Roche’s CMO Horning to retire, Lilly’s high-flyer Garraway steps in

Roche’s influential chief medical officer Sandra Horning is to retire at the end of the year, the company has confirmed, to be replaced by a high-flyer from rival Eli Lilly.

Taking over after Horning leaves on December 31 is Levi Garraway, who has just left his role as Eli Lilly’s head of oncology R&D after three years.

Horning has been at Roche’s Genentech division since 2009, around the time the Swiss pharma acquired the San Francisco-based biologics unit.

After a two-decade stint at Stanford University School of Medicine, Horning joined Genentech/Roche as global head of oncology and haematology.

In January 2014 she was promoted to chief medical officer and global head of product development.

Sandra Horning Roche

Roche’s Sandra Horning

Horning has overseen the development of several key drugs, most recently the multiple sclerosis blockbuster Ocrevus (ocrelizumab), which Roche is hoping will help replace lost sales as its three big cancer drugs Herceptin, Avastin and Rituxan face competition from cheaper biosimilars.

But there have also been setbacks: like many other pharma companies Roche has tried and failed to produce a drug to tackle Alzheimer’s – it ended development of crenezumab at the beginning of this year after it became apparent that it was not working in trials.

Garraway has become the latest Eli Lilly executive to leave after biological medicines chief Christi Shaw quit to head Gilead’s Kite cancer immunotherapy unit.

He joined in 2016 after forging a reputation as a world leader in analysis of cancer genomics and resistance to targeted therapies.

Before joining Lilly, Garraway was associated professor of medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School.

He was also an associate physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Garraway was also a founder of Foundation Medicine, a company involved in cancer genomics diagnostics.

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