- Long-time Bristol-Myers Squibb executives Tom Lynch and Charles Bancroft will step down after the pharma company closes its $74 billion deal to buy Celgene, making room for several executives from the big biotech on the combined company's future leadership team.
- Bristol-Myers will split its R&D work into two units: Research & Early Development, to be led by Celgene's head of early-stage R&D Rupert Vessey; and Global Drug Development, which will be headed up by Samit Hirawat, formerly the head of oncology development at Novartis.
- Lynch, currently Bristol-Myers' chief scientific officer, will leave the company by Oct. 1 to "pursue opportunities in healthcare." Bancroft, now chief financial officer, will lead Celgene's integration into Bristol-Myers before retiring in 2020.
Despite some early opposition, Bristol-Myers and Celgene in April won over shareholders with their proposed sector-shifting tie-up.
The deal, which ranks as one of the largest in the history of the pharmaceutical industry, is expected to close by the third quarter. Combined, the two companies would own a powerful position in cancer, with billion-dollar drugs in cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases as well.
Key to Bristol-Myers' argument for the deal was Celgene's pipeline, which includes five drugs the pharma believes can each become blockbusters in their own right.
Achieving that success is made all the more important by Bristol-Myers reliance on Opdivo (nivolumab) and Eliquis (apixaban) for revenue, and looming competition to Celgene's top-seller Revlimid (lenalidomide).
On Wednesday, Bristol-Myers detailed who it would put in charge of overseeing that R&D work.
Vessey, who ran early drug development at Merck & Co. before joining Celgene in 2015, will head a new unit tasked with advancing early-stage assets up through development.
Former Novartis executive Hirawat, meanwhile, will be responsible for the teams moving pipeline drugs toward commercialization.
On the sales side, current Bristol-Myers' commercial head Chris Boerner will continue in an expanded role at the combined company, while Celgene's head of hematology and oncology Nadim Ahmed will oversee the new Bristol-Myers' blood disease and cell therapy business.
Four of the five Celgene pipeline drugs highlighted by Bristol-Myers as near to market are for blood cancers — meaning Ahmed will play a crucial role in whether the combined company delivers its promised revenue growth.
David Elkins, Celgene's current CFO, will take over for Bancroft. As previously announced, Bristol-Myers' CEO Giovanni Caforio will lead the combined company.