Full circle for Paul Burton as Moderna exec returns to Amgen, this time for expanded CMO role

After nearly 20 years away, pharma vet Paul Burton, M.D., Ph.D., is returning to Amgen, where he will take on an expanded version of the chief medical officer position he currently holds at Moderna.

On June 26, Burton will assume the title of Amgen senior vice president and CMO, according to an internal memo sent to Amgen staff by R&D Executive VP David Reese.

Paul Burton, MD, PHD
Paul Burton, M.D., Ph.D. (Amgen)

The appointment comes a few months after Amgen shook up its structure with the formation of a so-called chief medical office. The changes expand the CMO's oversight to include global medical, regulatory and patient safety issues as well as R&D strategy and operations. In the recently renovated role, Burton will report to Reese.

Amgen considered several candidates and held discussions with key stakeholders before selecting Burton as CMO, according to Reese. Burton will take the reins from SVP of Global Medical Darryl Sleep, M.D., who has been leading the chief medical office in an interim capacity since the organizational changes in March. Sleep will continue to lead the global medical aspect of the chief medical office when Burton joins.

The pharma vet took up the CMO role at Moderna in July 2021, when he was poached from Johnson & Johnson shortly after the company rolled out its COVID-19 vaccine. During his 16 years at J&J, Burton held various leadership positions, most recently as chief global medical affairs officer for its pharmaceutical unit Janssen.

Prior to J&J, Burton had actually been at Amgen, working as a global development leader after the Immunex merger from 2002 to 2005.