee and member of their Audit Committee. Hampton was knighted in the New Year Honours 2007.

24.10.2014 Former Co-Head of Global Healthcare Investment Banking at J.P. Morgan, Andrea Ponti, has taken over the role of non-executive director at Cell Medica, the London-based cellular therapeutics company.

© Cell Media

With an extensive network of contacts and over 25 years of experience in advising leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies across the globe, Andrea Ponti will play an important role in developing partnership and commercialisation opportunities for Cell Media's immunotherapy products. Before joining J.P. Morgan in 2008, Ponti was Partner, Managing Director and Head of European Healthcare, Consumer and Retail investment banking at Goldman Sachs. In 1996, he founded the European Healthcare Group.

17.10.2014 Jarrod Longcor the former Vice President of Corporate Development for Rib-X Pharmaceuticals has been appointed CBO at Avillion LLP.

© Avillion LLP

Jarrod Longcor brings over 18 years of pharmaceutical and biotech experience to the London-based drug development company. In his previous role at Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, Inc (now Melinta Therapeutics), Longcor was responsible for identifying and concluding several critical collaborations for the company. Prior to Rib-X, he held key positions in several small to mid-sized biotech companies where he was responsible for business development and strategic planning. At Avillion, Longcor will be responsible for structuring, negotiating and executing strategic alliances, co-development agreements, and financial instruments, as well as providing management and strategic leadership to the organisation.

16.10.2014 Biochemistry professor Michel Bouvier has been appointed as new chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board at Strasbourg-based Domain Therapeutics.

© Domain Therapeutics

As professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at the University of Montreal, and also CEO of the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC), Michel Bouvier brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the board at Domain Therapeutics. The biopharmaceutical company specialises in the research and development of new drug candidates targeting G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and will assemble a team of experts in drug discovery and development. In the coming months, Bouvier will work closely with the Domain Therapeutics’ management team to assemble a group of academic and industrial peers.

08.10.2014 Karolinska Development has announced the appointment of its new CEO. Oncology expert Bruno Lucidi has been appointed CEO of the wholly owned subsidiary KDev Oncology and the portfolio companies Aprea and Akinion Pharmaceuticals.

© Karolinska Development

Lucidi has extensive international experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Before becoming CEO at Karolinska Development, Bruno previously held positions as CEO of Idenix and Chairman of Pharmasset, where he contributed to maturing the companies to a level that eventually resulted in both companies being acquired by multinational pharmaceutical companies. Lucidi has also held senior positions within Bristol-Myers Squibb and Global Head of Oncology Strategy, at Johnson & Johnson as Global Head of Oncology Strategy from Drug Discovery to Market and at GlaxoSmithKline.

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