Gene therapy company Calimmune (Tucson, AZ, USA) has announced the appointment of Salim Yazji (right) as executive vice president and chief medical officer. Yazji previously served as a vice president and therapeutic area head of oncology at Baxter International and was most recently vice president and global therapeutics head of oncology for Baxalta, Baxter's spinoff of its bioscience business unit.

“Salim's depth of experience and proven leadership in shepherding innovative products from pre-clinical development through product approval will be vital to Calimmune as we move our next-generation hematopoietic stem cell therapies forward in the clinic,” said Louis Breton, CEO of Calimmune. “I believe that his direct global pharmaceutical product development experience will also provide us with important insights as we advance our therapeutic candidates toward commercialization and seek to establish partnerships to further validate our pipeline programs.”

Irina Antonijevic has been appointed to the newly created position of chief medical officer at privately held Vasopharm (Würzburg, Germany). She has over 15 years of global drug development experience, most recently serving as global head, early development in neurology, multiple sclerosis and ophthalmology at Sanofi Genzyme.

Emerging immuno-oncology company Akriveia Therapeutics (Thousand Oaks, CA, USA) has appointed C. Glenn Begley as CSO and Margaret Karow as vice president of discovery and preclinical development. Begley was most recently CSO at TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals and was previously vice president and global head of hematology and oncology research at Amgen. Prior to joining Akriveia, Karow held executive director roles in the biosimilars business unit and in discovery research at Amgen.

Life science investment and management firm Accelerator (Seattle) has named Bruce L.A. Carter (right) to its board of directors. Carter brings extensive experience in the pharma and biotech industries. An affiliate biochemistry professor at the University of Washington for the past 30 years, he formerly served as CEO of ZymoGenetics and executive chairman of the board of Immune Design Corp. He is the chairman of the boards at Xencor and the Infectious Disease Research Institute in Seattle, and currently serves on the board of directors of Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Mirati Therapeutics, TB Alliance and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories.

Jeffrey M. Dayno has been named to the board of directors of Atrin Pharmaceuticals (Doylestown, PA, USA). He serves as chief medical officer of Egalet and was previously vice president, global medical affairs at ViroPharma.

Tocagen (San Diego) has announced the appointment of Martin “Marty” Duvall as CEO and a member of the board of directors. Outgoing CEO Harry Gruber will assume the role of president, R&D, and will remain a member of the board. Duvall has more than 30 years of experience in oncology drug development and commercialization. Prior to joining Tocagen he served as executive vice president, chief commercial officer of ARIAD Pharmaceuticals.

Susan Lee Lindquist, former director of the Whitehead Institute, has died of cancer. A professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, Lindquist was a widely respected researcher with a nearly 40-year career and a global reputation for biomedical innovation, making numerous, invaluable contributions to the study of protein folding. She was best known for her work on prions—proteins that exhibit an unusual ability to exist in multiple stable structural states, with altered functions depending on the state. Using yeast, she and her colleagues demonstrated that prions have the capacity to drive change in an organism's inherited characteristics without changing its DNA or RNA—relying instead on an ability to change how proteins fold.

Drug delivery company Cocoon Biotech (Boston) has announced the appointment of Steve Myers as chief medical officer. Myers is board-certified in internal medicine and rheumatology and has more than 30 years of clinical and biomedical research experience in multiple settings. Prior to joining Cocoon, he was senior medical director at Eli Lilly.

Reginald Seeto (right) has joined Ardelyx (Fremont, CA, USA) in the newly created position of COO. He brings more than 13 years of pharma industry experience in strategic corporate development and marketing, most recently serving as vice president, head of partnering and strategy for AstraZeneca. Earlier, he served as company president of AstraZeneca Thailand and before that, as executive vice president of corporate development and strategy for MedImmune.

Eric van Hooren has been appointed chief development officer of Xenikos (Nijmegen, the Netherlands). He brings over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, previously serving as director of clinical operations at Acerta-Pharma.

Rigontec (Bonn/Munich, Germany and Cambridge, MA, USA) has announced the appointment of Jörg Vollmer as CSO. Vollmer brings more than 17 years of drug discovery and development experience, including serving as CEO and managing director at Nexigen and managing director and site head at Pfizer's oligonucleotide therapeutics unit in Düsseldorf, Germany.