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Former Pfizer business head Germano lands president’s job at Intrexon

May 18, 2016
Life sciences

Several months after being pushed out of a rejigged Pfizer ahead of the megamerger that never was, Geno Germano has landed the newly created role of president at major dealmaker Intrexon–and is on the path to become its next CEO.

Back in February, Pfizer announced it was shaking up its corporate structure (again) as it prepared for its $160 billion megamerger with Allergan–which fell through last month–while also laying the groundwork for a potential split in a few years.

The structural changes pushed out Geno Germano, who had been leading Pfizer’s global innovative pharma business. But Germano has not had to watch daytime TV for long as today, Germantown, MD-based Intrexon has created a new role of president just for him.

Germano starts the job at the beginning of next month and will report to the biotech’s billionaire chairman and CEO Randal J. Kirk. Each of Intrexon’s 5 sectors and the office of the COO will report to Germano, who is slated to become the biotech’s next CEO when Kirk steps down to become its executive chairman.

This also comes after Intrexon did a little rejigging of its own in March when it hired new senior members to run the 5 business sectors across the company–but this effectively pushed out COO Krish Krishnan and SVP of product development Suma Krishnan, who left the company with immediate effect when the new hires were announced.

Germano had a distinguished career at Pfizer and was also the co-chair of the Portfolio Strategy and Investment Committee, which focused on maximizing the ROI from across its R&D programs.

He had previously been president and GM of Pfizer’s Specialty Care and Oncology business units and, before Pfizer, was president of Wyeth U.S. (before its 2009 takeover by the U.S. giant).

“There is incredible potential to leverage the capability of Intrexon’s technology and ability to engineer biology toward game changing approaches and new solutions across health, food, energy, environment and consumer markets to make meaningful advances in our world,” said Germano.

“I look forward to leading the team toward continued progress and growth in its breadth of programs in each of these sectors.”

“As the company has scaled operationally […] it has become apparent to our board of directors that we also need top-flight organizational leadership in order to fulfill our full promise. I therefore am pleased today to announce that Geno Germano will serve as our company’s president. Geno is one of the most talented, experienced and capable senior executives in the life sciences industries today but, more than that, he is a person I can work well with and one who can lead our teams on to ever greater heights,” Kirk added.

“Over time, our goal is to broaden Geno’s role eventually succeeding me as CEO, at which time I would become executive chairman, a position that will remain a fulltime commitment yet allow me to focus on the broader causes that drive our opportunities. On behalf of our entire team, we welcome Geno and eagerly anticipate his leadership.”

Intrexon has had a busy few years, out-licensing some of its CAR-T tech to Germany’s Merck in a deal worth just shy of $1 billion in 2015 as well as striking a $100 million deal with MD Anderson back in January of last year that gave it and partner Ziopharm access to what’s been called “Sleeping Beauty,” a nonviral gene transfer approach that may offer an improved safety profile to the leading therapies in the clinic.

Just one month later it inked a $60 million deal to acquire ActoGeniX–a Belgian biotech at work on oral drugs designed to generate therapeutic proteins and peptides from within the body.

But it’s not all worked out well as just last month, AmpliPhi Biosciences terminated its anti-infectives pact with Intrexon three years after originally penning a deal. The end of the agreement isn’t likely to have a big impact on Intrexon, given its furious R&D deal-making in the past two years.

Just days after this announcement, the biotech in fact ramped up two new companies that will take funding from the related Harvest Intrexon Enterprise Fund. Relieve Genetics will focus on a “breakthrough, non-opioid gene therapy approach for neuropathic pain” while Exotech Bio will use “a novel exosome-based platform for delivering therapeutic RNA to treat select cancer indications.”

By Ben Adams

Source: Fierce Biotech

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