New hires:

GCI Health hired Weber Shandwick alum Lilit Bargar as EVP, corporate practice lead.

Electra Therapeutics named former Star Therapeutics executive Kathy Dong, PharmD, MBA as president and CEO.

Golin appointed Lisa Johnson as EVP and U.S. corporate health lead for Golin Health, a newly created position. 

Mike Tuffin, an executive at UnitedHealth Group, is slated to be the next leader of America’s Health Insurance Plans.

Velia Therapeutics named Michael York as chief business officer.

Curapath appointed Philippe Clavel as CEO.

Intensity Therapeutics tapped Joseph Talamo, CPA to serve as chief financial officer.

Executive elevations:

Publicis Groupe promoted Stephen Farquhar to CEO of Publicis Health, effective February 1, 2024. As part of Farquhar’s elevation, Publicis announced that Alexandra von Plato, who has served as CEO of Publicis Health since 2018, will become chairman of the outfit. 

Amgen elevated David M. Reese, MD as EVP and chief technology officer. The pharma giant added Novartis alum James Bradner, MD to succeed him as EVP of research and development as well as chief scientific officer.

Stand Up To Cancer promoted chief science officer Julian Adams to CEO, effective January 1, 2024.

CMI Media Group, a 2023 MM+M Agency honoree, elevated Mark Pappas to EVP of innovation.

Board appointments:

Ionis Pharmaceuticals appointed Michael Yang to its board of directors.

Peterson Health Technology Institute named several leaders to its advisory board.


Moderna announced chief commercial officer Arpa Garay is slated to leave the company in the coming months and will remain an advisor during the transition.

Pfizer said chief commercial officer Angela Hwang will step down and that Chris Boshoff will lead the new oncology business.

Top Bristol Myers Squibb dealmaker Elizabeth Mily will depart the pharma giant and a search for her replacement has begun.

Denise Vitola, VP of brand integration, PR, social and influencer at Bayer Consumer Health, is set to leave the division.

Herbert “Skip” Virgin is out as chief medical officer at the anti-aging startup Altos Labs.


The FDA issued nine warning letters to manufacturers and distributors of unapproved antimicrobials for animals.

Amgen said the agency granted priority review to its application for Tarlatamab to treat advanced small cell lung cancer.

Astellas Pharma announced the agency approved Cresemba to treat invasive aspergillosis and invasive mucormycosis in pediatric patients.

Theratechnologies said the agency approved its Labelling Prior Approval Supplement to include a 2000-mg intravenous (IV) push loading dose for Trogarzo.


Vir Biotechnology announced it would cut its headcount by 12% and close site locations as part of a $40 million cost-saving plan. 


Pfizer closed its $43 billion acquisition of cancer drug manufacturer Seagen.

Bristol Myers Squibb is paying SystImmune, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, $800 million upfront for BL-B01D1, a potentially first-in-class EGFRxHER3 bispecific ADC. The deal could amount to $8.4 billion in total potential consideration.

Aditxt entered into a definitive agreement to acquire contraceptives drugmaker Evofem Biosciences.

Tilde Sciences and AscellaHealth partnered to launch a program to boost access to antiparasitic drug Daraprim. This announcement came days after Tilde acquired Daraprim and hypertension drug Vecamyl from Vyera Pharmaceuticals.

AstraZeneca is buying biotech Icosavax in a deal worth up to $1.1 billion, under which the British pharma giant will boost its vaccine pipeline with a particular focus on products developed with Icosavax’s protein virus-like particle platform.

Integra LifeSciences acquired Acclarent from Johnson & Johnson/Ethicon.

Independent, full-service marketing agency TrendyMinds acquired full-service creative shop Faktory.

United Therapeutics completed its tender offer and merger of Miromatrix Medical.

C4 Therapeutics entered into an exclusive license and collaboration agreement with Merck to develop drugs designed to selectively target and neutralize disease-causing proteins in cancer cells.

Physician consulting service Atropos Health announced a strategic partnership with healthcare data technology company Seqster.

ConcertAI acquired ASCO’s CancerLinQ and unveiled a multi-year collaboration.

Premier, Inc.’s PINC AI Applied Sciences and TFS HealthScience are collaborating to accelerate global clinical trials and research innovation as well as reduce health disparities.

Virtual primary care provider LifeMD is teaming up with Medifast to create a clinically supported weight management program that will include the new class of weight-loss drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists.

Funding rounds: 

Tome Biosciences emerged from stealth mode with $213 million in funding.

Shortly after its recent rebranding effort, Spyre Therapeutics announced a $180 million private placement

Bicara Therapeutics completed an oversubscribed $165 million Series C financing round.

Apple Tree Partners announced $52 million in Series A funding for its portfolio company Deep Apple Therapeutics.

Immunotherapy biotech EvolveImmune Therapeutics raised $37 million in a financing round.

Clinical-stage ROCK2 startup Graviton Bioscience landed an additional $35 million in funding from lead investor Patient Square Capital’s Enavate Sciences.

Novo Holdings-founded biotech Hoba Therapeutics raised $25 million in the first close of a Series A financing round.

San Francisco-based startup Orchid Biosciences launched a service enabling couples to screen embryos for genetic predispositions to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes as part of a $12 million financing effort.

Certainly Health, a healthcare marketplace for booking medical and cosmetic care, raised $2.3 million in funding.

Industry news:

Sanofi backed away from a proposed licensing agreement worth up to $750 million with Maze Therapeutics after the Federal Trade Commission sought a preliminary injunction.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released its revised guidance for the Medicare Prescription Drug Inflation Rebate Program.

Klick Health co-founder and chairman Leerom Segal announced a $1 million prize to employees who present the best AI ideas as determined by a judging panel of C-suite executives at life science companies.

The 2023 MM+M Agency 100 honoree said it will invest further in evolving the best ideas into prototypes and eventually even products or services. 

WeightWatchers launched its GLP-1 program offering specialized behavioral support focusing on nutrition and activity for patients on this class of weight-loss drugs

Biogen’s postpartum depression drug Zurzuvae is now available at pharmacies nationwide.

Google unveiled MedLM, a family of foundation models fine-tuned for the healthcare sector, which is available to Google Cloud customers through an allowlisted general availability in the Vertex AI platform.

Following its $28.5 billion acquisition of Horizon TherapeuticsAmgen will serve as the title sponsor of the Irish Open starting in 2024.

Moderna and Merck released data finding their experimental cancer vaccine, when used in combination with Keytruda, reduced the risk of death or relapse in patients with the most deadly form of skin cancer by half after roughly three years.

Molecular diagnostics company BillionToOne announced a collaboration with Johnson & Johnson in the AZALEA Phase 3 clinical trial of nipocalimab in pregnancies at risk for severe hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn.

A group of insurers also accused Johnson & Johnson of defrauding the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as part of an effort to reduce competition for Stelara, according to a lawsuit filed in a Virginia federal court.

The New England Journal of Medicine launched an online publication, NEJM AI, aimed entirely at AI in clinical medicine.

BioVaxys Technology told investors it has entered into non-binding discussions to acquire an immunotherapeutics intellectual property portfolio.

Phathom Pharmaceuticals announced an amendment to its term loan facility from Hercules Capital.

See last week’s edition of Rx Rundown.