Sector News

Small molecule chief named head of gRED in rejig at the top of Genentech

December 15, 2014
Life sciences
There has been a change at the top of gRED. Having shepherded Genentech’s R&D operations through the takeover by Roche, Richard Scheller will retire at the end of 2014. Roche has lined up Michael Varney, Genentech’s head of small molecule drug discovery, to replace Scheller.
 
The rejig marks the first change at the top of Genentech Research and Early Development (gRED) since the early days of the Roche takeover, when the Swiss pharma fenced off the biotech’s early-stage R&D from its own operations. Scheller–who was Genentech’s chief scientific officer prior to the acquisition–was put in charge of the standalone R&D unit within one month of Roche closing the deal.
 
Under Scheller, gRED has propped up its parent company by delivering a string of cancer drugs–offset by the occasional failure such as MetMab–and developed promising candidates for diseases including age-related macular degeneration. Genentech even made a rare big-ticket deal, paying $725 million in cash–and agreeing to up to $1 billion in milestones–to takeover Seragon Pharmaceuticals and its breast cancer program.
 
The challenge of realizing the promise of Seragon’s science will now fall on Varney, who will take over as head of gRED in January. Varney is stepping up from his current position as head of small molecule drug discovery, a role he took in 2005. Back then, Genentech was just setting up its small molecule R&D operation. Now, it has named a man who has spent his career working on small molecules–first at Viracept developer Agouron Pharmaceuticals–as the head of its early-stage R&D operation.
 
By Nick Paul Taylor
 

comments closed

Related News

February 4, 2023

MedTrace receives U.S. patent for diagnosing the human heart

Life sciences

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent to MedTrace for their method of diagnosing the human heart via 15O-water PET. The patented method is the foundation of the company’s software aQuant, currently under development. Hendrik “Hans” Harms, PhD and Senior Scientist at MedTrace, and Jens Soerensen, Professor and Clinical Advisor to MedTrace, are the originators of the method.

February 4, 2023

Roche taps insider Teresa Graham for top pharma job as setbacks prompt M&A questions

Life sciences

Teresa Graham, currently head of global product strategy for Roche pharma, will become the division’s new CEO next month, Roche said Thursday. Simultaneously, Roche is elevating Levi Garraway, chief medical officer, to the executive committee.

February 4, 2023

J&J’s pharma group quietly works through global overhaul, with layoffs expected to reach multiple countries

Life sciences

Fierce Pharma has obtained internal documents and video of a town hall meeting conducted this week describing what J&J called a “comprehensive review” of its portfolio. Moving forward, J&J plans to operate its vaccines and infectious diseases outfits as one group, the executives explained.

How can we help you?

We're easy to reach