GlaxoSmithKline’s (LON:GSK) chief scientist is set to leave the blue-chip pharmco for a senior job in the UK government, the Financial Times has reported. News of the departure comes amid ongoing changes at the company whose new chief executive Emma Walmsley has been looking to narrow the focus of the group’s drug research.
GSK’s share price has been little changed in London in today’s session, having lost 0.04 percent to 1,357.89p as of 12:03 BST, as compared with a 0.04-percent gain in the benchmark FTSE 100 index. The group’s shares have lost more than 12 percent of their value over the past year, as compared with about an 11-percent rise in the Footsie.
Patrick Vallance to leave GSK
Sources with knowledge of the matter told the FT today that Patrick Vallance, president of research and development at GSK for nearly six years, is set to become the UK’s chief scientific adviser, providing counsel to the prime minister and cabinet. He will also become head of the Government Office for Science, improving the quality of scientific evidence and advice in government. The exact timing of his departure, however, remains unclear.
News of Vallance’s departure comes amid ongoing restructuring at under chief executive Emma Walmsley, who has been looking to focus the pharmco’s R&D resources on ‘priority assets’ which include treatments for respiratory conditions, HIV and infectious diseases. Earlier this year, GSK poached Luke Miels from FTSE 100 peer AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) as its new head of pharmaceuticals.
One person briefed on the situation told the FT that Vallance had interpreted the restructuring as a criticism. He, however, is nevertheless understood to have left the company solely because of the lure of the new job.