Amgen Exec John Tsai to Head Novartis’ Global Drug Development
Tsai was most recently chief medical officer and senior vice president of Global Medical at Amgen, where he had been since May 2017. Before joining Amgen, Tsai was with Bristol-Myers Squibb for eleven years, most recently as Global Head of Clinical Development for marketed products and global clinical operations. Before Bristol-Myers Squibb, he led Pfizer’s cardiac group from 2000 to 2006.
Tsai received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and a medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He conducted his residency at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco, where he then served as an internal medicine physician, Chief Resident, and hospital faculty.
He is replacing Vas Narasimhan, who moved up as chief executive officer of Novartis on February 1. Rob Kowalski had been filling the spot in the interim, and now that Tsai is taking over, will return to his duties as head of Global Regulatory Affairs for Global Drug Development.
Part of Tsai’s duties will be handling the $9 billion research-and-development at Novartis, one of the top three R&D budgets in the world, along with Merck and Roche. He will be working closely Jay Bradner, who took over as president of Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) in 2016.
Big programs in the Novartis late-stage pipeline include AVXS-101, a gene therapy product for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), that came out of its recent acquisition of AveXis for $8.7 billion, its multiple sclerosis drug siponimod, and its canakinumab for cardiac problems. It also has RTH258 in development, which could be a direct competitor to Regeneron’s Eylea, for age-related macular degeneration. Novartis also has erenumab, a CGRP inhibitor to treat migraines waiting in the wings.