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AstraZeneca appoints leading cancer researcher José Baselga as new head of oncology R&D

Baselga resigned from his position as physician-in-chief at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center last year amid reports that he had failed to disclose payments from healthcare companies in some of his research articles

jose baselga
The Spaniard is still highly thought of in his field

AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN) has appointed “world-renowned oncology scientist” José Baselga as the new head of its research and development unit for Oncology.

Until last year, Baselga was the physician-in-chief at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, but he was forced to resign from his position in September after reports claimed he had failed to disclose millions of dollars in payments from healthcare companies in some of his research articles.

READ: Hat-trick of late-stage successes for Astra

The 59-year-old Spaniard, who acknowledged that he had failed “to make appropriate disclosures in scientific and medical journals and at professional meetings”, also resigned from the board of Bristol-Myers Squibb – one of Astra’s big rivals.

Baselga’s appointment is part of a series of planned changes at the FTSE 100 drugs giant, which it hopes will more closely align its R&D and commercial teams, at a time when several of its pipeline drugs are making the transition from the clinic to the hospital.

Ruud Dobber, who used to lead Astra’s commercial operations in North America, will now head up the BioPharmaceuticals commercial unit. He will work with former Innovative Medicines and Early Development Biotech Unit boss Mene Pangalos, who is heading up the BioPharma R&D division.

“We are entering what we expect will be a period of sustained growth for years to come, which is why we have decided to more closely align our R&D and commercial operations,” said chief executive Pascal Soriot.

“This new structure will support growth and sharpen the focus on our main therapy areas, speeding up decisions and making us more productive in our mission to bring innovative medicines to patients.”

AstraZeneca shares were down 1.2% to 6,015p on Monday afternoon.

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