Shares in GlaxoSmithKline (LON:GSK) have advanced in today’s session as the company confirmed the departure of its chief scientific officer Dr Patrick Vallance who is leaving the British drugmaker to take a top job with the UK government. The FTSE 100 group meanwhile unveiled that it had appointed Calico’s Dr Hal Barron as a successor to Dr Vallance.
As of 14:17 GMT, GSK’s share price had jumped 1.34 percent to 1,361.00p, outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.10 percent higher at 7,520.58 points. The group’s shares have lost more than 13 percent of their value over the past year, as compared with about a 5.3-percent rise in the Footsie.
GSK’s chief scientist to leave pharmco
GSK announced in a statement today that Dr Patrick Vallance, President, R&D, had informed the Board of his intention to leave the company to become the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Government’s Office for Science. He will step down at the end of March to take up his new role. He will be responsible for providing scientific advice to the Prime Minister and advising the Government on aspects of policy on science and technology.
The announcement comes after news of Dr Vallance’s departure emerged last week.
Pharmco poaches former Roche exec
The blue-chip drugmaker announced in a separate statement that it had appointed Dr Hal Barron as its new chief scientist. He is currently President R&D at Calico, an Alphabet-funded company which uses advanced technologies to increase understanding of lifespanbiology. His prior roles include Executive Vice President, Head of Global Product Development, and Chief Medical Officer of Roche, responsible for all the products in the combined portfolio of Roche and Genentech. At Genentech, he was Senior Vice President Development and Chief Medical Officer.
“Hal has exceptional experience and a strong track record of developing significant new medicines,” GSK’s chief executive Emma Walmsley commented in the statement.
Walmsley, how took the helm of British drugmaker earlier this year, has been looking to narrow the focus of the group’s drug research on ‘priority assets’ which include treatments for respiratory conditions, HIV and infectious diseases.