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AstraZeneca confirms Bohen to depart following recent R&D reorganization

AstraZeneca PLC confirmed reports that Chief Medical Officer Sean Bohen is to leave the company following the recent research and development reorganization at the U.K.'s second largest pharmaceutical company.

His departure comes a week after the Cambridge, England-based company split its R&D in two in a bid to speed up commercialization of medicines, and announced the appointment of Jose Baselga — formerly of New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center — to head up the oncology unit from early-stage research to commercialization. AstraZeneca's Mene Pangalos moved to head up a newly created biopharmaceuticals unit, having previously been in charge of early-stage research.

SNL ImageAstraZeneca Chief Medical Officer Sean Bohen
Source: AstraZeneca

"As a result of the organizational changes announced recently, Sean Bohen has decided to leave the company," spokesperson Gonzalo Vina told S&P Global. "He will remain until a new chief medical officer is announced."

"Unhelpful that Sean has left," said one analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity. "But there was a similar high profile departure 18 months ago which in my view made AZ a better company because of accelerated internal promotions. The bench is strong." Bohen's departure comes amid a shake-out of senior management since the start of 2019, after Bahija Jallal, who ran the Medimmune division in Gaithersburg, Md., left the company Jan. 4 to head up U.K. biotech Immunocore Ltd. and Mark Mallon announced he is also leaving AstraZeneca to take over as CEO of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc. In October, Ludovic Helfgott left AstraZeneca for Novo Nordisk A/S after a 13-year career where he was most recently global vice president of the cardiovascular, metabolism and renal global franchise.

Bohen joined AstraZeneca in 2015 from Roche Holding AG's Genentech Inc., where he oversaw preclinical and clinical development of across all therapy areas — respiratory, oncology and auto-immune — through to late-stage development. Prior to that, he was a clinical instructor in oncology at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Bloomberg News first reported news of Bohen's departure.