Gilead’s longtime R&D lead Bischofberger steps down


Gilead’s long-serving Norbert Bischofberger, Ph.D., is stepping down as EVP of R&D and chief scientific officer this April, as the company promotes John McHutchison, M.D., to the top job.

McHutchison, currently EVP of clinical research, will become CSO while taking over the company’s R&D org from Bischofberger next month.

This has also caused a domino effect for others at the company. Andrew Cheng, M.D., Ph.D., EVP of clinical research and ops, will become Gilead’s CMO, with both reporting to John Milligan, Ph.D., Gilead’s president and chief.

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Bischofberger, who started at Gilead in 1990 and became CSO 11 years ago, will leave the company completely in July.

There was no talk of retirement, or why Bischofberger had decided to leave, but Milligan said he and the company “wish him all the best in the next phase of his professional career,” meaning he’s likely to pop up somewhere else soon.

McHutchison has been at Gilead since 2010, coming from Duke University Medical Center, and started out as Gilead’s SVP of liver disease therapeutics. Cheng, meanwhile, has been at the company since 1999, leading its HIV/AIDS programs.

In his new CMO role, Cheng will “retain leadership of the company’s HIV clinical research program and will assume responsibility for Gilead’s medical affairs organization,” as Gilead gears up its HIV/AIDS pipeline, something that has analysts excited for its prospects.

Gilead’s big new prospect, of course, will be its CAR-T program coming out of its $12 billion deal for Kite Pharma last year, and its CAR-T 2.0 attempts with its much cheaper buyout of Cell Design Labs in December.