Ex- Roche and Calico vet Hal Barron is now the new CSO and chief of research at big pharma GlaxoSmithKline during a re-structuring from its new Chief Executive Officer Emma Walmsley. The new hire was on the fence since the release of a report from the Financial Times this week that stated its previous research chief Patrick Vallance took on a new endeavor with the U.K government as a science adviser. Vallance will now definitely be leaving, taking up the FT-reported role of government science adviser; he leaves March 2018.
Barron brings experience to the table, as he was previously the CMO of oncology company Roche/Genentech and Alphabet’s biotech company Calico. Barron will most likely have a big role in advancing R&D productivity for a Big Pharma that has seen little approvals or exhilarating research updates in the last couple of years, which sold most of its cancer work to Novartis back in 2015.
Barron will be residing in San Francisco, running this new office for GSK along with its Stevenage, U.K., office, and headquarters.
“The new office presence in San Francisco will be focused on business development for R&D,” the company reported in a statement, as it enhances its geographic footprint.
Walmsley, who has been changing things with her R&D executives since taking the CEO role in April, stated: “Scientific innovation must be at the heart of GSK and with the appointment of Hal, we are bringing one of the world’s foremost R&D leaders to the company.”
Philip Hampton, chairman at GSK, also commented: “We are delighted that Hal will be joining GSK and look forward to welcoming him to the Board. He is a highly respected clinician-scientist with a proven ability to generate value for shareholders and his appointment reflects the Board’s commitment to investing in research and development.”
Barron stated: “GSK is a company with a rich history of innovation, with many talented scientists who care deeply about translating great science into therapies that make a meaningful difference for patients. I believe there is a significant opportunity to accelerate this effort and am looking forward to joining Emma and the team on this mission.”