Axovant poaches Allergan CMO to lead R&D recovery

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Axovant also revealed Michael Hayden, Ph.D., has agreed to head up its new scientific advisory board. (Pixabay)

Axovant has put Gavin Corcoran in charge of its R&D recovery. Corcoran is stepping down as CMO of Allergan to take up the position, which will see him try to guide Axovant back from the implosion of its Alzheimer’s R&D strategy.

The R&D strategy went off the rails last year when intepirdine failed a phase 3 trial. That led Axovant to dump the 5-HT6 inhibitor at the start of 2018 and later part company with multiple directors and senior executives, including CEO David Hung, M.D. The reorganization put Pavan Cheruvu, M.D., in charge of slimming down the business and refocusing it on different assets. Now, Cheruvu has brought Corcoran on board to support the effort.

Corcoran has spent the past few years working as CMO of Allergan. Like Brent Saunders, Corcoran used the series of mergers involving Forest Laboratories, Actavis and Allergan to secure leadership positions at progressively bigger firms.

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In taking up the position of EVP of R&D at Axovant, Corcoran has reversed the process, landing at a smaller but nonetheless closely-scrutinized company. Corcoran arrives at a time when Axovant is still figuring out which assets to focus on in its postintepirdine era. That gives the new arrival a chance to influence the list of drugs that will dominate his attention at Axovant.  

“I look forward to working closely with Pavan and the senior management team to bring new investigational medicines into the portfolio as we build upon Axovant’s capabilities in research and development,” Corcoran said in a statement.

Axovant unveiled Corcoran in a statement that also revealed Michael Hayden, Ph.D., has agreed to head up its new scientific advisory board. Hayden was a casualty of the upheaval at Teva, where he served as CSO until recently installed CEO Kare Schultz decided to remove him and two other heads of key divisions.  

Corcoran and Hayden join a company that has just come through a reorganization that saw it shed more than 40% of its employees. The new-look company will lean more heavily on parent company Roivant for support.