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President of Lilly Oncology resigns

John H Johnson, president of Lilly Oncology has resigned effective January 28, citing personal considerations

John H Johnson, senior vice president and president of Lilly Oncology has resigned effective January 28, citing personal considerations.

Johnson was previously CEO of ImClone Systems, and joined Lilly when it acquired the cancer-focused biotech company in 2008. Lilly has not yet named a successor to lead its oncology unit, but said it will do so in the coming weeks.

Lilly chairman, president and CEO John Lechleiter said in a statement that Johnson "has guided the Lilly Oncology pipeline to an all-time high – one of the largest clinical-stage pipelines of potential cancer medicines in the industry."

Lilly Oncology's portfolio of marketed drugs includes the non-small cell lung cancer treatment Alimta and the ovarian cancer therapy Gemzar. The company has also declared a commitment to developing personalised cancer medications.

Johnson became CEO of ImClone in 2007, leaving his post as company group chairman of Johnson & Johnson's worldwide biopharmaceuticals unit, where he had responsibility for that company's biotechnology, immunology and oncology commercial businesses.

The $6.5bn acquisition of ImClone was the largest in Lilly's history. The deal was driven in large part by Lilly's desire to add ImClone's targeted cancer therapy Erbitux (cetuximab) to its portfolio.

25th January 2011

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