AstraZeneca Appoints Roche’s Sean Bohen as Chief Medical Officer

AstraZeneca Plc hired Sean Bohen as chief medical officer, poaching a cancer drug expert from Roche Holding AG’s Genentech division to lead its efforts to find new treatments.

Bohen will join the company on Sept. 15 and oversee the development of drugs through late-stage testing to regulatory approval, London-based AstraZeneca said on Monday in a statement. At Genentech, he oversaw early drug development across all therapy areas, including oncology, respiratory and autoimmune diseases.

AstraZeneca is competing against companies including Roche and Merck & Co. on a new generation of cancer treatments that focus on harnessing the body’s immune system to fight tumors. Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot has promised investors that the company, whose revenue has declined in recent quarters as patents expired for older drugs, will return to growth in 2017 when new cancer treatments reach the market.

Bohen will also hold the title of executive vice president of global medicines development, and will be a member of the drugmaker’s senior executive team, reporting to Soriot. He replaces Briggs Morrison, who left AstraZeneca in June after three years to be CEO of Syndax Pharmaceuticals Inc., a developer of cancer therapies.

Before Genentech, Bohen was a clinical instructor in oncology at Stanford University School of Medicine, a research associate at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute.