Sanofi Poaches New CMO from Novartis AG

Sanofi Poaches New CMO from Novartis AG
March 10, 2016
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Paris-based Sanofi announced today that Ameet Nathwani has been appointed as executive vice president, group chief medical officer. This position was previously held by Paul Chew under the title senior vice president, chief medical officer. Chew plans to retire later this year. As part of the change, the position has been elevated to an Executive Committee level.

Most recently Ameet Nathwani was the senior vice president and global head of medical affairs at Swiss company Novartis . Nathwani joined Novartis in 2004 in the role as senior vice president and global development head of the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Franchise. Under his most recent position, he was an extended member of the Pharma Executive Committee, which undertook establishing a Real World Evidence Center of Excellence and Digital Medicine.

“Our industry is experiencing increased pressure to support reimbursement with customized data from real-world evidence, demonstrate ongoing benefit-risk of registered products through continuous scientific data generation, and ensure that data are effectively and transparently communicated,” said Olivier Brandicourt, Sanofi’s chief executive officer, in a statement. “In order to shape Sanofi’s strategy and enhance our world class medical capabilities to address these challenges we have elevated the role of the Chief Medical Officer to the Executive Committee. We are very happy to count on Ameet’s strong experience in both development and medical fields.”

Chew joined Aventis in May 2001 as vice president global cardiovascular-thrombosis development. Aventis merged with Sanofi in 2004. In 2007 Chew stepped into the role of senior vice president, head of U.S. Research and Development and chief science officer of Sanofi U.S., then to senior vice president, U.S. chief medical officer and head of medical affairs in 2009. In 2013, Chew became senior vice president and global chief medical officer for Sanofi Group, and in 2014 took on his current role.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Paul Chew for his many valuable contributions to Sanofi,” said Brandicourt in a statement. “During his long-standing career, Paul has been a highly valued and key Sanofi leader who has demonstrated strong medical leadership.”

Sanofi has been making major changes recently. Earlier this week it announced it was ending its 22-year-old joint venture with Merck & Co. , Sanofi Pasteur MSD. Sanofi Pasteur MSD manufactures vaccines that it markets in Europe. The two companies plan to absorb respective vaccines operations into their own operations.

The company is also in discussions regarding spinning off its animal health unit, Merial, as well as its European generics business. In mid-December, Sanofi and Germany-based Boehringer Ingelheim announced plans to exchange business units. Sanofi would swap Merial for Boehringer Ingelheim’s consumer healthcare (CHC) business. Boehringer Ingelheim’s CHC China business would not be part of the deal.

But sources indicated last week that this particular deal may not happen until later this year or potentially early 2017.

As part of its global restructuring, the company’s Sanofi Genzyme division, which focuses on rare diseases, is planning to expand further into rare diseases. In July, some of Sanofi’s cancer and immunology programs were shifted to Sanofi Genzyme. At one time, Sanofi Genzyme performed research in the oncology space, but abandoned it. Now it is relaunching cancer research. It is also attempting to strengthen its immunology drug pipeline, hoping to hear positive news about its rheumatoid arthritis drug, Sarilumab, in October from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The company has also suggested that it is in the market for mergers or acquisitions, especially in the area of rare diseases. Analysts have suggested possible targets such as San Rafael, Calif.-based BioMarin Pharmaceuticals , Carlsbad, Calif.-based Ionis Pharmaceuticals (formerly Isis Pharmaceuticals ), and Novato, Calif.-based Ultragenyx .

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