Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Cambridge, MA, USA) founder, president and CEO Joshua Boger (right) has announced his retirement effective in May 2009. To succeed him, the board of directors has appointed Matthew Emmens (below, right) president and has announced that he will transition to president, CEO and chairman upon Boger's retirement. Emmens has been a Vertex director since 2004, and he previously served as CEO of Astra Merck and of Shire plc, where he continues as chairman. Charles Sanders, Vertex's chairman, will remain as lead director on the board following Emmens' appointment as chairman. Boger will also remain an active member of the board.

“I founded Vertex in 1989 with a vision to pursue a new approach in drug discovery and develop medicines that would fundamentally change the treatment of serious diseases,” Boger says. “I am very proud of what Vertex has accomplished, and we now stand on the cusp of great clinical and medical success. I welcome Matt, and have great confidence in his extensive experience leading companies through launches of breakthrough products, to take the reins and guide Vertex as we bring our innovations to patients.”

Lance Berman, most recently senior medical director and global medical team leader at Pfizer, has been named chief medical officer of CPEX Pharmaceuticals (Exeter, NH, USA). He succeeds Robert M. Stote, who served as CMO of CPEX since its spin-off from Bentley Pharmaceuticals in June 2008. Stote will continue as a clinical consultant for CPEX.

Venture capital firm Atlas Venture (Boston and London) has promoted Bruce Booth to partner in the life sciences group. Booth joined the firm in 2005 and currently sits on the boards of Stromedix and Zafgen and is chairman and cofounder of Miragen.

Personalized medicine company DxS (Manchester, UK) has announced the appointment of Jeff Devlin as chief operating officer. Prior to DxS, he held positions as executive vice president and executive committee member of Shire Pharmaceuticals.

Neurobiological Technologies (Emeryville, CA, USA) has named William A. Fletcher as the company's acting CEO. Fletcher has been a director since February 2007 and has served as chairman of Teva Pharmaceuticals North America since December 2004.

Inspire Pharmaceuticals (Durham, NC, USA) has named former president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Alan F. Holmer to its board of directors. Holmer previously served for two years on Inspire's board, resigning in February 2007 to accept an appointment in the US Treasury Department. He recently completed service as Special Envoy for China and the Strategic Economic Dialogue.

Gen-Probe (San Diego) has announced the appointment of Eric Lai as senior vice president, R&D. Lai was most recently vice president, pharmacogenetics experimental project coordination and analysis, at GlaxoSmithKline.

Genocea Biosciences (Cambridge, MA, USA), in conjunction with a $23 million Series A financing, has named Staph Leavenworth Bakali as its new CEO. Leavenworth Bakali, formerly COO of both ID Biomedical and PowderJect Pharmaceuticals, replaces Genocea cofounder Robert Paull, managing general partner of Lux Capital Management. Paull will remain on Genocea's board of directors.

Trinity Biotech (Dublin) has announced the appointment of James D. Merselis to its board as a non-executive director. Merselis is currently president and CEO of Alverix.

Aerovance (Berkeley, CA, USA) has named Babatunde A. Otulana as senior vice president and chief medical officer. Prior to joining the company, Otulana was senior vice president of development and chief medical officer with Aradigm.

Hans Pauli will step down as chief financial officer of OctoPlus (Leiden, The Netherlands) effective on March 31, 2009. The company's executive board will aim to fill the vacancy left by Pauli as soon as possible.

Nabriva Therapeutics (Vienna) has appointed William Prince as chief medical officer. He joins Nabriva from Surface Logix, where he served as chief development officer.

Stephen B. Shrewsbury has been named chief medical officer and senior vice president of clinical and regulatory affairs of AVI BioPharma (Portland, OR, USA). Shrewsbury brings 30 years of research, clinical development and product commercialization experience to AVI. Most recently, he served as chief medical officer and senior vice president, clinical development and regulatory affairs for Adamas Pharmaceuticals.

3SBio (Shenyang, China) has appointed Bo Tan as chief financial officer. He joined the company in October 2008, acting as the financial advisor for the company. Previously, he served as the executive director and a member of the investment committee for Bohai Industrial Fund Management Company, a private equity fund in China. Earlier stops include Eli Lilly & Company, EMD Pharmaceuticals and Lehman Brothers Asia.

Vojo Vukovic has been appointed vice president, clinical research at Synta Pharmaceuticals (Lexington, MA, USA). He has over 15 years of experience in oncology drug development and joins Synta from Pfizer, where he served as global medical lead for Sutent and axitinib in a number of cancer indications.

Greg Weaver has been named CFO and senior vice president of Poniard Pharmaceuticals (S. San Francisco, CA, USA). He was most recently CFO of Talyst, and during 2006 he served as senior vice president and CFO of Sirna Therapeutics.