Category Archives: Recruitment

Pfizer CEO Ian Read set to step down from head position

Wax Selection – Leaders in Pharma, Biotech & MedTech Recruitment

Ian Read is set to step down from his position as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of American pharma firm Pfizer, having led the company for the past eight years.

In handing the reins to Pfizer veteran Albert Bourla, who was elected unanimously by the pharma giant’s board of directors, the Scottish-born CEO suggested that “now is the right time for a leadership change.”

“It’s been an honour to serve as Pfizer’s CEO for the past eight years,” Read said. “However, now is the right time for a leadership change, and Albert is the right person to guide Pfizer through the coming era. Albert is an energizing leader who has an unwavering commitment to serving patients. With 25 years at Pfizer, he has developed an extensive knowledge of the industry and demonstrated an ability to build and grow businesses. With Albert at the helm, our dedicated colleagues across the globe are poised to deliver the next stage of growth. I look forward to working with Albert and the Board to continue serving patients and delivering value for shareholders.”

The position will be taken over by current Chief Operating Officer (COO) Bourla, who will assume his new role on January 1st 2019. Meanwhile Read will transition into his new position as Executive Chairman of Pizer’s board of directors.

“I am humbled and privileged to be the next CEO of Pfizer, and I appreciate the confidence that both Ian and the Board of Directors have placed in me. I also want to thank Ian for his constant support, and am fortunate to have him as both a mentor and friend. I welcome Ian’s continuing contributions as Executive Chairman.”

Since joining the company in 2010 the Imperial College London graduate has overseen 30 FDA approvals, a 70% increase in annual dividends, and total shareholder return of 250%.

However, having joined Pfizer as the firm was hit by the expiry of the patents on both Viagra, and the world’s best-selling drug Lipitor; Read persevered through a turbulent period for the US drugmaker, during which the company experienced $27 billion in lost sales.

Nevertheless the Pfizer chief received a 61% pay rise last year in agreement for staying on at the company until March. The boost saw his total pay package come in at $27.9 million, making him one of the highest paid execs in the whole of the pharmaceutical industry.

Shantanu Narayen, Lead Independent Director of Pfizer’s Board of Directors, commented: “On behalf of the Board of the Directors, I want to thank Ian for his remarkable leadership as CEO. During an extraordinary period for the company, he successfully managed through $23 billion of lost revenue due to product losses of exclusivity, while at the same time driving strong and consistent financial performance and investing for the future. Consequently, Pfizer now has a pipeline that we believe is as deep and strong as ever. In addition, Ian has built a unique ownership culture that increased accountability and encouraged collaboration. As such, the company is now better positioned for success”

He added that “Today’s leadership announcement is part of a thoughtful, multi-year succession planning process”

Pfizer shares were up 0.4% in pre-market trade in New York on Monday morning after closing on a 17 year high.


Agios names former Celgene executive Jacqualyn Fouse as next CEO

Wax Selection – Leaders in Pharma, Biotech & MedTech Recruitment

Agios Pharmaceuticals Inc on Tuesday said former Celgene Corp executive Jacqualyn Fouse would be its next chief executive officer, replacing longtime CEO David Schenkein.

Fouse, who rose through the ranks at Celgene to become president and chief operating officer before leaving the biotech company last year, is already a member of the Agios board. She will assume her new role on Feb. 1, 2019, the company said.

Schenkein, who took over as Agios CEO in 2009, will transition to the role of executive chairman and serve on the board’s Science & Technology Committee, the biotech said.

Schenkein led Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Agios from a research company to a $4.68 billion drugmaker with two approved cancer medicines.

Fouse is highly regarded by Wall Street and her name has been bandied about with each high profile executive opening in the biotech industry since her June 2017 “retirement” from Celgene. She also previously served as chief financial officer of food company Bunge Limited.

She said she intends to focus on existing drug candidates in development, as well as strategies for expansion in markets outside the United States, Fouse told Reuters in an interview.

Fouse, who led various divisions at Celgene before becoming president and COO, joined the Agios board last December. Agios has an oncology development deal with Celgene.

Agios in July received U.S. approval for Tibsovo to treat acute myeloid leukemia in patients with a specific genetic mutation. It is the company’s first wholly owned drug. Its first approved leukemia treatment, Idhifa, was partnered with Celgene.

Agios shares have risen 39 percent since the start of the year.


Veteran analyst Eric Schmidt moves over to biotech as Allogene’s new CFO

Wax Selection – Leaders in Pharma, Biotech & MedTech Recruitment

Longtime Cowen analyst Eric Schmidt is joining Arie Belldegrun’s latest CAR-T startup, Allogene, as its chief financial officer.

The announcement comes six weeks after Schmidt confirmed that he was considering a job offer from the company, which is working on off-the-shelf CAR-T therapies.

“Eric is an enormously talented individual with a rare blend of insight into multiple facets of the industry and deep relationships within the financial community. We are very fortunate to have him join the Allogene executive team and look forward to him applying his expertise to our vision for allogeneic cell therapy,” said Allogene CEO and President, David Chang, M.D., Ph.D, in a statement.

