PPD lures UCB exec to head immunology

PPD is working to get therapeutic area experts into its highest offices, poaching UCB's former head of immunology to lead its efforts in the field.

Gregory Dennis will serve as vice president of global product development for PPD, putting him in charge of the CRO's operations in rheumatology, immunology and inflammatory diseases. Dennis previously worked at Human Genome Sciences, MedImmune and NIH, making him well-prepared to navigate the intersection of research and business, PPD head of medical affairs Rob Dow said.

"His background with biopharmaceutical companies and government agencies adds value to PPD's global clinical trial experience in a variety of rheumatology, immunology and inflammatory areas, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus and psoriasis," Dow said in a statement.

PPD has spent the last year and change lining up experts to serve as vice presidents and oversee whole therapeutic areas, most recently recruiting LabCorp ($LH) veteran David Johnston to head its global laboratory services operation. That organizational method stands in contrast to CROs that organize their business by study phase, and, as a result, PPD can better offer scalable services to its clients of all sizes, the company said.

The formerly public PPD was snapped up by the Carlyle Group in 2011 for $3.9 billion.

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