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Sanofi appoints ex-Roche Reed as new R&D head

John Reed to take up post after leaving Roche last month

John ReedSanofi is to have a new head of R&D after it announced today that Elias Zerhouni is to step down after seven years in the role.

Taking his place from 1 July will be John Reed (pictured right), who left his Basel-based role as Roche’s head of Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED) last month after a reshuffle at the Swiss pharma giant.

The new broom at Sanofi’s R&D headquarters will give CEO Olivier Brandicourt a chance to further reshape the company, which is in need of new pipeline drugs to compensate for declining sales of its flagship diabetes brand Lantus.

The Paris-headquartered firm also secured two major acquisitions in January, buying US haemophilia specialist Bioverativ for $11.6 billion and Belgium’s next-generation biologics firm Ablynx for 3.9 billion euros ($4.8 billion).

Sanofi currently has just one drug pending FDA approval - Ablynx’s caplacizumab, a new treatment for blood clotting disorder acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (aTTP), but needs more filings over the next few years to support growth.

Olivier Brandicourt paid tribute to Elias Zerhouni, saying he had “strived to transform Sanofi R&D into an organisation with the potential to be one of the very best in the industry”, and thanked him for his ‘outstanding’ contribution.

It’s clear that Brandicourt believes there is room for improvement at Sanofi, and will look to Reed to increase the productivity from its research budget, which stood at €5.4 billion (6.59 billion) last year.

Reed will report directly to Brandicourt and will start work on 30 April to ensure a smooth transition period.

John Reed served as the Global Head of Roche Pharma Research & Early Development (pRED) for five years, and was responsible for directing research and early development activities through to phase IIb proof-of-concept (PoC) across all therapeutic areas, including oncology, immunology, rare diseases, neuroscience, ophthalmology and infectious diseases.

Before that, he was president and CEO of the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.

"John is an accomplished and widely recognised physician-scientist with a brilliant academic track record," said Olivier Brandicourt. "He is experienced in driving R&D productivity, building high-performing teams and integrating biotech companies to provide new technology platforms."

Brandicourt has also demonstrated his commitment to pursuing the core pharma business at Sanofi by selling off its Zentiva generics business for €1.9bn ($2.4bn).

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

24th April 2018

From: Research, Sales

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