The company has announced organizational changes, including the development of R&D and commercial units in its biopharmaceuticals area and in oncology. In addition, three senior executives leaves the company and it makes a controversial choice of new Head of its Oncology R&D unit.
The organizational changes include therapy area-focused R&D units that are responsible for discovery through to late-stage development – one for BioPharmaceuticals and one for Oncology. The company will also establish mirrored commercial units – one for BioPharmaceuticals and one for Oncology. The creation of the BioPharmaceuticals commercial unit aligns product strategy and commercial delivery across CVRM and Respiratory.
The R&D units and the commercial units will each be represented on the senior executive team of AstraZeneca and report to CEO, Pascal Soriot. The units will also share common basic biology and science platforms as well as product supply, manufacturing and IT infrastructure to improve efficiency, states the company in a press release. These resources will continue to be allocated on a company-wide basis according to the overall therapy area considerations and strategy.
A new structure
The R&D unit for BioPharmaceuticals will be led by Mene Pangalos, who was previously responsible for the company’s Innovative Medicines and Early Development Biotech Unit. The commercial unit for BioPharmaceuticals will be led by Ruud Dobber, who was most recently responsible for the company’s commercial operations in North America. The commercial unit for BioPharmaceuticals mirrors the company’s existing commercial unit for Oncology, which continues to be led by Dave Fredrickson. The International commercial organisation remains under current leadership.
“We are entering what we expect will be a period of sustained growth for years to come, which is why we have decided to more closely align our R&D and commercial operations. This new structure will support growth and sharpen the focus on our main therapy areas, speeding up decisions and making us more productive in our mission to bring innovative medicines to patients,” said Pascal Soriot, CEO, AstraZeneca.
José Baselga – new head of R&D Oncology
Also included in the changes will be the arrival at AstraZeneca of the oncology scientist, José Baselga. He will lead the R&D unit for Oncology.
Baselga was most recently Physician-in-Chief at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. Prior to this, he was Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology and Associate Director at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
His name has also recently appeared in the news, due to articles in The New York Times and ProPublica alleging he had been getting paid by pharma companies for work but had not been disclosing it properly. He resigned from MSKCC for failing to disclose financial ties to pharma companies.
Mark Mallon leaves AstraZeneca after 24 years
In addition, after 24 years, Mark Mallon, who has held various senior executive positions, has left the company and started as CEO of the pharma firm Ironwood Pharmaceuticals.
The board of directors of Ironwood has appointed chief executive officers of the two companies, effective at the time of Ironwood’s planned separation which is on track to be completed in the first half of 2019.
Mallon most recently served as a member of its executive committee, reporting to the CEO, as executive vice president of global product and portfolio strategy leading global marketing, commercial operations, pricing and market access, medical affairs and corporate affairs for AstraZeneca’s $18 billion pharmaceutical business.
His leadership roles at AstraZeneca includs president of AstraZenecaChina, chief operating officer of AstraZeneca Japan, vice president of U.S. sales and marketing operations and president of AstraZeneca Italy.
Bahija Jallal is the new CEO of Immunocore
Privately owned British biotech Immunocore has appointed Bahija Jallal , former Head of MedImmune, AstraZeneca’s global biologics R&D arm, as the company’s new CEO. Jallal has more than 25 years’ worth of experience, she has authored more than 70 peer-reviewed publications and holds more than 15 patents.
“Bahija is the ideal candidate to lead Immunocore at this transformational point in its development. A champion for science and diversity, Bahija is a highly seasoned pharmaceutical executive with considerable experience in biologics R&D and immuno-oncology,” said John Bell, Chairman of Immunocore.
Sean Bohen will also leave AstraZeneca
And most recently, Bloomberg reported that Sean Bohen, chief medical officer and head of global medicines development at AstraZeneca, will step down after less than four years in the job. He will remain at the company to help as it transitions to its new structure and until a new chief medical officer is announced.
In addition, in October last year, Ludovic Helfgott, who headed diabetes and kidney treatments, left and is going to Novo Nordisk, where he’ll be executive vice president of the biopharm unit.
AstraZeneca lays off 210 workers
Just a few days ago, the company also announced that it lays off 210 workers in Colorado as it closes 2 plants (in Boulder and Longmont). AstraZeneca bought those plants from Amgen in separate deals, $14.6 million for the Boulder facility in 2015 and $64.5 million for Longmont in 2016. The shutdowns are part of a global revamp designed to make its biologics supply chain more efficient, a company spokeswoman told FiercePharma.
Photo: Sean Bohen, Bahija Jallal and Mark Mallon: AstraZeneca