Pfizer R&D head exits for AstraZeneca

pharmafile | May 27, 2010 | News story | Research and Development AstraZeneca, Pfizer, appointment, research and development 

One of Pfizer’s two heads of research and development Martin Mackay is to leave the company for rivals AstraZeneca.

Only in the role since October, Mackay was part of a twin track approach where he oversaw a small molecule pharmaceutical unit while Mikael Dolsten lead a separate biologics R&D unit.

The system had been put in place after the merger with Wyeth, before which Mackay had been in sole charge of R&D between 2007 and 2009.

But Pfizer’s double-headed approach is to be short lived, as Dolsten will now take control of both units.

Mackay has been appointed to the newly-created position of president of R&D at AstraZeneca.

He will lead the company’s research and development and have overall accountability for delivering new products – small molecules and biologics – from AstraZeneca’s pipeline.

He will start his new role on 1 July 2010 and will be based at the company’s headquarters in London.

Born in Scotland, Martin earned a first class honours degree in Microbiology at Heriot-Watt University and a PhD in Molecular Genetics at the University of Edinburgh.

“Martin has impeccable scientific and leadership credentials combined with extensive experience of the pharmaceutical industry. I am delighted he is joining us,” said AstraZeneca’s chief executive David Brennan.

“We have a clear and unambiguous commitment to creating value through innovative biopharmaceuticals with research and development at the heart of our strategy. Martin’s appointment to this new role will provide a single point of senior accountability as we continue to make the changes necessary to improve the productivity and efficiency of our research and development organisation.”

Pfizer revises R&D strategy

Meanwhile Jeffrey Kindler, Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive, said it would merge its twin R&D units into one under Dolsten.

“Rapid integration has been enhanced by strong and steady collaboration between the two legacy R&D groups – making the consolidation under one leader a natural and progressive step to take at this point,” said Kindler.

Now renamed Pfizer Worldwide Research & Development, the organisation will include small molecules, large molecules and vaccine research and development.

Complimenting Dolsten’s “scientific expertise, vision for R&D and commercial mindset” Kindler added: “Having all of Pfizer’s research conducted under Mikael’s leadership will enrich the alignment between our research programmes and commercial teams to address important unmet medical needs and deliver the next generation of medicines.”

Rod MacKenzie, deputy to the departing Mackay as Head of Worldwide Research for PharmaTherapeutics R&D, will now take on the extra responsibilities of Asia
R&D strategy.

Andrew McConaghie

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