KENILWORTH, N.J., July 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Schering-Plough Corporation today announced executive changes in Schering-Plough Research Institute (SPRI), the research and development arm of Schering-Plough.
Thomas P. Koestler, Ph.D., has been named executive vice president and president of SPRI and a member of the company's Executive Management Team (EMT). Koestler was previously executive vice president, Global Development, SPRI, and an advisor to EMT. He succeeds Cecil B. Pickett, Ph.D., who is retiring from the company to join Biogen Idec. In addition, Catherine D. Strader, Ph.D., executive vice president, Discovery Research, SPRI, is promoted to executive vice president, SPRI, and Chief Scientific Officer of the company. These changes are effective Sept. 1, 2006.
"Tom Koestler has the leadership and experience to advance our product pipeline and ensure that Schering-Plough remains at the forefront of drug discovery and development," said Fred Hassan, chairman and CEO. "As we congratulate Tom in taking on this new role, we also thank Cecil Pickett for the enormous contributions he has made in building SPRI to its level of scientific excellence and directing the exciting research paths now being explored. Schering-Plough, and the patients who someday will benefit from medicines now in development, are truly indebted to Cecil."
Hassan also gave credit to Dr. Strader for advances being achieved in the company's discovery programs. "Catherine has built a highly productive discovery group that is making exciting progress in finding new molecular approaches to treating serious diseases."
Hassan said that to facilitate the changes in SPRI and ensure a smooth transition, he has formed an R&D Council, which he will chair and which will include senior SPRI executives.
Koestler in his new position will be responsible for all aspects of SPRI, including replacing Pickett in heading up the Pharmaceutical Leadership Board (PLB). The PLB guides the strategic direction of product development programs and oversees the movement of projects through the development, registration and launch phases.
Koestler joined Schering-Plough in August 2003 as executive vice president, Global Regulatory Affairs and Project Management, SPRI, responsible for globalizing the regulatory affairs function and strengthening the link between the Global Pharmaceutical Business operations, SPRI and manufacturing through the project management process. He was appointed to his most recent position in January 2005. In that role, Koestler was responsible for setting the strategic direction and implementation plans for the pharmaceutical development organization, including worldwide clinical development, pharmaceutical sciences, global regulatory affairs and global project management.
Koestler has more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Before joining Schering-Plough, he was senior vice president and head of global regulatory affairs for Pharmacia Corporation. Prior to joining Pharmacia, Koestler was senior vice president and global head, drug regulatory affairs, compliance assurance, clinical safety and epidemiology for Novartis. Before that appointment, he was senior director, drug regulatory affairs, at Ortho McNeil and a director of regulatory affairs at Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Koestler received his Ph.D. degree from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, Roswell Park Memorial Institute, where he studied medicine and pathology. He holds a B.S. degree in biology from Daeman College, Amherst, N.Y.
Strader is responsible for the drug discovery operations of Schering- Plough, including biology, genomics, medicinal and structural chemistry research, through both internal programs and external collaborations. The Discovery group is focused on finding novel therapeutic agents in the areas of respiratory, cardiovascular, oncology, neurobiology, inflammation and infectious diseases, pursuing both small molecule and biologics-based approaches to treatment. Strader also chairs the Research Leadership Committee, with oversight responsibility for the company's preclinical research portfolio.
Strader joined Schering-Plough in 1995 as vice president, CNS, cardiovascular and genomics research. She was appointed senior vice president, discovery biological research, in 2002 and assumed her most recent position in 2003. Strader came to Schering-Plough from Merck Research Laboratories, where she served as executive director, department of molecular pharmacology and biochemistry.
Strader earned a B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va., and a Ph.D. degree in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. She completed postdoctoral work at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Duke University, Durham, N.C.
Schering-Plough is a global science-based health care company with leading prescription, consumer and animal health products. Through internal research and collaborations with partners, Schering-Plough discovers, develops, manufactures and markets advanced drug therapies to meet important medical needs. Schering-Plough's vision is to earn the trust of the physicians, patients and customers served by its more than 32,000 people around the world. The company is based in Kenilworth, N.J., and its Web site is http://www.schering-plough.com.