GlaxoSmithKline’s chief scientific officer Hal Barron will leave the firm this year to join a Silicon Valley anti-ageing start up, in a blow to the pharma giant as it looks to revamp its drug pipeline.
Dr Barron will be replaced in the CSO role in August byTony Wood, Senior Vice President, Medicinal Science and Technology, who will now take on responsibilities for GSK’s research and development.
Wood joined GSK from Pfizer in 2017 and has held responsibility for all its science and technology platforms and delivery of new medicines across the company.
Emma Walmsley, Chief Executive Officer said: “We are delighted to appoint Tony as our next CSO. He is an outstanding scientist who is highly respected inside and outside GSK.
“Tony has been a key partner to Hal in delivering our R&D approach, and with his experience and expertise across science, data and new technologies, he is perfectly placed to build on Hal’s outstanding progress and to deliver value from our pipeline.”
Barron’s departure will strike a blow to GSK as it looks to reinvigorate its underperforming drug pipeline.
The firm has outline plans to spin off its consumer arm into a separate entity to raise funds to pump into pharmaceutical R&D, after coming under pressure for underperformance from shareholders including notorious activist investor Elliott.
It emerged this week that consumer healthcare giant Unilever had made three cash-and-share approaches to buy GSK’s consumer arm last year, with the latest December offer valuing the consumer good arm at £50bn.