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AstraZeneca loses two senior executives as biotechs appoint new CEOs

Published on 07/01/19 at 10:38am

Two of AstraZeneca’s senior executives have been poached by the biotech firms Ironwood Pharmaceuticals and Immunocore, as the two biotechnology companies announced the appointment of their new CEOs.

The Anglo-Swedish multinational saw two of its executives, Mark Mallon and Bahija Jallal, announce that they will leave AstraZeneca to join Cambridge, Massachussets-based Ironwood and Oxford, UK-based Immunocore as the two companies’ respective CEOs.

AstraZeneca veteran Mark Mallon brings with him 24 years’ worth of experience at the company, during which he took on a variety of senior executive positions. Mallon will join Ironwood at the time of the company’s planned split into two separate entities, which is on track for the first half of 2019.

Founding CEO Peter Hecht will take control of the company’s other branch Cyclerion Therapeutics which will be focused on the development of five sGC stimulators targeting the treatment of serious and orphan diseases as opposed to Ironwood which will be a gastrointestinal (GI) healthcare company.

Terrance G. McGuire, Ironwood’s chairman of the board of directors, commented, “We are delighted to name Mark and Peter to their new roles following the separation, as each of them is uniquely suited to maximize the value of the business they will lead.”

“Mark’s extensive experience building and shaping businesses, combined with his deep knowledge of GI, will be invaluable as he works to take Ironwood to the next level and create significant value for Ironwood stakeholders. Peter is an incredible entrepreneur and leader, and his passion for creating drugs that can change patients’ lives positions him and the team for success at Cyclerion.”

Meanwhile privately owned British biotech Immunocore has appointed 57 year old AstraZeneca executive Bahija Jallal as the company’s new CEO. Brigning to the role more than 25 years’ worth of experience Bahija has authored more than 70 peer-reviewed publications and holds more than 15 patents.

Sir John Bell, Chairman of Immunocore, said: “Bahija is the ideal candidate to lead Immunocore at this transformational point in its development. A champion for science and diversity, Bahija is a highly seasoned pharmaceutical executive with considerable experience in biologics R&D and immuno-oncology.”

Louis Goss

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