- Alexander Hardy has been appointed as CEO of Roche subsidiary Genentech, effective March 1, 2019, following Bill Anderson's move to head up Roche Pharmaceuticals.
- Hardy joined Genentech in 2005 and later moved across to Roche Pharmaceuticals in 2014. He led the Asia Pacific business, and subsequently became head of global product strategy. Anderson, meanwhile, took the place of Roche veteran Daniel O'Day, who left last month to become Gilead's CEO.
- The executive shuffling comes as the Swiss pharma is working to refresh its portfolio of medicines and offset expected revenue declines from three aging blockbuster drugs.
Hardy and Anderson have their work cut out for them. Like many pharmas, Roche faces new competition to its top-selling slate of biologic drugs: namely, Herceptin (trastuzumab), Avastin (bevacizumab) and Rituxan (rituximab).
Roche argues uptake of copycat biosimilars is likely to be slower in the U.S. than Europe, but still expects to have to offset for $10 billion in lower revenue from those top three drugs. Its answer is a slate of new drugs, many of them created in Genentech's labs.
Genentech, one of the early and most successful biotech pioneers, was fully acquired by Roche in 2009, although its Genentech Research and Early Development unit operates as its own R&D center within the Swiss parent company.
Since its inception in 1976, Genentech has developed biologics like Herceptin, Rituxan, Avastin and — more recently — Tecentriq (atezolizumab), Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) and Hemlibra (emicizumab).
Genentech's research focus broadly is on cancer, immunology, neuroscience, metabolism, infectious disease and ophthalmology.
Still, despite those successes, the biotech subsidiary has had some challenges as well, announcing last year layoffs for 223 employees from its South San Francisco, California-based site.
Anderson, meanwhile, will have to fill the shoes of O'Day, who was widely respected as a steady hand during his tenure as CEO of Roche Pharmaceuticals.