February 23, 2018 – Executive search firm Coulter Partners has placed David Michelson as the new chief medical officer of Proclara Biosciences in Cambridge, MA. Managing director Nicholas Green led the assignment.
“David is a seasoned leader, with deep research, clinical and regulatory expertise, including significant experience in neurology and I thank the Coulter Partners team for their outstanding work in achieving this high caliber appointment,” said Suzanne Bruhn, president and CEO of Proclara. “In particular, David’s extraordinary track record guiding innovative early-stage programs through clinical development will prove invaluable to Proclara, and we look forward to his contributions as we progress our pipeline of disease-modifying GAIM-based therapies for both neurodegenerative and orphan indications.”
Dr. Michelson joins the company from Merck Research Laboratories, where he oversaw clinical development of both early and late phase programs, including MK-8931, Merck’s BACE inhibitor for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and led the successful new drug application submissions of tafluprost, suvorexant and sugammadex. Prior to joining Merck, he held multiple roles at Eli Lilly and Company, including executive medical director of the pharmaceutical company’s early phase neuroscience therapeutic area, where he oversaw clinical development programs for novel drugs intended for psychiatric, neurologic and pain/migraine indications. Dr. Michelson formerly served as a member of the clinical neuroendocrinology branch of the National Institute of Mental Health and as a faculty member at Yale University.
“Proclara’s GAIM-based technology platform is unique in targeting multiple misfolded protein aggregates, and offers tremendous promise to transform the treatment paradigm for patients with age-related neurodegenerative diseases and orphan amyloidoses,” said Dr. Michelson. “I am very excited to join Proclara at this crucial time in the company’s growth, and look forward to guiding efforts to bring NPT088 and NPT189 through the next stages of development, with the ultimate goal of bringing this potentially transformative new class of medicines to patients in need.”
Executive search firms continue to place CMOs everywhere. Here’s a look at a few recent assignments taken from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:
Slone Partners placed Michael Dugan as chief medical officer of Clinical Genomics. Dr. Dugan is a well-known biotechnology leader with extensive clinical experience in both commercial and academic settings. Previously, he served as president and chief executive officer of MCDXI Medical Diagnostics International.
Strawn Arnold & Associates placed R. Alberto Avendano to serve as CMO of Osiris Therapeutics, Inc. Dr. Avendano brings to Osiris expertise in medical education and communication, academic and industry clinical research, pharmacovigilance and regulatory affairs.
Proclara Biosciences is a biotechnology company advancing product candidates developed based on its proprietary GAIM technology, which is capable of simultaneously targeting multiple toxic misfolded proteins. The company has developed a pipeline of drug candidates that use GAIM to target the common amyloid protein conformation, dissociating and preventing the formation of misfolded protein assemblies, and blocking the cell-to-cell transmission of toxic aggregates.
Sector in Transition
Headquartered in London, Coulter Partners is a senior-level executive search boutique focused exclusively on identifying global life sciences leaders and board directors. The firm serves clients in the pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, diagnostics, CRO and services sectors. Coulter currently operates overseas offices in the U.K., Germany, Switzerland and Denmark. In the U.S., the firm has offices in Cambridge, MA; Princeton, NJ; Pittsburgh; Los Angeles; and Short Hills, NJ.
Mr. Green handles all board and senior executive functional areas, with core emphasis on finance, corporate development, professional services and transaction-orientated roles. He has a strong focus on helping U.S. companies commercialize internationally and EU companies enter the U.S. market. Mr. Green has a track record of leadership appointments in Europe, North America and emerging markets, including chairperson, board director, CEO, CFO, CMO, CSO, clinical development, translational/discovery, commercial, HR and IT.
“Our sector has changed beyond anyone’s expectations over the last two decades,” said CEO Bianca Coulter. “We need to understand the appetites and needs of the major multinationals. This requires reach into all corners of the market. While our office network is growing, the key has been to have multilingual, multi-market experienced and connected researchers and consultants. Our team speaks many languages and has worked in all major bio-pharma markets and is organized as one P&L, to ensure collaborative information and experience sharing.”
Tapping Outside Talent for Life Science and Healthcare
For these top 50 executive recruiters working in the life science and healthcare sectors, the last decade has been one of transformation. Pressure on pricing, regulatory changes, emerging innovations, growth, and an uncertain political environment have all helped shape a new field of play.
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Chief Medical Officers
Chief medical officers are typically cited as the senior government official designated head of medical services, sometimes at the national level. The post is held by a physician who serves to advise and lead a team of medical experts on matters of public health importance.
According to recruiters, the role of the chief medical officer has evolved in recent years, and organizations, as in this case, are looking for leaders with broader skill sets. “Today’s CMO needs to have professional experience gathered from different players in the drug development industry, since he or she needs to understand the objectives of the key players in the field,” said Marc Salzberg, CEO of Airway Therapeutics, that is, academia / clinical practice, the pharma industry, regulatory authorities and third party vendors such as contract research organizations in order to successfully cooperate with those partners.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media