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Pharma appointments, May 2012

Recent high-profile moves in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industriesThis month they include AstraZeneca's David Brennan, who is to retire after six years in the post.

 David Brennan, AstraZeneca


AstraZeneca's (AZ) CEO and Board member, David Brennan, is to retire after six years in the post. The Board has asked executive director and chief financial officer Simon Lowth to act as interim chief executive officer from June 1, 2012, when Brennan leaves, until a permanent successor is in place. Julie Brown, vice president group finance, will become interim chief financial officer on the same date. In addition, Leif Johansson will succeed Louis Schweitzer as non-executive chairman on  June 1, 2012, three months earlier than previously announced, and will become chairman of the Nomination and Governance Committee. This will enable him to lead the selection process for David Brennan's successor. Johansson's appointment to the AZ Board is subject to approval by shareholders at the company's Annual General Meeting. Brennan was appointed in January 2006 and is one of the longest-serving chief executives in the pharma sector.



Just weeks after missing out on the chief executive position at Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Sheri McCoy has decided to leave the company and take up the role of CEO at beauty products firm Avon. McCoy resigns as vice chairman of J&J's executive committee after 20 years' service. In March, J&J picked Alex Gorsky over McCoy to succeed long-serving CEO William Weldon, marking the culmination of a two-year selection process. Gorsky takes over the management of those directly reporting to McCoy. McCoy began her career as a scientist in the consumer R&D organisation in 1982.

Sheri McCoy, Johnson & Johnson

Michael Holston, Merck & Co  

Michael Holston is to join Merck & Co as its new chief ethics and compliance officer, replacing Richard Bowles, who will retire. He will take up his new position on June 25, 2012, coming from Hewlett-Packard, where as executive vice president and general counsel he oversaw compliance, government affairs, privacy, ethics operations and legal affairs. Reporting directly to Merck chairman and CEO Kenneth Frazier, Holston will serve on the company's executive committee. Prior to his role with Hewlett-Packard, Holston was a partner in the litigation practice at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, where he served as external counsel to Merck.

Raptor Pharmaceutical has appointed Henk Doude van Troostwijk as general manager of European commercial operations. He will be responsible for building and managing Raptor's presence in Europe following the California-based company's decision to establish European headquarters in Leiden in the Netherlands. Van Troostwijk joins from Sanofi's Genzyme operations, where he was business unit director, oncology, for haematology and transplantation in Northern Europe. Prior to that he was at Bioenvision, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Nycomed.

 Henk Doude van Troostwijk, Raptor Pharmaceutical

Dr Matthew Wikler, US biopharma Rib-X Pharmaceuticals

Dr Matthew Wikler, a former deputy director of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has been appointed chief development officer of US biopharma Rib-X Pharmaceuticals. He will lead strategic development of product candidates including delafloxacin for skin and skin structure infections. Rib-X will benefit from Dr Wikler's years of experience in infectious diseases, including two years at the FDA where he served as deputy director, division of anti-infective drug products. His most recent role was as president and CEO of IASO Pharma. Other previous positions include senior roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, the Institute for One World Health, Mpex Pharmaceuticals, Peninsula Pharmaceuticals and ViroPharma.

Swedish speciality pharma company Meda has appointed Maria Carell as regional director for the US. She joins with extensive experience in the sector, including management positions at Novartis, generics company Actavis and medical device firm Q-Med. Following her appointment, she has stepped down from Meda's board, on which she has served for a year.

Maria Carell, Meda



Dr Agnès Saint Raymond, EMA

The European Medicines Agency's (EMA) Dr Agnès Saint Raymond has become a member of the United Nations (UN) Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children. Dr Saint Raymond, who heads human medicines special areas at the European regulator, will help with the Commission's work to improve access to essential but overlooked medicines and health supplies that could save the lives of millions of women and children every year. She retains her role at the EMA. The appointment follows her recent work with the World Health Organisation (WHO). She also has years of experience as a paediatrician.


Sweden has appointed Anders Nordström as its first health minister, a unique role that will give him special responsibility for the country's global health efforts. He will represent Sweden during dialogues with international organisations in the UN system, the EU and the regional development banks. A medical doctor by training, Nordström is a board member of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), the GAVI Alliance and UNAIDS.

Anders Nordström



Gilles Brisson, former senior VP of Sanofi, has been appointed as the chair of Mauna Kea Technologies. Brisson takes over from Albert Waxman at the US-based medical device company, which focuses on the global endomicroscopy market. He held his position at Sanofi from 2004 to 2006, having previously spent five years at Aventis before its takeover by Sanofi. During his time at Aventis, Brisson served as president and CEO of the company's French business, before being promoted to senior VP Europe – the same position he held at Sanofi. Previously, he was president of Rhone-Poulenc's French business, as well as senior VP corporate development at the France-based chemical and pharmaceutical company, before its merger with Hoechst to form Aventis. He has been chair at Innate Pharma since 2007 and Ethypharm since 2009.

Shire has announced the resignation of Michael Cola as president of Shire's speciality pharmaceuticals business. Cola is leaving “to explore new career opportunities and challenges,” he said. Cola had been with Shire for seven years, joining as executive VP and general manager for the company's global therapeutic business units. He assumed the role of president of the speciality pharmaceuticals business in 2006. His role will be taken over by the company's CEO Angus Russell while the search for a new president is carried out. Prior to joining Shire, Cola held executive positions at pharma companies including Merck, AstraZeneca and Safeguard Scientifics.

