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New hires at Ferring, Flexion and Immunocore

The latest movers in pharma

Ferring Pharmaceuticals appoints new cancer division lead

Ferring Pharmaceuticals has bolstered its oncology division team, appointing Sophie Opdyke (pictured below) as its vice president, general manager.

Sophie Opdyke

It’s the first major appointment for Ferring in 2019, and the company says Opdyke will lead the potential commercial launch of its investigational gene therapy for bladder cancer patients in her new role.

She will also take responsibility for leading the division’s day-to-day operations, along with shaping its long-term plan.

“We’re delighted to welcome Sophie as the leader of our new oncology division as we prepare for a significant expansion of our presence in this area,” said Paul Navarre, CEO, Ferring Pharmaceuticals. “Sophie’s depth of oncology experience and expertise are a significant asset to our U.S. leadership team.”

Opdyke, who has more than 20 years’ experience, joins Ferring from Pfizer, where she most recently served as vice president, immuno-oncology lead.

Flexion Therapeutics names chief strategy officer

Biopharmaceutical company Flexion Therapeutics has named Christina Willwerth as its chief strategy officer.

Willwerth joined Flexion back in 2009 and most recently served as the company’s senior vice president of program management and strategy.

Alongside the continuation of planning and executing the company’s strategic vision, Willwerth’s role has expanded to include the development of Flexion’s portfolio.

“During her tenure, Christina has served as a trusted advisor to our entire executive team, and she has played an integral role in shaping Flexion’s corporate priorities and advancing the development of our portfolio,” said Michael Clayman, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer. “With her collaborative leadership style, strategic vision, and dedication to our mission, I am confident that Christina will continue to factor centrally in our future success in this important new role.”

David Berman joins Immunocore

Immunocore has bolstered its R&D efforts after it named David Berman (pictured below) as its head of R&D.

David Berman

Berman initially joined the biotech back in September last year with the aim to advance the company’s lead candidate IMCgp100 towards commercialisation.

He also worked on progressing the company’s pipeline of TCR candidate through clinical development.

He said: “At the heart of cancer immunity is a T cell recognising a cancer antigen and Immunocore has led the way in converting this into a therapeutic. By unlocking the T cell receptor with its leading technology platform, Immunocore’s technology has the potential to bring the benefits of IO to those patients and tumours who do not respond to current therapies. I am excited and honoured to be charged with driving Immunocore’s research and development efforts forward.”

Over his career, Berman has worked on immuno-oncology programmes at all stages of development. Before Immunocore Berman most recently served as senior vice president and head of the AstraZeneca Immuno-oncology franchise, where he was responsible for early stage oncology programme MedImmune.

Commenting on Berman’s appointment, Bahija Jallal, Chief Executive Officer of Immunocore, said: “David has a unique pedigree in Immuno-oncology and is ideally qualified to drive our R&D operations at the exciting and important time in our development. His appointment as Head of R&D strengthens Immunocore's leadership team and supports us as we advance our growing pipeline of TCR candidates through clinical development and our lead candidate, IMCgp100, towards commercialisation.”

The new chief exec also hints at more changes to the senior leadership line-up, after she announced that her immediate priority for the company is “to continue to strengthen the management team with the right scientific and leadership expertise to move the organisation forward”.

29th January 2019

From: Sales

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