- AstraZeneca's Chief Medical Officer Sean Bohen will soon leave the British drugmaker, making for the third disclosed executive departure in recent weeks as the company restructures its R&D and commercial units.
- Bohen, who became head of global medicines development for the drugmaker in 2015, will remain in place as CMO during the reorganization, a spokesperson for AstraZeneca confirmed to BioPharma Dive. Bloomberg first reported the news.
- Bohen's planned departure follows exits by Bahija Jallal, president of AstraZeneca's MedImmune subsidiary, and Mark Mallon, an executive vice president of global product and portfolio strategy. Both have moved onto biotech, taking the helm of Immunocore and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, respectively.
Sean Bohen moved into his current role in 2015, a year following AstraZeneca's rejection of Pfizer's takeover proposal and amid entry of generic copies to the company's top-selling Nexium (esomeprazole).
Three years later, AstraZeneca is still working to deliver on the promises made in its successful efforts to remain independent, focusing further on core therapeutic areas while building up in oncology.
The company's ambition in the latter space can be seen in recently announced changes to AstraZeneca's R&D and commercial operations.
"Sean has brought tremendous value to the pipeline, and is looking forward to implementing the new structure," the spokesperson said.
Under the new structure, AstraZeneca will split research and development into two units: one focused on cardiovascular, renal and metabolism, and respiratory disease, with another centered on oncology. Each will be responsible for discovery through late-stage development for their respective medicines.
Similarly, on the commercial side, the drugmaker will feature two units with the same split between therapeutic areas.
The first group will be headed up by Mene Pangalos, who previously ran AstraZeneca's innovative medicines and early development biotech unit. The oncology unit, meanwhile, will be led by cancer doctor José Baselga, who departed Memorial Sloan Kettering under scrutiny of his ties to industry and failure to disclose potential conflicts in his research.
Baselga resigned from his post as MSK's physician-in-chief in September 2018.
"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," AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in a Jan. 7 statement on the organizational changes.
Jallal and Mallon, meanwhile, will be taking their talents to biotech. Mallon will become CEO of Ironwood, a gastrointestinal health company, as the company splits into two separate companies. Jallal will head Immunocore as the cancer biotech works to advance T cell receptor therapies.