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Roche names John Reed as new head of early research

He joins from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute

Dr John Reed, RocheRoche has hired prominent US academic Dr John Reed to get its in-house research efforts back on track.

In his new role as head of Roche pharma research and early development, Dr Reed will lead efforts to overcome trial disappointments, such that of its proposed cholesterol treatment dalcetrapib, and the closure of its east coast US research site in New Jersey with the loss of 1,000 jobs.

Such activities have meant the efforts of Roche's Genentech subsidiary have been getting most of the attention, thanks to successful product launches, such as Avastin and Herceptin, and highly promising investigational medicines, such as breast cancer drug T-DM1.

Dr Reed's appointment will not affect any of Genentech's activities, and he will be based in Roche's home city of Basel in Switzerland where the majority of Roche's own research efforts are located.

“With his broad scientific and medical background he is ideally positioned to drive Roche's strategy of translating a better understanding of disease mechanisms into promising therapeutics,” said CEO Severin Schwan.

Prior to joining Roche, Dr Reed spent ten years as CEO at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, California, during which time the organisation opened a second research campus in Florida and became the number one ranked Institute worldwide for scientific impact based on citations per publication in biology and biochemistry.

The organisation's record in efficiency under Dr Reed – in which it was ranked second based on patents issued per value of grant funded - will also have impressed a pharma company looking to cut costs and improve returns.

Part of this new role could see Dr Reed use his links with Sanford-Burnham to build partnerships with Roche.

He said: “While I am sad to be leaving the Institute, I look forward to the potential for collaborations in the future between the two organisations.”

Dr Kristiina Vuori, president of Sanford-Burnham, will take over as CEO on an interim basis.

16th January 2013

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