Merck recruits ex-CDC chief as vaccine leader

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Let's say you're a Big Pharma CEO who needs a new leader for your vaccines unit. Who are you gonna call? Gerberding. Yep, Julie Gerberding (photo), former top dog at the CDC. She has plenty of experience overseeing the selection of recommended immunizations. And she steered the CDC ship through more than a few public health crises.

Gerberding, who stepped down from CDC when President Barack Obama came into office, will join Merck as president of its $5 billion vaccine division, replacing sales-and-marketing maven Margie McGlynn, who recently retired from that post. Gerberding will take the reins January 25, at a time when Merck's vaccine revenues have been up and down; 2008 sales actually dropped 2 percent. Merck markets a slate of infant-and-child immunizations as well as the human papillomavirus shot Gardasil, which recently got FDA approval for use in boys.

Gerberding is far from the only new hire to join Merck's team recently. Nor is she the only high-profile recruit. The company just tapped the dean of Tufts University's medical school, Dr. Michael Rosenblatt, as EVP and medical director. And a former Wyeth exec was chosen to head up manufacturing of both vaccines and biologic meds, the Health Blog points out. Who's next?

- see the Merck release
- read the Pharmalot post
- check out the item at the WSJ Health Blog

ALSO: Mylan filed a U.S. application to market a generic version of Merck's big-selling and controversial Vytorin cholesterol drug. Report

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