May 27, 2021 – Life sciences search specialist Coulter Partners has placed Francisco Salva as president and CEO of Azitra Inc. in Branford, CT. He replaces Rick Andrews who is retiring. Client partner Chris Palatucci led the assignment. “We are excited to bring in Francisco’s remarkable experience and leadership,” said Travis Whitfill, co-founder, executive director of advanced technology and chair, scientific advisory board at Azitra. “His appointment represents a progression and enhancement of the Azitra mission, and we once again thank Coulter Partners for their professional support in achieving this.”
Mr. Salva brings to Azitra a proven dedication to building companies, including over a decade in biopharmaceutical executive leadership and a decade in life science venture capital and investment banking. His growth-oriented experience transcends numerous business functions, including corporate finance, business development, portfolio management and clinical operations. Mr. Salva most recently served as president and CEO of Complexa, a clinical stage company developing innovative therapies for fibrotic and inflammatory diseases.
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Prior to Complexa, Mr. Salva was a founder and vice president of operations at Acerta Pharma, which developed acalabrutinib, a second generation Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitor, prior to being acquired by AstraZeneca for $4 billion to date. Before that, Mr. Salva served as senior director of corporate development at Pharmacyclics, where he participated in the strategic turnaround of the company that reprioritized focus and efforts on ibrutinib, a key driver of AbbVie’s $21 billion acquisition of the company.
Azitra is a synthetic biology, clinical-stage, dermatology company that combines the power of the microbiome with cutting-edge genetic engineering to treat skin disease. The company was founded in 2014 by scientists from Yale University and works with world-leading scientists in dermatology, microbiology and genetic engineering to advance its biopharmaceutical programs to treat cancer therapy associated skin rashes, targeted orphan indications, and atopic dermatitis.
“Azitra’s groundbreaking, microbial dermatology platform is at the forefront of one of the most dynamic areas of synthetic biology,” said Mr. Salva. “The company’s scientific groundwork offers the potential to leverage the multitude of mechanistic signaling pathways developed by microbes over thousands of years of evolution. The company has a strong foundation in place, backed by intriguing science, talented people, and a clinically ready pipeline. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead Azitra into the next stage of development.”
Life Sciences Sector Grows
Coulter Partners is a board- and senior-level global executive search specialist focused exclusively on life sciences. The firm works closely with those at the cutting edge of innovation in the industry to understand their challenges. With an extensive global network and expertise gained over 25 years in the sector, Coulter Partners have become trusted advisers on leadership in the pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical technology, diagnostics, health tech, CRO and services sectors. The firm also works closely with the global investor community, hiring for their own teams as well as building the boards and executive leadership teams of their portfolio companies. Its team of 95 completes over 260 assignments a year working from 14 offices across the U.K., EMEA, the U.S. and APAC.
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With the integration of technology into all facets of everyday life, the life sciences and healthcare industry is hardly alone in facing technology-related issues. These take on increased importance when they impact health, disease diagnosis, treatment and, ultimately, human longevity. Having the right leaders in place to sort through these complex challenges, say recruiters serving the sector, is critical — especially those with vision and transformational skills.
Bianca Coulter founded Coulter Partners in 2003 and has 25 years’ experience of board and C-level global search, building the leadership teams of early stage, mid cap and global multinationals in over 20 countries. Through appointing the best leadership, Ms. Coulter channels her judgement and considerable expertise to impact patient benefit and assist those at the cutting edge of life science to achieve their goals.
Dr. Palatucci, who is based in the firm’s Cambridge, MA office, focuses on board-level and senior roles across a broad range of functions, with emphasis on technical appointments – CTO, CSO, CMO, VP, R&D. Clients range from start-ups through major pharmaceutical companies. He joined Coulter Partners in 2014. Previously, he started and grew the life sciences practice for an established Boston boutique executive search firm before starting his own search practice. Before entering executive search Dr. Palatucci had a 15-year career in the life sciences industry, including senior management roles at Interleukin Genetics and the Athena Diagnostics division of Elan Pharmaceuticals.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media