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Executive leak continues at AZ as another head jumps ship

James Ward-Lilley will become CEO of lung drug specialist Vectura

AZ London HQ 

Just weeks after AstraZeneca lost its research chief a second senior executive has left the company to become the head of a small biotech firm.

James Ward-Lilley has left the Anglo-Swedish company to become the new chief executive at Vectura, a biotech that specialises in lung drug treatments.

Ward-Lilley had been heading up AZ's respiratory and inflammatory business - a core unit for the firm.

This also comes just two weeks after its former chief medical officer Briggs Morrison also jumped ship from the world's eight largest pharma firm, also to head up a small biotech. 

An AstraZeneca spokesperson has said the timing of the departures was "pure coincidence" and both men were moving on to new and different types of challenges as business leaders. 

Vectura said Ward-Lilley would become CEO from October this year and replaces Chris Blackwell, whose departure had already been announced and who will leave the small drug company at the end of June. 

AZ's future was in doubt last year when rival pharma firm Pfizer tried to force a $118bn acquisition of the company, only to be rejected in May. AZ has since gone on to forge an independent strategy.

Article by
Ben Adams

25th June 2015

From: Sales

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