Schmidt joined Cowen in 1998, where he served as managing director and senior biotechnology analyst. Though he’s leaving his post at Cowen, he will stay on as a senior advisor to the company.

After creating the first CAR-T for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and selling their company off to Gilead, the former Kite Pharma executives Belldegrun and Chang returned for chapter two—allogeneic, or off-the-shelf CAR-T. They launched the startup in April, with $300 million in series A capital and a suite ofe early-stage allogeneic CAR-T assets, licensed from Cellectis, by way of Pfizer.

Pfizer licensed 16 CAR-T assets from Cellectis in 2014 for $80 million up front and another $185 million per product up for grabs, making the deal potentially worth as much as $2.9 billion. A year later, Pfizer and Servier gained the rights to another CAR-T candidate, UCART19, which has now become Allogene’s lead asset, with phase 2 trials slated to start in 2019.

While Kite and Novartis earned the first approvals for CAR-T treatments in 2017, there remains much room for improvement. Their therapies, Yescarta and Kymriah, are both indicated for blood cancers, with most CAR-Ts seeing limited success in solid tumors. Moreover, CAR-T cells are made by collecting a patient’s T cells, modifying them to better target and destroy cancer and then putting them back into the patient. This makes manufacturing complex and time-consuming. An allogeneic approach uses donor cells, which can be stored and used off the shelf.

“I’ve watched and analyzed dozens of companies as they worked to bring innovative and transformative new therapies to the market,” Schmidt said. “I have greatly admired the team and investors behind Allogene and consider myself very fortunate to be in a position to help make a difference in the lives of patients who are facing cancer.”


Lilly hires Leena Gandhi as new look I-O team takes shape

Wax Selection – Leaders in Pharma, Biotech & MedTech Recruitment

Eli Lilly has appointed Leena Gandhi, M.D., Ph.D., to lead immuno-oncology medical development.

The thoracic oncologist will head up a team tasked with overseeing the advance of Lilly’s portfolio of immuno-oncology prospects.

Gandhi joins Lilly from NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center, where she served as director of thoracic medical oncology. In that capacity and during an earlier spell at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Gandhi played a leading role in multiple phase 1 to 3 clinical trials, including Merck’s KEYNOTE-189 study of a Keytruda-based combination in patients with NSCLC.

This work, particularly as it relates to evaluating drug response biomarkers, has given Gandhi a résumé that maps onto the needs of oncology R&D shops. Kimberly Blackwell, M.D., the Lilly VP who Gandhi will report to, sees Gandhi’s experience as a boon for her new employer.

“Dr. Gandhi is highly regarded for her experience in thoracic oncology and immunotherapy,” Blackwell said in a statement. “We know that her expertise and innovative thinking will lead to significant progress for patients facing cancer through the use of immune therapies.”

Gandhi and Blackwell make up part of a new look oncology R&D leadership team at Lllly. Blackwell took up her post as VP of early phase development and immuno-oncology last month. Like Ghandi, Blackwell arrived at Lilly from academia. The oncologist made her name, and landed a spot on TIME’s 2013 list of the 100 most influential people in the world, on the basis of her work at Duke University.

Blackwell is working under Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., who, having succeeded Richard Gaynor, M.D., at the start of 2017, is a fairly recent appointment, too.

Other parts of the R&D group are also set to come under new leadership in the next five weeks. Maura Dickler, M.D., is due to swap life at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s for the position of VP of late-phase development in oncology at Lilly next week. And the following month Dan Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., will step up to replace Jan Lundberg, Ph.D., as head of Lilly Research Labs.


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

Wax Selection – Leaders in Pharma, Biotech & MedTech Recruitment

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.”


Pfizer to hang onto CEO, after 61% pay increase

Wax Selection – Leaders in Pharma, Biotech & MedTech Recruitment

Pfizer have given its Chief Executive Officer, Ian Read, a big boost to his pay packet, taking it to $27.9 million, but only in return for a commitment to stay with the company for the next year.

In addition, Pfizer have also inserted a provision that ensures Read cannot take up a position with another pharma company for a further two years after next March.

It’s not so much a golden handshake, as golden handcuffs to the role – now 65 years old, Read is eligible to retire from the company on a $15.7 million pension deal.

Pfizer’s statement on pay decision reads: “Over the last several years, the Board has been working to ensure the successful execution of its succession plan for the CEO in anticipation of his potential retirement.  Mr. Read has a strong track record of creating value for shareholders during his tenure as CEO. Accordingly, the Committee and Board believe that it is in the best interests of the company and our shareholders to ensure his continued leadership through a critical period in Pfizer’s business transformation, and to effect a smooth and seamless transition as we face both anticipated and unanticipated challenges.”

A big part of the deal is based on an $8 million special equity award, which will need to see Pfizer’s stock rise by 25% and remain at this level for 30 consecutive days. Given that Pfizer’s share price only gained 16.7% last year, this means that Read will have to find some impressive means of achieving this growth.

