Icon nabs former Optum, FDA and AstraZeneca exec as new chief medical officer


Contract research organization Icon has poached Kristen Buck, M.D., from healthcare data and analytics firm Optum (part of the UnitedHealth Group) as its new chief medical officer.

In her most recent role as senior vice president and chief of clinical development, she led the clinical operations and regulatory groups to create Optum's real-world evidence and outcomes trial business.

She’s also served stints at the FDA, where she worked in its gastrointestinal and hematology division, and AstraZeneca, where she was involved in clinical development and in its innovative medicines group.

At Icon, her most immediate concern will be battling through the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it is having on all CROs.

Two weeks back, amid its financial results, Icon said it was slashing costs across a number of operations on the back of the COVID-19 hit, which it said was “prevalent in our clinical business with approximately 65% of our global sites impacted in some way by the pandemic.”

Like many other companies, the CRO also pulled its full-year 2020 guidance, saying it was working to lessen the impact on its business while also keeping its staffers and clinical sites safe.

“I’m excited to be leading Icon’s position on clinical development trends, and reviewing and advising on our medical risks as the world wrestles with the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Buck. “Patient centricity is ever more important in the current climate and I look forward to working with the wider Icon team to broaden our insights and expand our expertise.”

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