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Long-serving R&D head Bischofberger to leave Gilead

John McHutchison, currently executive VP of clinical research, will step into the role

Gilead sciences buildingGilead’s long-serving head of R&D Norbert Bischofberger will step down from his position at the end of April to be replaced by John McHutchison, currently executive vice president of clinical research.

Austria-born Bischofberger - who rose to prominence as one of the inventors of Roche’s big-selling influenza drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir) - will leave the company fully in July after 28 years at Gilead, with the last 11 years spent as chief scientific officer (CSO). During his tenure he oversaw the launch of a raft of HIV and hepatitis C and B therapies.

“There are few people across the entire biopharmaceutical industry who have had the kind of impact Norbert has had on transforming the treatment of serious diseases, or who have demonstrated his depth of understanding of and caring for the needs of people living with those diseases,” said Gilead’s chief executive John Milligan.

“We wish him all the best in the next phase of his professional career,” he added. As it stands there is no word of what Bischofberger plans to do next, but it seems retirement isn’t on the cards.

McHutchison will now serve as Gilead’s CSO while Andrew Cheng, currently executive vice president of clinical R&D operations, will take the new role of chief medical officer, with both reporting directly to Milligan, said the company in a statement.

McHutchison has been at Gilead since 2010, joining the company from Duke University Medical Center, and has been a key figure in the company hepatitis development programmes.

Meanwhile Cheng has worked at the biotech since 1999 - coming from the University of California, Los Angeles - and has focused primarily on leading company’s development-stage programmes in HIV/AIDS. He’ll retain that responsibility after becoming CMO and add in leadership of the firm’s medical affairs operations.

Bischofberger is leaving Gilead as the company embarks on a new stage in its R&D journey, moving beyond its traditional heartland in antivirals and into the uncharted territory of liver diseases, inflammatory diseases and - perhaps most notably - cell-based cancer immunotherapy spearheaded by its $12bn acquisition of CAR-T specialist Kite Pharma last year.

Article by
Phil Taylor

13th March 2018

From: Research

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