James Sabry, who currently oversees partnering for Genentech’s R&D group, is extending his domain as Roche taps him for a new role—global head of partnering.
The position was created as the Swiss pharma’s Head of Roche Partnering, Sophie Kornowski-Bonnet, leaves for greener pastures. Instead of hiring a replacement, Roche is combining partnering operations for Roche’s pharma R&D group (pRED) and Genentech Research and Early Development (gRED).
It is a reversal from Roche’s strategy so far. The company has taken pains to keep the R&D units separate since its 2008 acquisition of Genentech, keeping the latter’s South San Francisco site open as an independent R&D center to preserve its “unique research culture.”
Sabry will move to Basel and is set to start his new position on Aug. 1.
During his tenure at gRED, Sabry oversaw a series of deals, the latest of which being a partnership with Cambridge, U.K.-based Microbiotica potentially worth $534 million. The duo will use Microbiotica’s gut bacteria metagenomics platform to test samples from Genentech’s clinical trials in inflammatory bowel disease. And just before that, Genentech inked an open-ended discovery deal with Lodo Therapeutics around deriving unique, natural products from the microbial DNA found in soil. That collab could be worth nearly $1 billion.
“James brings a wealth of medical, scientific and business development expertise to successfully identify the best external innovation opportunities and bring them into the Roche Group.” Said Roche CEO Severin Schwan.
“I would like to thank Sophie Kornowski-Bonnet for her many significant contributions over the 12 years of her career at Roche and wish her continued success for the future,” Schwan said.
Kornowski-Bonnet’s destination was left a mystery—she “has accepted a new opportunity,” the company said. Her departure comes two months after Roche’s former pRED chief, John Reed, signed on to lead R&D at Sanofi.