PHARMACY

GlaxoSmithKline Picks new CEO

BY Allison Cerra

LONDON GlaxoSmithKline PLC has selected the president and chief executive officer of its European pharmaceuticals division, the company announced Monday.

Andrew Witty, one of three internal candidates, was chosen to succeed Jean-Pierre Garnier as the pharmaceutical company’s chief executive officer in Europe.

“Andrew’s appointment follows a rigorous selection process by the board of directors,” said board chairman Sir Christopher Gent. “The Board is confident that Andrew will build on [Garnier]’s considerable achievements which have positioned GSK as a leader of the pharmaceutical industry.”

Witty, 43, joined the company in 1985 and has held his current position since 2003. He will become chief executive officer in May 2008.

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McKesson announces plans to acquire Oncology Therapeutics for $575 million

BY Adam Kraemer

SAN FRANCISCO McKesson Corp. announced plans Thursday to buy fellow cancer drug distributor Oncology Therapeutics network for $575 million, according to the Associated Press.

Based on IMS health data, McKesson expects annual sales of oncology drugs to double in the next four years to $60 billion. Oncology Therapeutics also distributes drugs for rheumatoid arthritis and hepatitis C, seeing about $3 billion in annual sales.

The acquisition would be McKesson’s second major purchase this year, the first being a $1.1 billion takeover of Per-Se Technologies, a health care administrator. Both purchases indicate an upswing for the company, which in January 2005 had to set aside more than $1 billion to resolve shareholder lawsuits revolving around a $12 billion acquisition of health-services software maker HBO & Co., which revealed only after the sale that it had been highly overvalued.

To help boost its stock price, the Associated Press reported, McKesson unveiled plans to spend an additional $1 billion in buying back its own shares. The company has already burned through $684 million of the $1 billion authorized in an earlier stock repurchase program announced in May.

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Pfizer hires two scientists to boost research operations

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK Pfizer has hired two senior scientists and promoted a third to help rejuvenate its lackluster research operations.

Briggs Morrison, M.D., a senior vice president of research at Merck, Pfizer’s rival, will become chief of clinical development. Corey S. Goodman, M.D., who recently stepped down as chief executive of Renovis, a biotech company, will become the head of a new biotech center based in San Francisco. Martin Mackay, M.D., the former deputy head of research at Pfizer will become chief of global research and development.

The company is trying to establish a new drug pipeline after having a disappointing couple of years in its research and development departments, which saw very few products, hit the market, while Merck saw a boom in product development.

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