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GSK hires Merck KGaA exec to lead US pharma business

Martinez-Davis will help strengthen company’s oncology focus

Maya

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has hired Merck KGaA’s Maya Martinez-Davis (pictured above) to replace Jack Bailey as the president of its US pharmaceuticals business.

In disclosing the news, GSK said Bailey has “decided” to step down at the end of 2019. On the surface, his replacement is a good fit for the new direction GSK is taking under the leadership of CEO Emma Walmsley and CSO Hal Barron.

The new direction is moving GSK back into the oncology sector four years after it sold its portfolio of approved cancer drugs, plus two experimental candidates, to Novartis for $16bn.

Maya Martinez-Davis

Martinez-Davis currently serves as president of biopharma Latin America at Merck KGaA but her two previous positions were focused squarely on oncology.

Prior to taking up the Latin America position, Martinez-Davis spent two years as global head of the oncology franchise at Merck KGaA, having landed that position on the strength of her work as regional president of oncology North America at Pfizer.

At GSK, Martinez-Davis will oversee US pharmaceuticals across all diseases but, if pipeline programmes advance as Walmsley and Barron hope, a growing portion of her work will involve cancer assets.

Over the past year, GSK has doubled the size of its oncology pipeline, in part through the $5.1bn takeover of Tesaro and a $300m licensing deal with Merck KGaA.

The deals gave GSK control of one approved oncology asset and positioned it to bring more cancer drugs to market in the near term. If GSK records positive data in upcoming clinical readouts, it could launch three oncology products over the next 18 months.

Martinez-Davis will play a role in trying to make a success of those launches, leveraging both her experience of oncology drugs and the US market.

Luke Miels

Luke Miels, president of global pharmaceuticals, GSK

“We are pleased to have found a leader in Maya Martinez-Davis who will bring a valuable US experience and deep therapy area expertise to expanding our specialty care capabilities and market presence,” said Luke Miels, president of global pharmaceuticals at GSK.

Miels also praised the “significant contribution” Martinez-Davis’ predecessor, Jack Bailey, made in his decade at GSK.

Bailey joined GSK in 2009 and replaced Deirdre Connelly as president of the US pharmaceuticals unit in 2015. Prior to joining GSK, Bailey spent 18 years rising through the ranks at Eli Lilly.

The incoming and outgoing leaders will overlap at GSK, with Martinez-Davis set to start next month, in September. Bailey will continue at GSK until the end of the year and stay on as a consultant in 2020.

Article by
Nick Taylor

13th August 2019

From: Marketing

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