The company attempted to do this with its buy-in to join Merck KGaA in the development and commercialisation of Bavencio, a PD-L1 immunotherapy.

It seemed a safe bet to have a stake in the next generation of immunotherapies coming through, but even this drug has begun to struggle, with a few notable failures in the clinic.

This may put even more pressure for Pfizer to look into a big acquisition and, now that it’s repatriating offshore cash, it certainly has the balance to achieve that.


National Market Access Lead, Associate Director

Wax Selection – Leaders in Pharma, Biotech & MedTech Recruitment

Are you truly making a difference?

This is the mantra for our client who focuses on developing innovative therapies for people coping with serious diseases the world over.

If you would consider yourself to be an expert on NHS funding and access policies and have a broad background in developing and executing strategic commissioning and access plans at a National level for highly specialised products, then we would like to speak with you.

Our client is a global biotechnology company with over 40 years of heritage working across multiple specialist therapy areas.

Ideally, we are looking for somebody with a background in developing and executing market access strategies for biologic products , and who is capable of working efficiently in a cross-functional matrix environment.

You do not need to have HEOR experience, however, working knowledge of budget impact modelling would be advantageous.

Why apply?

– Highly visible position working a priority area of the business

– Autonomous position reporting into an incredibly seasoned and empowering industry expert

– Collaborative and innovation focussed business environment

– Industry leading salary and benefits package with a big focus on wellness.


– Initial telephone interview with us on application, if you decide you would like to proceed further, we would submit your details to the hiring manager for review

– The second stage would be a relatively informal first stage interview with the hiring manager to ascertain fit both sides

– If you are still interested, and the hiring manager agrees! There will be an HR interview along with a structured assessment process which will include a variety of stakeholders from the business – it is likely that the process will extend into January 2018. However, our client is keen to close the position down within the next 4-6 weeks.

To discuss this position in detail or for any further information, please contact Wax Selection on 0844 8009021.

Medical Advisor – Oncology

Wax Selection – Leaders in Pharma, Biotech & MedTech Recruitment

Are you frustrated by the silos and limitations of working in big pharma?

Would you like more autonomy and the ability to have a direct and positive impact on the medical affairs strategy for your business?

If so then you need to speak to our client! Our client is a well-established mid-size bio-pharmaceutical company with an exciting portfolio of existing oncology products as well as late stage pipeline in oncology, speciality and rare disease assets.

Due to the continued success and growth of the business two new positions have been created within the medical affairs directorate; if you are a GMC or GPhC and would like to learn more please contact me for an informal chat.

Benefits of the role:

  • Dynamic working environment
  • Bespoke career development plans – no more traditional talent frameworks
  • Competitive salary and benefits package
  • Solid research and development pipeline plus robust ‘invest to grow’ strategy
  • Collaborative culture
  • Highly autonomous position with the opportunity to impact the wider medical affairs strategy
  • Global career development prospects without the need to relocate from the UK

Ideally you will already be a final medical signatory with some experience of working on HTA submissions and new product/programme launches.

If you are keen to be part of something great, part of an innovative and nimble organisation that truly puts its people at the centre of everything to enable the business to deliver outstanding value to their customers and best in class treatments and services to their patients then apply today for an informal chat.

What next?…

  • Stage 1 would be an informal chat with us followed by a more structured face-time interview if you are interested in applying
  • Stage 2 we will submit your CV to the hiring manager – this will then be followed up with an initial informal meeting or telephone call with the hiring manager
  • Stage 3 will be a meeting in head office where you will get the opportunity to meet with several members of the business across the medical and commercial directorate

We would like to conclude the interview process this side of Christmas (2017!) to allow you enough time to start working your notice period.

To discuss this position in detail or for any further information, please contact Wax Selection on 0844 8009021.

Collegium bring in former Biogen SVP as new COO

Wax Selection – Leaders in Pharma, Biotech & MedTech Recruitment

Collegium Pharmaceutical has announced the appointment of Joseph Ciaffoni to the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

Collegium Pharma is a speciality company that is developing abuse-deterrent products for the treatment of chronic pain.

Ciaffoni begins the new role effective immediately. He brings with him a broad range of experience from different pharmaceutical companies, having worked at six different pharmaceutical companies in the preceding 15 years. He occupied the role of President of US Branded Pharmaceuticals for Endo Pharmaceuticals prior to joining Collegium and held roles at Biogen for over 4 year, performing the role of Senior Vice President of its Global Speciality Medicines Group when he left.

Speaking on his appointment, Ciaffoni explained his decision to join the company: “Opioid abuse and misuse is a significant problem across the country [US], at the same time that chronic pain patients are seeking effective treatments.  I believe that Xtampza ER can be a critical part of the solution.  I’m excited to join Collegium at this important point in the company’s evolution”.

“We are excited to have Joe join Collegium in this newly created role,” said Mike Heffernan, Collegium’s CEO. “Joe’s industry experience is extensive and includes building commercial businesses, leading emerging growth and multi-national organizations and achieving success across multiple therapeutic categories, including pain management. Joe has a proven track record of success across multiple product launches and the commercialisation of numerous products.”