Ex-Pfizer executives join Roivant's C-suite

The appointments come after Roivant launched its latest "vant," RNA-focused Genevant, in April. (Nadine Doerlé)

Roivant Sciences has recruited a pair of Pfizer veterans: Salomon Azoulay will serve as chief medical officer, while Adele Gulfo joins as chief of commercial development. 

Azoulay caps a nearly two-decade career at Pfizer, where he headed up various units, including development in Japan and the cardiovascular and metabolism therapy area. Most recently, he was a senior vice president and chief medical officer for Pfizer Essential Health, formerly the Big Pharma's Global Established Pharma business. 

Gulfo joins Roivant from Mylan, where she was an executive vice president and chief strategy officer. As a VP at AstraZeneca, she ran the cardiovascular business and then oversaw business development; while at Pfizer, she helmed the company's business in the U.S. and Latin America. 

The appointments come after Roivant launched its latest "vant" in April. Genevant, an RNA-focused joint venture with Arbutus Biopharma, plans to advance five to 10 programs into the clinic by 2020. Genevant joined seven other "vants," which have 24 investigational drugs across 11 therapeutic areas, according to Roivant. 

"As the scale and scope of our pipeline continue to grow and we approach commercialization for several therapies across the Vants, Sam and Adele will work to ensure that our medicines reach patients as quickly as possible," said Roivant CEO Vivek Ramaswamy. 

In April, Datavant, which aims to organize and link health data, reeled in $40.5 million and acquired Universal Patient Key, getting its hands on a suite of technologies designed to de-identify data, bridge multiple sources of information and connect internal records to the Social Security Death Index. 

But it hasn't been all smooth sailing for Roivant. Axovant's Alzheimer's drug, intepirdine, went down in flames in phase 3 last September. The company pressed ahead on a phase 2b trial in Lewy body dementia (DLB) but eventually dumped the program after it missed that study's primary endpoints. Add in an embarrassing J.P. Morgan presentation in which Axovant got its p-values wrong for nelotanserin, an Arena castoff being developed for DLB and Parkinson's disease dementia, and one needn't wonder why CEO David Hung, along with a few others, jumped ship in February.