Roche's major cancer research exec Rommel jumps ship to Bayer as Moeller exits

Christian Rommel, Ph.D. (Bayer)

The same week Bayer said it was putting $4 billion on the table for gene therapy biotech AskBio, the German pharma has also nabbed a Roche R&D exec as its new head of research.

Christian Rommel, Ph.D., comes to Bayer from Roche, where he served as the Swiss major’s senior vice president and head of oncology research and early development for nearly seven years. He’s also served stints at Amgen, Intellikine, Merck Serono and Regeneron.

Now, he lands at Bayer, fresh off a new focus on gene therapies and poised from Feb. 1 next year to take over from former R&D chief Joerg Moeller, M.D., who will formally exit at year-end.

Moeller has “decided to leave Bayer … to pursue other career opportunities,” according to the company, so don’t be surprised if he turns up at another biopharma soon.

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Moeller is a longtime Bayer exec, starting out all the way back in 1993, and since 2014 he had been head of development at Bayer's pharmaceuticals division. But under a rejig of its units, he became head of research and development from 2018 as the company looked to consolidate its R&D.

“Christian Rommel is an internationally recognized biopharma executive with an expansive track record of R&D spanning over two decades,” said Stefan Oelrich, president of Bayer’s pharma division and Rommel’s new boss.

“His in-depth experience in successfully accelerating innovation and advancing drug candidates across a breadth of modalities will be one of the key drivers for Bayer’s innovation strategy.

“At the same time, I thank Joerg Moeller for his dedicated service and significant contributions during his tenure at Bayer and wish him all the best for his future endeavors.”