Chris Corsico jumps from Boehringer to head development at GSK

GSK building
Corsico, who spent two decades at Boehringer, will start Jan. 1 and report to Hal Barron, the British pharma’s CSO and R&D chief. (GlaxoSmithKline)

When Boehringer Ingelheim announced last Monday that Chief Medical Officer Chris Corsico was on his way out, the company said only that he would be pursuing his career “outside of the company.” Now, Reuters reports, Corsico will fill a new role at GlaxoSmithKline: senior vice president of development. 

Corsico, who spent two decades at Boehringer, will start Jan. 1 and report to Hal Barron, GSK’s CSO and R&D chief, himself relatively new to the organization. Barron joined the British pharma in January as part of CEO Emma Walmsley’s R&D reorganization. He previously led global product development at Calico and served as chief medical officer at Genentech and then at Roche. 

In July 2017, Walmsley announced her shakeup on her first earnings call since taking the helm—the company would divest or drop about 30 R&D programs and narrow its focus to respiratory medications and HIV, as well as explore oncology and immuno-inflammation. But that wasn’t all. To come up with £1 billion in annual cost savings by 2020 slated to fund R&D and expand its vaccines capacity, the company planned to dump 130 brands that brought in less than £500 million in annual sales and plumb the supply chain for savings. 

To carry off the turnaround, Walmsley said Glaxo would look at bringing in fresh talent from outside the company. Corsico and Barron are just the latest to be brought on. She has replaced 40% of GSK’s top management team across all its businesses. She has poached Luke Miels from AstraZeneca to head up GSK’s pharma division, as well as a pair of Novartis veterans—Tobias Hestler became CFO of the consumer unit and Christine Roth took over the oncology business. Lisa Martin left Teva to join as GSK’s chief procurement officer and Tony Wood hopped over from Pfizer to join the R&D team. 

The latest news about GSK’s structure came in July, when Walmsley laid to rest rumors that the conglomerate would spin off its consumer unit. It will keep its three-unit structure and focus on cutting costs instead. 

As for Boehringer, Thor Voigt, currently the company’s medical director for Germany, has agreed to step up to the CMO role, effective Oct. 1. The German pharma has been busy of late, most recently ponying up €230 million ($268 million) for the construction of a new biologics R&D site in Biberach, Germany, and inking an immuno-oncology deal with OSE Immunotherapeutics worth up to $1.4 billion.

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