Ex-Optum VP defeats non-compete suit, moves to arbitration

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A U.S. Federal Judge last Friday rejected a motion seeking to block a former Optum VP from joining the newly formed healthcare venture between Amazon (NSDQ:AMZN), Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan Chase, according to court documents.

Optum, an IT-based health services unit of UnitedHealth Group, filed a suit against former VP David Smith last month accusing him of printing out a confidential in-depth market analysis moments before printing out his resume to apply for the position at the joint venture. The suit claims that the confidential data was printed the same day he spoke with the venture.

The lawsuit went on to claim that Smith, who resigned in December, also sought confidential information from colleagues not related to his job duties.

In its suit, Optum aimed to keep Smith from joining the venture, nicknamed “ABC”, saying that he could offer trade secrets to the new possible competitor.

In a court document filed last Friday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Judge Mark Wolf denied a temporary restraining order, stayed the case and allowed a motion to move the case to arbitration.

Optum said that it plans to pursue its claims against smith in the arbitration. The joint venture and Smith’s legal team have not commented on the matter.

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UnitedHealth Group’s Optum sues VP who left for Amazon venture

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UnitedHealth Group’s Optum IT-based health services unit has sued former VP David Smith, claiming that he misappropriated trade secrets before leaving to join a new healthcare venture supported by Amazon.

Smith’s lawyers are seeking to move the case to arbitration.

The complaint, filed Jan. 16 in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, accuses Smith of printing out a confidential Optum in-depth healthcare market analysis just a minute before printing out his resume. It was the same day that he spoke with the healthcare innovation venture nicknamed ABC, now led by Dr. Atul Gawande and supported by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan Chase.

Smith, who went from being VP of corporate strategy to being VP of product during 18 months at Optum, also sought confidential information from colleagues that was not related to his job duties, according to the lawsuit complaint.

Smith resigned Optum last month to join ABC as director of product strategy and research. Just a day before he told Optum that he planned to resign, he printed out a highly confidential document including product portfolio performance, new product development and a product job family and assessment plan, the complaint said.

“If Smith is permitted to work for ABC, he will inevitably use Optum’s trade secrets to expedite ABC’s development of competitive capabilities and products. Even if those products take more than a year to commercialize, Smith’s assistance in the process of beginning to develop them now is a direct competitive harm to Optum,” Optum’s lawyers said in the complaint.

Optum is seeking an injunction to prevent Smith from working for ABC or divulging trade secrets, as well as damages.

Smith’s lawyers in their own filing argue that the dispute falls under Optum’s employment arbitration policy, so the case should be handled through arbitration, not a lawsuit trial.

Said Smith’s lawyers: “There is no reason for this case to be in court.”

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Gerresheimer taps Metzner as CFO | Personnel Moves – December 14, 2018

Gerresheimer CFO Metzner

Gerresheimer said late last month that it tapped Dr. Bernd Metzner as its new chief financial officer, set to take position at the latest by July 1 next year.

Prior to joining the Dusseldorf-based company, Metzner acted as CFO at Ströer, a position he took up in June 2014. He also held positions at Bayer from 2002 to 2011, holding the CFO position for Bayer Italy and the global CFO position for Bayer’s pharma division.

“In Dr. Bernd Metzner, we have gained a highly experienced chief financial officer for Gerresheimer AG. Along with chief executive officer Dietmar Siemssen and management board member Dr. Lukas Burkhardt, Gerresheimer is led by a strong team who will extend the company’s growth trajectory on a lasting basis,” supervisory board chair Dr. Axel Herberg said in a prepared statement.

“Pharma and cosmetics are highly promising, attractive markets. Gerresheimer is a strong global partner to both of these industries. I look forward to being able to bring my experience to bear at Gerresheimer going forward,” Metzner said in a press release.

 Organovo’s Samsara Sciences CSO & prez Presnell steps away

Organovo (PINK:ONVO) said late last month that its subsidiary Samsara Sciences’ chief scientific officer and president Dr. Sharon Presnell is stepping away from their position.

