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AstraZeneca unveils organisational change as oncology leader Dr José Baselga joins


By Paul Brackley


Dr Jose Baselga, AstraZeneca's executive vice-president, research & development oncology. Picture: AstraZeneca (6374929)
Dr Jose Baselga, AstraZeneca's executive vice-president, research & development oncology. Picture: AstraZeneca (6374929)

AstraZeneca has confirmed organisational changes and the appointment of a world-renowned oncology scientist.

The biopharmaceutical company has announced the creation of new research and development units focused on its key therapy areas - one for biopharmaceuticals, covering cardiovascular, renal and metabolism (CVRM) and respiratory, and one for oncology - with “dynamic resource allocation” across its pipeline.

These R&D units will be mirrored by commercial units for biopharmaceuticals and oncology.

Cambridge-based Dr Mene Pangalos, who was previously responsible for the company’s Innovative Medicines and Early Development (IMED) Biotech Unit, will head up the R&D unit for biopharmaceuticals.

Dr Mene Pangalos, executive vice president, research and development biopharmaceuticals. Picture: AstraZeneca / Marcus Lyon
Dr Mene Pangalos, executive vice president, research and development biopharmaceuticals. Picture: AstraZeneca / Marcus Lyon

The R&D unit for oncology will be led by Dr José Baselga, a leader in the field with extensive experience in the development of innovative cancer therapies, who joined the company on Monday.

Dr Baselga was previously physician-in-chief at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. Prior to this, he was chief of the division of hematology/oncology and associate director at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Ruud Dobber, AstraZeneca's executive vice-president, commercial biopharmaceuticals Picture: AstraZeneca/Marcus Lyon (6374931)
Ruud Dobber, AstraZeneca's executive vice-president, commercial biopharmaceuticals Picture: AstraZeneca/Marcus Lyon (6374931)

The biopharmaceuticals commercial unit will be led by Ruud Dobber, who previously headed up AstraZeneca’s commercial operations in North America, while the oncology commercial unit will continue to be led by Dave Fredrickson. Leadership for the international commercial organisation is unchanged.

The leaders of the units will report to CEO Pascal Soriot, who said: “We are entering what we expect will be a period of sustained growth for years to come, which is why we have decided to more closely align our R&D and commercial operations.

“This new structure will support growth and sharpen the focus on our main therapy areas, speeding up decisions and making us more productive in our mission to bring innovative medicines to patients.

AstraZeneca Cambridge Biomedical Campus, topping out, Pascal Soriot. Picture: Keith Heppell. (6374941)
AstraZeneca Cambridge Biomedical Campus, topping out, Pascal Soriot. Picture: Keith Heppell. (6374941)

“In line with these changes, I am delighted to welcome José to AstraZeneca. An outstanding scientific leader in oncology, José’s research and clinical achievements have led to the development of several innovative medicines, and he is an international thought leader in cancer care and clinical research.

“José’s expertise adds further scientific and leadership excellence to our already strong team and will help us to continue building a world-class R&D unit for oncology.”

Dr Baselga, who will be executive vice president of the oncology R&D unit, said: “After more than 30 years helping develop medicines in this area, it is a true privilege to now have the opportunity to work with the tremendous oncology expertise at AstraZeneca.

“Bringing the discovery through to late-stage development chain into one unit will make the process more agile and accelerate our work to bring transformative medicines to patients. This really is a dream job.”

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