For Alessandro Riva, M.D., the pharmaceutical and biotech industries have been a revolving door since 2017. Now, he’s been hired as the future CEO of relatively unknown biotech. Riva left Novartis in 2017 for a two-year term as global head of oncology at Gilead Sciences, followed by a two-year stint as CEO of Glenmark spinoff Ichnos in 2019. Riva is now the CEO of Intima Bioscience. Riva assisted in the $12 billion acquisition of Kite Pharma. During his brief time at Gilead, she oversaw the U.S. and EU approvals of CAR-T cell therapy Yescarta, a B-cell lymphoma treatment.
In the first nine months of the year, the treatment generated $513 million in worldwide sales, up from $434 million the year before. Riva is now in charge of guiding a startup that is relatively unknown through the clinic. The biotech’s primary asset, a gene-editing cell treatment that inhibits CISH, a gene that regulates T-cell receptor signaling, is currently in phase 1/2 testing. In addition, patients with gastrointestinal and colon malignancies are being studied with CRISPR gene editing.
President and Chief Operating Officer Campbell Murray and Chief Scientific Officer Tom Henley, Ph.D., lead Intima. Murray spent the preceding 16 years as the managing director of the Novartis Venture Fund. Henley joined in August 2018 after serving as the head of innovation at Horizon Discovery.