Sector News

AstraZeneca loses second top executive as Vectura gets new CEO

June 24, 2015
Life sciences
(Reuters) – AstraZeneca has lost a second senior executive in a fortnight with the departure of its respiratory and inflammatory medicines head James Ward-Lilley to become chief executive of lung drug specialist Vectura.
 
His departure follows the exit earlier this month of Briggs Morrison, AstraZeneca’s former chief medical officer and head of late-stage drug development, who moved on to become CEO of privately owned cancer drug firm Syndax.
 
An AstraZeneca spokeswoman said on Wednesday that the timing of the departures was “pure coincidence” and both men were moving on to new and different types of challenges as business leaders.
 
Vectura said Ward-Lilley would become CEO effective Oct. 1, replacing Chris Blackwell, whose departure had already been announced and who will leave the small drug company at the end of this month.
 
The move is a blow to AstraZeneca, which has identified respiratory medicine as one of its six growth businesses, alongside oncology, diabetes, the heart drug Brilinta, emerging markets and Japan.
 
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot, who took over in 2012 and successfully fought off a $118 billion takeover attempt by Pfizer last year, has sought to bolster the company’s respiratory franchise.
 
The drugmaker already boasts an established blockbuster in its inhaled treatment Symbicort, for asthma and chronic lung disease, and Soriot plans to build on that after buying Pearl Therapeutics in 2013 and Almirall’s lung drug business in 2014.
 
Vectura, whose shares traded 1 percent higher by mid-morning, said Trevor Phillips would act as interim CEO from the end of June until Ward-Lilley joined the company.
 
(Additional reporting by Roshni Menon in Bengaluru; Editing by Pravin Char)

comments closed

Related News

May 15, 2022

Novo Nordisk and Flagship Pioneering announce a strategic collaboration to create a portfolio of transformational medicines

Life sciences

The companies will explore opportunities to apply Flagship’s innovative bioplatforms – an ecosystem that currently comprises 41 companies – to scientific challenges in disease areas within cardiometabolic and rare diseases and initiate research programmes based on these.

May 15, 2022

BD, Babson set sights on bringing simple blood collection into the home

Life sciences

BD is expanding its long-running partnership with the blood collection company Babson Diagnostics. The two companies have been working together since 2019 on a device that can gather small volumes of blood from the capillaries in the fingertip without requiring any specialized training, and beginning with a focus on supporting primary care in retail settings.

May 15, 2022

CSL’s $11.7B Vifor buy, 2021’s biggest biopharma M&A deal, hits antitrust delay

Life sciences

Wednesday, Australian biotech CSL said (PDF) the regulatory review of its $11.7 billion acquisition of Switzerland’s Vifor Pharma will take “a few more months,” suggesting it won’t be able to close the transaction by June 2022 as previously expected.