Outgoing Moderna CMO Lands Seat on Teva Pharmaceuticals Board of Directors

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Weeks ahead of his departure from Moderna as Chief Medical Officer, Tal Zaks found a new role as a member of the board of directors of Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Teva announced the appointment in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Zaks will serve on the board’s Science and Technology Committee. 

In the filing, Teva acknowledged Zaks as a “unique combination of medical training, broad academic knowledge and experience and executive experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. His insights and experience in biopharmaceutical development… are expected to provide the board with a broad scientific perspective and understanding of pharmaceutical product development, science and technology.”

Zaks has served as CMO of Moderna since 2015. He has been instrumental in the company’s success with its mRNA vaccine for COVID-19, as well as its other ongoing programs. 

The company quietly announced his departure in February in its 2020 fourth quarterly report. Zaks will depart the company in September. Since the time of the announcement of his departure, he has been serving as a special adviser to Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Bancel. 

“Tal joined us when we were a pre-clinical company. His guidance and contributions were important in helping Moderna get to where we are today. Through his leadership over the past year in Moderna’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tal has made a contribution that extends beyond Moderna to all of society. I have enjoyed having him as my partner and wish him all the best as he embarks on the next leg of his career,” Bancel said in a statement in February.

Johnson & Johnson veteran Paul Burton was tapped to take over as CMO of Moderna following Zaks departure. 

Prior to his role at Moderna, Zaks held senior development positions at Sanofi, including Senior Vice President and Head of Global Oncology. Before that, Zaks held the role as Vice President of Clinical Research in Oncology at Cephalon, which Teva acquired in 2011. He worked for four years at GlaxoSmithKline, holding the Director of Clinical Development and Translational Medicine position. 

In addition to serving on the board of directors at Teva, the outgoing CMO also sits on the Adaptimmune Therapeutics Board of Directors. 

Zaks joins Teva, which is primarily known for its generic drugs, at a time the company is attempting to hold ground in the migraine space. 

However, with increasing competition from new medications, as well as a recent loss of some patents related to Ajovy, the company is gritting its teeth as it moves forward in this space. 

In addition to its migraine woes, Teva is also facing multiple lawsuits related to its opioid products.

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