Foster City, Calif.-based Gilead Sciences reorganized some of its executive leadership team after it was announced that Chief Medical Officer Andrew Cheng is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.
Cheng took over the role of CMO in March at the same time Norbert Bischofberger stepped down from his role as Gilead’s chief scientific officer. Cheng first joined Gilead in 1999 to head up the company’s development-stage programs in HIV/AIDS. He assumed additional responsibilities at the company and took over as executive vice president of development operations in 2009. When he was named chief medical officer, he was tasked with responsibility for Gilead’s Medical Affairs organization and also retained leadership of the company’s HIV clinical research program.
Cheng will remain at Gilead until September 7 to help with the transition of his duties, the company said. Gilead did not name a replacement for Cheng at this time, nor did it announce what opportunities Cheng is leaving to pursue.
John F. Milligan, Gilead’s chief executive officer, said Cheng has played a “definitive role” in bringing forward new medicines at Gilead.
“Andrew played an especially critical part in advancing our portfolio of HIV products, and we’re extremely grateful for his many contributions and wish him all the best in the future,” Milligan said in a brief statement.
Gilead also appointed Diana Brainard to helm the company’s HIV and emerging viral sections division. Brainard joined Gilead in 2010. In its announcement, Gilead said it was under Brainard’s leadership when the company snagged regulatory approval of four chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapies in a period of less than four years. Prior to this appointment, Brainard was named vice president of clinical research in liver disease in 2015.
“Diana is an astute, knowledgeable and experienced clinician and researcher with broad expertise across the field of infectious diseases. She played an instrumental role in the rapid clinical development and approval of Gilead’s HCV medicines,” Chief Scientific Officer John McHutchison said in a statement. “The vision and leadership that she brings to this role will enable Gilead to continue to innovate, and advance new therapies for people with HIV and other emerging viruses.”
Milligan added that the company is pleased Brainard will take over this “important therapeutic area” for the company.
Additionally, Gilead Sciences appointed veteran Gregg Alton as its new chief patent officer. Alton has been with the company for about 20 years. Gilead said he was the “architect of its access program” that has allowed its HIV drugs to reach so many patients. Alton has held roles as general counsel for Gilead and most recently led the company’s international commercial operations and corporate affairs groups.
Milligan said Alton has a broad understanding of the company, as well as an “unparalleled commitment” to bring the company’s medicines to customers across the globe.
Alton and Brainard are expected to take on their new roles immediately.
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