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Senior AstraZeneca exec jumps ship to small biotech

Briggs Morrison unexpectedly leaves the UK firm

AstraZeneca's chief medical officer Briggs Morrison is leaving the company, according to a statement from the Anglo-Swedish company.

He will leave the world's eight largest pharma firm to join a much smaller, privately owned biotech company, whose identity has not yet been publicly revealed.

AstraZeneca's chief executive, Pascal Soriot, will take over the job of late-stage drug development on an interim basis, according to news reports. 

Meanwhile Elisabeth Björk, an associate professor of medicine at Uppsala university and leads cardiovascular and metabolic drug development at AZ, now becomes acting chief medical officer.

Morrison's departure has surprised analysts as he joined AstraZeneca just three years ago and became a key member of the Soirot's new executive team. 

Colin White, an analyst at Datamonitor Healthcare, said: “It is surprising because he was brought in by Soriot and has been a key part of Soriot's leadership team.”

12 months ago the firm successfully rejected an $118bn takeover attempt from the US pharma giant Pfizer, saying it wanted to take an independent path. 

12th June 2015

From: Research

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