Merck poaches Biogen's Guindo to lead marketing after Garay's abrupt exit to Moderna

Merck has snapped up Biogen’s commercial lead Chirfi Guindo to run its marketing department and replace Arpa Garay, who left the Big Pharma just two months into the job after jumping ship to Moderna. 

Chirfi Guindo
Chirfi Guindo (Merck)

Yes, it’s musical chairs in pharma marketing this year as Guindo steps up to become the chief marketing officer for Merck Human Health. Guindo has a major remit and will be responsible for leading the “development and implementation of the company’s long-term strategy for the Human Health portfolio spanning oncology, vaccines, pharmaceutical and pipeline products,” the drugmaker said in a statement.

It's also a return into the fold for Guindo, as he started out in the 1990s at Merck. During his prior 25-year stint at the drugmaker, he worked on global marketing for its HIV portfolio and he also led the pharma’s Human Health businesses in Canada, the Netherlands and South Africa.

This time around, he joins from Biogen, which is reeling from a disastrous commercial campaign for Aduhelm. The Alzheimer’s disease drug won FDA approval last year last year and was initially destined to be a major blockbuster for the company, but restrictions on use, questions over safety and efficacy and an initial high price have all but ended the biopharma’s attempts to make the drug commercially viable.

Guindo had been EVP and head of global product strategy and commercialization at Biogen for five years and led the global strategy, marketing and commercialization for its neurology business, which included Aduhelm.

At Merck, he replaces Arpa Garay, who late last month entered the Moderna fold as its new chief commercial officer. In doing so, she left the Merck marketing lead role just two months after nabbing the job.

“Chirfi is a purpose-driven leader, dedicated to saving and improving lives around the world," Merck CEO Robert Davis said in a statement. "He has deep experience and a proven track record in strategy, marketing and commercialization across primary care, specialty care and rare diseases, in both developed and developing markets."