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Gilead poaches Genentech-exec Merdad Parsey for its new CMO

Company also files potential blockbuster filgotinib in Japan

Gilead

As new CEO Daniel O’Day continues to overhaul Gilead’s top positions, Roche subsidiary Genentech’s Merdad Parsey has been appointed as the company’s new chief medical officer. 

The position has been empty since Gilead announced veteran Andrew Cheng was departing the company last year, with previous CEO John Milligan and chairman John Martin announcing their own departures around that same time.

Parsey joins Gilead from Roche's Genentech, where he holds the position of senior vice president, early clinical development in the Genentech Research and Early Development group.

His clinical expertise and experience across a number of therapeutic areas, including inflammation, oncology and infectious diseases will be particularly useful as Gilead continues to stake its claim in these markets.

“Throughout his career, (Merdad) has built a reputation as an outstanding leader among academic, industry and medical communities alike. I know Merdad’s exceptional skills and expertise will be of great benefit to Gilead as we focus on rapidly expanding our pipeline and clinical development portfolio through internal efforts and external partnerships,” said O’Day.

O’Day has revitalised Gilead since joining the company earlier this year, following a difficult few years as it faces a massive decline in sales of its hepatitis C virus (HCV) drugs.

There has been concern that Gilead has been too reliant on its HCV and HIV drugs – the company has now taken steps to move into other new areas to offset potential declines in these franchises.

The Genentech exec will be no stranger to immuno-oncology, which is of special interest for Gilead and is a therapy area that the company has recently turned its focus on.

Although the company’s first CAR-T therapy Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) has fallen short of expectations, Parsey will have his hands full with a myriad of other pipeline medicines, including small-molecule R&D and a bispecific antibody collaboration with Agenus.

Gilead has also bolstered its pipeline with the experimental JAK1 inhibitor filgotinib for rheumatoid arthritis. The Galapagos-partnered drug is due to be launched in 2020, and the drug was just filed with regulatory authorities in Japan for the treatments of adults with rheumatoid arthritis – its potential first market.

The drug has been deemed a potential blockbuster by analysts at Jefferies, and Gilead is hoping to continue its success with the Galapagos partnership, having bolstered its ties with the biotech in an $5.1bn R&D alliance that could swell Gilead’s pipeline by up to six compounds in the clinic and 20 preclinical programmes.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

8th October 2019

From: Marketing

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