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Bruno Strigini leaves Merck & Co for Novartis

Will head up an oncology business boosted by the acquisition of GSK's portfolio

Bruno Strigini NovartisNovartis has named Merck & Co's Bruno Strigini as its new president of oncology.

Strigini spent almost five years as president, Europe and Canada, at Merck, which he joined after the company took over Schering Plough where he served in a similar role.

He will now lead an oncology division at Novartis that achieved revenues of more than $10bn during 2013, as seen on PMLiVE's Top Pharma List. These sales made Novartis the third largest pharma company in cancer for the year.

The company has ambitions to expand in the therapy area, however, and recently acquired the bulk of GlaxoSmithKline's cancer portfolio in an asset swap deal valued at $16bn.

Strigini shares these ambitions and in a recent interview with PMLiVE cited oncology as one of the most important growth areas for the industry due, in part, to the potential of immunotherapies.

“When you see what's happening in immuno-oncology today, it's amazing the progress that science is making in the area of oncology,” he said. “That's why I'm optimistic.”

Novartis' interests in immuno-oncology include a research deal with the University of Pennsylvania to focus on novel T-cell immunotherapies and the acquisition of CoStim and its pipeline of oncology candidates, including an ant-PD1 drug.

The area of anti-PD1 cancer immunotherapies looks to be an important one for many companies, with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche and AstraZeneca all developing their own products.

Leading the field though is Strigini's former company Merck & Co, which has already filed MK-3475 in the US to treat advanced melanoma.

3rd June 2014

From: Research, Sales

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