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Executive and Board Director Appointments in Oncology and Rare Diseases

Third Rock Ventures portfolio company, Voyager Therapeutics, a gene therapy player in the field of CNS based out of Cambridge, Mass. have appointed Michael Higgins to the Board of Directors. Mr. Higgins is an experienced biotechnology executive and is currently an entrepreneur-in-residence at Polaris Partners. Previously, he served as chief operating officer and chief financial officer at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. from 2003 through 2014. In 2014, Mr. Higgins was named the Boston Business Journal’s CFO of the Year. Mr. Higgins worked at Genzyme Corporation, with which Voyager Therapeutics now has a partnership, from 1997 through 2003 in a variety of leadership roles, including vice president of corporate finance and vice president of business development. While at Genzyme, he was involved with multiple business units, including Cell Therapy, Gene Therapy and Orphan Diseases.

Elsewhere in the rare diseases field, Richard Kim has joined Intercept as SVP Commercial Operations U.S. Kim recently served as General Manager, Hepatitis C, Worldwide Commercialization at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he led the worldwide strategy and commercialization for daclatavir and asunaprevir. During his tenure at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Mr. Kim held multiple positions of increasing responsibility over more than ten years, co-leading a national Cardiovascular and Metabolics sales force and managing both U.S. and global commercial activities for a portfolio of oncology therapies. Prior to joining Bristol-Myers Squibb, Mr. Kim worked at Schering-Plough (now a part of Merck & Co.) holding various positions in Canada, the U.S., and Australia. He will report to Lisa Bright, the CCO employed by New York and San Diego based Intercept from Gilead, as they mount an assault on the NASH market.

Also linked to San Diego is Ignyta, an oncology company listed on Nasdaq. This company too has been bolstering commercial leadership, through the appointment of executive Bernard Parker. He was most recently Head of the EMEA Pharmaceuticals Franchise for the Alcon division of Novartis, a position he held since 2013. In this role, he was responsible for all commercial initiatives for Alcon’s ophthalmic pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter business. Prior to Alcon, Mr. Parker was Global Brand Director, Biopharmaceuticals Portfolio for the Sandoz division of Novartis, a position he held from 2009 to 2013.

Seems California and Massachusetts remain very dominant, albeit California now seemingly growing a second very strong cluster down in San Diego (here).

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