The move went into effect on December 5, the San Diego, Calif.-based company said in an SEC filing.

The move comes as Dr. Presnell looks to relocate to the east coast to “pursue an opportunity with a non-profit foundation and to be closer to family,” Organovo said.

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 GI Dynamics adds Carter as CFO

GI Dynamics (ASX:GID) said on Tuesday that it named Charles Carter as its new chief financial officer.

In addition to his position as CFO, Carter will also serve as the Boston-based company’s treasurer and will replace Dave Bruce as its secretary. Carter has nearly 16 years of experience as a finance exec in the medical industry, GI Dynamics added.

“I am excited to join the GI Dynamics management team at this exciting time in the company’s development. It is clear that this company is committed to serving the large and rapidly growing population of patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity with an innovative treatment option that is clearly needed,” Carter said in a press release.

“On behalf of the GI Dynamics board of directors, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Carter. We have been working with Mr. Carter for several months now on a more limited basis, and we now look forward to the impact of his expanded leadership role at GI Dynamics as we prepare for the commencement of the GID 18-1 pivotal trial in the U.S. and the EndoBarrier clinical trial in India,” prez & CEO Scott Schorer said in prepared remarks.

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 Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway & JP Morgan HC venture picks up BCBS’s Safran

The healthcare joint venture started by Amazon (NSDQ:AMZN), Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan has picked up well-known health insurance exec Dana Gelb Safran as its new head of measurement, according to a CNBC report.

Prior to joining the still unnamed venture, Safran served as chief performance measurement and improvement officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, according to the report.

Safran is slated to begin their role with the company next year, CNBC said.

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 Aethlon appoints Rodell as interim CEO

Aethlon Medical (NSDQ:AEMD) said yesterday it named Dr. Timothy Rodell as its new interim CEO, effective December 10, succeeding James Joyce who will stay on as a consultant during the transition.

Prior to joining Aethlon, Rodell served as prez & CEO of GlobeImmune, San Diego-based Aethlon said.

“We are delighted to welcome Tim to Aethlon. Tim’s depth and breadth of experience in financing, structuring corporate deals, clinical development and regulatory strategy, both in the U.S. and internationally, will be of great value as we prepare Aethlon for the next phase of development. On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Jim Joyce for his leadership, commitment and accomplishments as chief executive officer.  We wish him continued success in his future endeavors,” board chair Dr. Charles Fisher, Jr. said in a press release.

“I am both honored and thrilled to join Aethlon at this time. I believe the Aethlon Hemopurifier has great potential for treating life-threatening viral infections and potentially cancer.  I look forward to working with the team at Aethlon and its collaborators to continue to advance the science and in an effort to bring important treatments to patients and create value for shareholders,” Dr. Rodell said in a prepared statement.

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Report: Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway-JPMorgan Chase health play struggles to find CEO

The joint healthcare venture between Amazon (NSDQ:AMZN), Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan Chase that looks to lower costs and improve health insurance is struggling to find the right individual to fill the corner office, according to a CNBC report.

The joint venture began searching for a CEO after announcing its launch in January, according to the report, meeting potential candidates by phone and in person in Omaha, Nebraska, where Berkshire Hathaway resides, and in New York, where J.P. Morgan is based.

The group considered health insurance and policy experts, including ex-Aetna exec Gary Loveman and former CMS chief Andy Slavitt, CNBC reports, but none were selected.

Interest has shifted to individuals with an entrepreneurial background in tech and health who are removed from involvement in health insurance and drug supply, according to the report. A recent top choice for the group is Grand Rounds Health CEO Owen Tripp, who runs a medical second-opinion service start-up, though Tripp is reportedly committed to his current position.

Warren Buffet, Berkshire CEO and major player in the combined group, said during an investor meeting for the JV that they hoped to have a chief exec “within a couple of months,” according to CNBC.

Whoever is chosen will have a significant task ahead of them, managing a combined 1.2 million employees across the three companies in a multitrillion-dollar industry, according to the report.

The group announced the venture in January, and sent shares in major health insurers UnitedHealth and Anthem down in response.

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