Former chief operating officer of Dendreon Hans Bishop has been appointed executive chair of the board at Genesis Biopharma. Bishop has been a director at the US biotech that specialises in cancer immunotherapies since the beginning of 2012. He takes over from Anthony Cataldo who remains a director. Previously, Bishop served as president of Bayer's speciality medicine business division from 2006 until 2009. From 2004 to 2006 he was senior VP, global commercial operations for Chiron Corporation, now part of Novartis.

Constellation Pharmaceuticals has named Dr Keith Dionne as  CEO and president. Dionne takes over from Dr Mark Goldsmith at the US firm, which specialises in using epigenetics to discover and develop small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory/immunologic disorders. Dr Goldsmith will remain as chair. Dr Dionne joins from life sciences investment firm Third Rock Ventures, where he was an entrepreneur-in-residence. Previous positions include CEO of Aurface Logix, as well as president and CEO of Alantos Pharmaceuticals where he led the company's acquisition by Amgen in 2007. He also spent several years at Millennium Pharmaceuticals.

US biotech Sorbent has hired Howard Dittrich as its first chief medical officer and appointed Randall Woods as chair of the board of directors. Both previously worked together at NovaCardia, a company co-founded by Dittrich that was later taken over by Merck & Co. Dittrich was chief medical officer and senior VP of clinical and regulatory affairs at NovoCardia, while Woods was president and CEO. Woods also held these roles at Sequel Pharmaceuticals, a spinout from the acquisition of NovaCardia by Merck. Dittrich has also held senior positions with Molecular Biosystems and Alliance Pharmaceuticals. Woods' previous positions include president and CEO of biotech Corvas International, president of Boehringer Mannheim's US pharma operations, plus sales and marketing positions at Eli Lilly & Co.

Synthetic Biologics, a US biotech, has appointed Dr Michael Kaleko as scientific director. A biotech consultant since 2010, he has been involved in gene therapy for over 20 years. He co-founded eyecare specialists Advanced Vision Therapies in 2002, before becoming president and chief scientific officer. He previously co-directed research at Genetic Therapy, a subsidiary of Novartis, where he developed multiple gene transfer and gene expression platform technologies for haemophilia, cancer, diabetes and ocular diseases. 

Clearside Biomedical has appointed CEO of Merz Pharma's North American operations, William Humphries, to its board of directors. Humphries joins the US firm, which specialises in eyecare products, just two weeks after his appointment at Merz Inc. Humphries has 25 years' experience in the pharma industry, having been president of GlaxoSmithKline company Stiefel, which specialises in dermatology. Humphries has also held senior executive roles at Allergan.

Greece's Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies (SFEE) has elected Constantine Frouzis as its new president. Frouzis has worked as vice president and general manager of Novartis Hellas since 2007 and was its general secretary previously. Prior to joining Novartis Frouzis worked across four sectors, including telecoms, retail, consumer products and petroleum. Joining Frouzis on SFEE's new 15-member board are: Galenica's Nikolaos Varelas; Cana's Vasilis Neiadas; UCB's Immortality Gioulekas; Abbott's Paschalis Apostolidis; GlaxoSmithKline's George Katzourakis; Genesis Pharma's Costas Evripidis; Farmaserv Lilly's Spyros Filiotis; Merck's John Vlontzos; Winmedica's Marios Kosmidis; Vian's Costas Panagoulias; Sanofi's Markos Gerasopoulos; Rottapharm Hellas' Marios Katsikas; Janssen's Nikolaos Kefalas and Boehringer Ingelheim's Konstantinos Economou.

The Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil) has appointed former executive director Dr P V Appaji to the newly created position of director general. The council promotes the Indian pharmaceutical sector to global markets.

Quintiles has appointed former Accenture executive Tom Pike as CEO, taking over from Dennis Gillings. Gillings founded Quintiles in 1982 and remains as executive chairman of its board of directors. Pike joins after spending two years working with health and technology start-ups, but for the 22 years before that he was at Accenture.

Kantar Health has made two senior European appointments, hiring Dr Florian Eichmann as business unit director for treatment value, based in Germany, and Richard Goosey as senior director of advanced methods at Kantar Health UK. Dr Eichmann joins from Kendle, where he led European health outcomes. Goosey was most recently at Roche UK and was previously head of business intelligence and commercial planning for Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals UK.



Amgen's first CEO, George Rathmann, passed away on April 22 at the age of 84. He was CEO from 1980 to 1988 and board chairman until 1990. Regarded as one of the founding fathers of biotechnology, one of his chief accomplishments was finding the funds Amgen needed during its start-up years. In 2004, a full-size sculpture of him was dedicated on Amgen's campus in recognition of his leadership, while in 2005, Amgen created the annual George B Rathmann Award, the company's highest honour, to recognise excellence in staff members. Upon leaving Amgen, Rathmann became CEO and chairman of Seattle-based biotech ICOS Corporation (later acquired by Eli Lilly). He later served as CEO and chairman of genomics company Hyseq Inc.


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