Rise, Sir Pangalos! AstraZeneca R&D lead knighted

One of AstraZeneca’s top research leaders has been knighted in the U.K.’s New Year 2020 Honours list.

Mene Pangalos (now Sir), has been recognized for his “services to U.K. science,” having served at the British-based Big Pharma since 2010 and, after a few change-ups, is now executive vice president of biopharmaceuticals R&D at the company, which covers most trials outside of oncology.

At the start of every year, the sitting U.K. government, via Her Majesty, can award traditional titles and knighthoods as a way of recognizing an individual’s services to a particular area such as science, television, charity work and so on.

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They have, over time, become more political in nature. Pangalos receives his knighthood at a time when the U.K. will now definitely be leaving the EU, in some way, after the recent general election gave a clear majority for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who’s mantra has been "Get Brexit done."

The government will be keen to ensure that AstraZeneca, one of the largest businesses in the U.K. and a major asset for its scientific prestige, will remain on its shores in the future.

Whatever the politics, Pangalos was very happy with the accolade, writing on Twitter: “I’m humbled by your kind words & congrats [from AstraZeneca]. As Steve Jobs said 'Great things are never done by one person; they're done by teams of people.' I have been lucky enough to work with some brilliant people & teams. Let’s keep rewriting medical textbooks & turning science into medicine.”

Pascal Soriot, CEO at AstraZeneca, said: “Mene’s knighthood is fitting recognition of his outstanding talent and commitment to UK science and drug discovery which is helping bring innovative new medicines to patients around the world. He has driven the transformation of research and development at AstraZeneca, with a remarkable improvement in productivity in recent years, and he is now accelerating efforts in the digital transformation of R&D.”