‘Tis the season for pharma leadership shakeups.
As summer quickly fades and the end of the year comes into view, companies are heavily scrutinizing the accomplishments and shortcomings of their leaders, contemplating changes and looking to fill vacancies.
A slate of top pharma companies have already announced high-profile executive swaps in the last few weeks. Here’s a look at some of the biggest changes.
Just yesterday, Biogen named Dr. Jane Grogan as its new executive vice president and head of research amid ongoing restructuring plans. Grogan, who currently serves as chief scientific officer at Graphite Bio, a cell and gene editing company, will co-lead the Boston-based biotech’s R&D with head of development Priya Singhal, who was appointed earlier this year.
The pair will be charged with helping steer a “complete redesign of Biogen,” that’s likely to include a focus on rare disease, immunology and psychiatry drugs as the company attempts to move past setbacks with its Alzheimer’s treatment Aduhelm.
Grogan’s deep expertise in cell therapy is sure to come in handy. Prior to Graphite, Grogan was chief scientific officer at the programmable T cell therapy company Arsenal Bio, and earlier in her career worked for 15 years at Genentech guiding several targets for autoimmune and oncology indications into clinical trials.
French pharma Sanofi also recently appointed a head of R&D, filling a role that’s been vacant since February when former exec John Reed left for a position at Johnson & Johnson.
Houman Ashrafian, current scientific adviser at SV Health Investors, will bring “a wealth of expertise as a scientist and in bringing high value transformational medicines from discovery to market,” when he takes over Sept. 11, Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson said. Ashrafian joins other recently announced recruits at Sanofi including its new head of business operations, Madeleine Roach, and new chief digital officer, Emmanuel Frenehard.
Bristol Myers Squibb
On the commercial side, Bristol Myers Squibb announced Monday that Dr. Monica Shaw, CEO of the hematology-focused biotech Oncopeptides, will serve as head of major markets, overseeing the largest territories outside of the U.S., including Canada and Western Europe.
Over the course of her more than two decades in the industry, which have included stints at GSK/Viiv Healthcare, Merck Serono and Novartis, Shaw launched more than 15 products.
She’ll replace Adam Lenkowsky, who was appointed chief commercial officer and executive vice president in April during an organizational shuffle that also positioned Christopher Boerner, former CCO, to take the helm as CEO in November.
Amid an ongoing organizational overhaul, Marie-France Tschudin, Novartis’ chief commercial officer and president of innovative medicines, plans to step down from her role at the beginning of October. Patrick Horber, AbbVie’s president of immunology, will assume Tschudin’s role as president, but Novartis said it will ax the chief commercial officer title.
The move comes just a month before Novartis is expected to officially spin off its generics business Sandoz and focus more on innovative drug development in cardiovascular, immunology, neuroscience, solid tumor and hematology indications. Tschudin’s last day is scheduled for Oct. 4, the same day as the company is expected to finalize its break with Sandoz.
These executive changes could be the tip of the iceberg this fall as companies stare down challenging market conditions and a rocky regulatory landscape. As new and seasoned leaders alike attempt to stay on course, we’re looking at inspiring stories from execs who’ve seen it all.