Roche picks a new R&D boss as Barron ships out for Google

Sandra Horning, Roche's incoming chief medical officer and head of global product development

Roche ($RHHBY) didn't waste much time in replacing former R&D guru Hal Barron, tapping oncology head Sandra Horning to serve as its next chief medical officer and head of global product development.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, Horning came to Genentech from the world of academia in 2009, just in time for Roche's $47 billion buyout, and most recently served as head of clinical development for the drugmaker's oncology and hematology businesses. In her time with the company, she helped shepherd development of the cancer drugs Zelboraf, Erivedge, Perjeta, Kadcyla and Gazyva, Roche said in a statement.

Before jumping ship to industry, Horning was a tenured professor at Stanford University School of Medicine with 25 years of practice as an oncologist, investigator and professor. Horning had a few interactions with her future employer in that time, helping design two lymphoma trials for Rituxan and serving on the FDA's advisory committee for cancer drugs. Horning also pulled a one-year stint as president of ASCO.

She'll have some sizable shoes to fill now that Barron has departed in favor of Google's ($GOOG) Calico, where he'll serve as president of R&D. Led by ex-Genentech CEO Art Levinson, Calico is a still-shadowy gambit devoted to researching and combating the effects of aging.

The R&D top spot at Genentech has become something of a springboard for success. Barron's forebear, Susan Desmond-Hellmann, landed the chancellorship of the University of California, San Francisco on the strength of her stewardship at the biotech, and now she's set to take the reins at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, steering its $40 billion endowment.

- read the WSJ story (sub. req.)
- check out Horning's bio