- Sean Bohen has left his position at Genentech, where he was in charge of oncology, respiratory, and autoimmune drug development to take a position as Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at AstraZeneca (AZ).
- In early June, AZ's former CMO, Briggs Morrison, left the company to take the chief job at a smaller biotech company.
- Between 2013 and 2014, AZ's R&D investment increased from $4.8 billion to $5.6 billion, making it the sixth largest R&D spender in the industry.
When Briggs Morrison departed AZ just a little more than two months ago, it was only viewed as a temporary setback by AZ chief Pascal Soriot, who promptly stepped into the position until a new CMO could be found. Now, along comes Sean Bohen with a boatload of experience, including much sought-after oncology experience.
That experience matters a lot for Soriot and AZ, as Soriot continues to navigate his firm through R&D designed to yield $45 billion in revenues by 2023. Soriot has a great deal of confidence in AZ's oncology pipeline, including the tyrosine kinase inhibitor, AZD9291, which is being developed to treat refractory non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
AZD9291 showed positive early-stage results in patients with specific subtypes of NSCLC. In a phase 1 study, AZD9291 shrank the tumors of 51% of patients with EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC, who had developed a resistance to tyrosine-kinase inhibitors, and 94% of patients with the T790 mutation. In addition, at the 1-year mark, there was an overall response rate with AZD9291 80mg of 54% and a median duration of response of 12.4 months.
This drug has already been granted Breakthrough Therapy status by the FDA and will be filed at some point this year.