Pfizer taps new R&D leaders as Gutiérrez-Ramos heads back into biotech

Pfizer's José-Carlos Gutiérrez-Ramos

José-Carlos Gutiérrez-Ramos, Pfizer's ($PFE) prominent head of BioTherapeutics R&D in Cambridge, MA, is leaving the pharma giant and jumping into the booming biotech world, prompting a promotion inside the multibillion-dollar research group.

There's no word yet just where Gutiérrez-Ramos plans to land, just a brief remark in Pfizer's statement that he "decided to return to the biotech sector in the Cambridge area." 

The research exec, though, is extraordinarily well connected, with a long track record in drug development that dates back to a stint at Millennium, where he worked with a group of biotech startup execs like Nick Leschly at bluebird bio ($BLUE) and Agios ($AGIO) CEO David Schenkein. And he's headed back to biotech during boom times for the industry.

Michael Ehlers is stepping into Gutiérrez-Ramos's position in Cambridge. Ehlers has been CSO of Pfizer's neuroscience and pain unit, joining the company in 2010 after working as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at Duke.

Pfizer also said that John Lin has been selected as senior vice president and CSO of Rinat, Pfizer's biotech unit in South San Francisco.

Gutiérrez-Ramos played a leading role in Pfizer's new 284,000-square-foot research center on Kendall Square, which opened last June. And he took a desk in the same open R&D environment that his colleagues shared.

Last February, though, Pfizer fired an unspecified number of investigators in the new R&D facility in a shakeup. The pharma giant said that it was realigning its R&D staff to better match its evolving pipeline, with plans to hire more staffers for immuno-oncology and gene therapy.

The research scientist did not immediately respond to a query from FierceBiotech this morning.

- here's the release