GlaxoSmithKline's head of dermatology joins JAK developer Aclaris

Gordon's exit from GSK follows the departures of multiple senior staff members as the company reforms its leadership. (Pixabay)

GlaxoSmithKline’s former head of dermatology R&D, David Gordon, has joined Aclaris Therapeutics as its new chief medical officer.

Aclaris also brought on the FDA’s Elaine Morefield to serve as director of product quality. At the agency, Morefield managed the chemistry, manufacturing and control review process for NDAs, and implemented the FDA’s quality-by-design initiative.

The hires come as the Wayne, Pennsylvania-based company plans to expand the number of clinical programs in its JAK inhibitor pipeline, including a phase 3 trial in common warts, according to Aclaris President and CEO Neal Walker.


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As a senior VP at GSK, Gordon led teams at all stages of discovery, development and postmarketing. During his 18 years at the company, he also served as clinical VP and medicine development leader in the immuno-inflammation and biopharmaceutical groups, and helped obtain regulatory approvals for the immunosuppressant drugs Nucala (mepolizumab)‎ and Benlysta (belimumab).

RELATED: Aclaris limps out to a $55M IPO as biotech falters on Wall Street

“The time I have spent in immuno-inflammation and dermatology has taught me about both the impact of dermatological diseases and how we can apply our knowledge of science to address the needs of these patients,” said Gordon in a statement.

Morefield, meanwhile, brings 30 years of pharmaceutical product development experience, including previous industry positions at Wyeth, Schering-Plough, DSM and Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

RELATED: Longtime GlaxoSmithKline CFO Dingemans, following his C-suite peers, heads for the exit

GSK’s senior staff has seen something of an exodus of late, as the company reforms under CEO Emma Walmsley—most recently with the departure of its vaccines chief, Luc Debruyne, announced earlier this week. Debruyne plans to leave at the end of the year after 27 years with the company, and will be replaced by Manufacturing & Supply President Roger Conner, effective Sept. 1.

Since taking the helm in March 2017, Walmsley has hired former Roche executive Hal Barron as head of R&D, and former AstraZeneca exec Luke Miels to run the pharmaceutical business.

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