- John Pottage, the chief science and medical officer at the majority GlaxoSmithKline-owned ViiV Healthcare, will soon step down, handing off his duties to two current ViiV executives by October 1.
- Kimberly Smith, currently head of global research, will become ViiV's R&D chief, while the biotech's head of medical affairs, Harmony Garges, will take over as chief medical officer. Endpoints News first reported the planned transition.
- Pottage has helped to guide ViiV's clinical science since the company's creation in 2009 as an HIV-focused biotech co-owned by GSK and, to a lesser extent, Pfizer. Japanese drugmaker Shionogi later took a 10% stake in 2012.
Alongside Gilead, GlaxoSmithKline is the other major maker of HIV medicines, thanks to its majority stake in ViiV.
Chief among those drugs is an antiretroviral called dolutegravir, which forms the backbone of GSK's top-selling Tivicay and Triumeq. It's also a component in the recently approved two-drug combinations Dovato and Juluca, which respectively feature lamivudine and rilpivirine.
That two-drug approach is a key piece of ViiV's strategy to compete with Gilead's offerings, which favor triple combinations and currently enjoy strong market share.
Eight Phase 3 studies investigating two-drug pairings are ongoing and ViiV is also exploring new mechanisms of action in earlier settings.
"Most of what we will be doing is work on remission or cure, with immunologics or immuno-inflammation types of therapies," said Pottage at a ViiV event in December. "All being semi-long acting, whether they are pills or through injectables, but that is the direction of travel as we see it over the next five to 10 years."
Leading ViiV toward that future, though, will be Smith and Garges.
Garges joined GSK's infectious disease group in 2005, working on drugs like fosamprenavir as well as dolutegravir. She's also served as chief medical officer for GSK's consumer healthcare business.
Smith came to GSK and ViiV later, in 2013, after working as an investigator and physician at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
Both will become executive designates as of Aug. 1 and will be officially in position on Oct. 1, a ViiV spokesperson confirmed to BioPharma Dive.