Please login to the form below

Not currently logged in

Roche's O’Day swaps big pharma for big biotech

Move to Gilead enforces reshuffle at neighbours Genentech

Gilead has selected Daniel O'Day, the current chief executive of Roche's pharma business, to take over as its CEO from 1 March 2019.

O’Day has been picked as the successor to Gilead’s long-serving CEO John Milligan, who announced earlier this year that he would step down at the end of 2018 after 28 years with the company, including two years at the helm.

Gilead’s chairman Jon Martin, who also said he will depart once a new CEO was named, said O’Day is “uniquely qualified to take on this role given his track record of success in highly scientific and competitive therapeutic areas, deep understanding of the evolving healthcare environment around the world, and unwavering commitment to driving innovation across all aspects of a business.”

Daniel O'Day

Daniel O'Day: tasked with taking Gilead forward after hep C franchise declines

A 31-year veteran of the pharmaceutical sector – all at Roche – O’Day has been head of the group’s pharma unit since 2012, having previously led the company’s diagnostics business. In the two months gap after Milligan departs and O’Day takes over Gilead’s chief patient officer, Gregg Alton, will take the helm.

The new CEO's main task will be to ensure the company's revenues can grow again, as its once-record-breaking hepatitis C (HCV) franchise continues to decline sharply: in the first nine months of 2017, sales of Harvoni were an impressive $3.76bn, but by the same period this year, they had declined to just 990m.

This will see Gilead's overall 2018 decline on last year, a downward trend that is likely to level out in 2019, but there are is no single product expected to fill this gap in the immediate future.

Gilead is still a dominant player in HIV – although its jostling for market share with ViiV.

O’Day joins Gilead as the big biotech company is on the hunt for new drugs to reduce its reliance on HCV and HIV drugs, with a shift into new areas including liver diseases and particularly cancer, very much Roche’s main stamping ground.

The vacant role at Roche will be taken by William Anderson, currently CEO of Roche’s biotech subsidiary Genentech, who will take over on 1 January 2019.  O’Day will step down officially at the end of the year but will be available to provide support during a two-month handover period.

The move means Genentech will be looking for its fifth CEO in less than 10 years, and there’s no word yet on a successor.

Among Gilead's moves is a shift into immuno-oncology via the acquisition of CAR-T specialist  Kite Pharma for almost $12bn and smaller player Cell Design Labs, a $3bn agreement with Sangamo to use its zinc finger gene-editing platform for drug discovery, and a $1.2bn deal to acquire Nimbus Therapeutics and its non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) candidate selonsertib.

Selonsertib and JAK inhibitor filgotinib for rheumatoid arthritis are both potential blockbusters that are in late-stage development, according to analysts at Jefferies, and that gives O’Day a couple of shots at goal fairly soon after taking over at Gilead.

Article by
Phil Taylor

10th December 2018

From: Marketing



Featured jobs

Subscribe to our email news alerts


Add my company
Say Communications

Influencing positive behaviours and delivering change is what drives us, using thought leadership, education, social and professional engagement and compelling,...

Latest intelligence

BRIC markets
BRIC markets
Why these countries offer an opportunity for pharma despite a slowdown...
Obstetrics Virtual Journal Club: An Impetus Digital Customer Success Story
Our online solutions are not just for advisory boards - find out how one client leveraged the Impetus InSite Platform® for a virtual journal club....
Ludovic Helfgott
Novo Nordisk awakens its ‘Sleeping Beauty’
Biopharm emerges from troubled times to hit ‘solid growth’, says executive vice president Ludovic Helfgott...