Skovronsky to take over Lilly Research Labs as Lundberg retires

This comes amid a change in its staff with cuts and transitions at the top over the past year.

After eight years at Eli Lilly and heading up its Lilly Research Labs unit, Jan Lundberg, Ph.D., will retire next May as Dan Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., will be promoted to replace him.

Skovronsky will officially become the SVP for science and technology and president of Lilly Research Labs beginning on June 1 next year.

Lundberg's successor has been at the company since 2010 and has been its development chief at Lilly; he came on board after former CEO John Lechleiter bought Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, Skovronsky’s former company.

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Though set to retire, it would be no surprise (and within recent precedent) to see the former AstraZeneca exec Lundberg take up a position somewhere else in the life science world.

This comes amid the tenure of the new chairman and chief executive officer, David Ricks, and a change-up in Lilly’s R&D personnel after the departure of long-term Lilly vet Richard Gaynor last year, who left his position as one of the top execs of Eli Lilly’s Oncology division to join oncology startup and former Fierce 15 winner Neon Therapeutics.

RELATED: Richard Gaynor retires from Lilly Oncology; Dana-Farber’s Garraway steps up

He was succeeded by Levi Garraway, “a world leader in the analysis of cancer genomics and resistance to targeted therapies,” and joined Lilly from his role as associate professor of medicine in the Department of Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School.

“Jan's leadership has pushed Lilly to address some of the most challenging scientific questions head-on. Thanks to his determination and commitment as a scientist and leader, we've seen our pipeline of medicines grow significantly under his leadership,” said Ricks. “Jan has positioned Lilly well for future success, giving tremendous hope for patients.”

It also comes as Lilly has been asked some tough questions about its R&D over the past few years, with a series of fairly long patches without approvals or big trial wins.

This has dovetailed with some large cuts over the years, including plans posted just a few weeks back that Lilly will cut 3,500 employees by the end of the year as it shoots to achieve $500 million in annual savings.

Just yesterday, however, the company did see an FDA approval for its new breast cancer med Verzenio (abemaciclib), although it seems to lack the analyst and media excitement around I-O meds such as CAR-T therapies and Novartis’ recent win with Kymriah.