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Novartis snatches Amgen and BMS veteran for CMO and Drug Development Head

Published on 19/04/18 at 09:37am

Dr John Tsai has been welcomed to the fold as Novartis’ new Head of Global Development and Chief Medical Officer, stepping into the role vacated by Dr Vas Narasimhan, who has since taken up the mantle of CEO at the company. Dr Tsai will report directly to Dr Narasimhan and will also take up a position on the firm’s Executive Committee. He will commence the role on 1 May.

In his previous position, Dr Tsai served as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Global Medical at Amgen since May 2017, managing all clinical and medical functions across Novartis sites worldwide. In his new role, Dr Tsai’s primary remit will be the advancement of the company’s drug pipeline, while also lead ongoing transformation within its Global Drug Development organisation which is looking to better leverage advanced data sciences and digital technologies.

Before joining Amgen, Dr Tsai worked for rival pharma firm Bristol-Myers Squibb for 11 years in a range of senior roles. Most recently, he was Global Head of Clinical Development for marketed products and global clinical operations at the company, and before this he served as Chief Medical Officer, Europe, and Head of US Medical and Vice President of Cardiovascular Medical prior to that. Earlier in his career, before his stint with BMS, Dr Tsai worked at Pfizer as a cardiovascular group leader.

“I am delighted to welcome John to Novartis,” remarked Dr Narasimhan. “As we continue to reimagine drug development, his expertise across multiple therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular, oncology and neuroscience combined with his background in electrical engineering will be a source of great strength for Novartis. John has a great track record in nurturing talent across clinical development, medical affairs and development operations and shares our commitment to build an empowered and inspired organisation. I also want to express my sincere gratitude to Rob Kowalski for his excellent ad interim leadership of the GDD organisation.”

Discussing his appointment, Dr Tsai said: “I feel honoured to have the opportunity to lead the Novartis Global Drug Development organisation and do my part in bringing forward the company's strong pipeline of medicines that address some of humanity's biggest health challenges. I am also excited to work with my colleagues at Novartis to pioneer novel paradigms for drug development with data and digital technologies at the core.”

Matt Fellows

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