AstraZeneca rejigs commercial ranks around cancer, biopharma in wake of Mallon's departure

AstraZeneca's BioPharmaceuticals and Oncology divisions will each house R&D and commercial units. (AstraZeneca)

With key commercial cog Mark Mallon bound for Ironwood Pharmaceuticals' CEO spot, AstraZeneca is shaking up its corporate structure and revamping top management.

On Monday, the company unveiled plans to create two separate divisions, BioPharmaceuticals and Oncology, each comprising its own R&D and marketing units.

Dave Fredrickson, who currently leads AZ’s global oncology business unit, will stay in that role, while Ruud Dobber, formerly in charge of the British drugmaker’s North American commercial ops, will head up the BioPharmaceuticals commercial unit.

The R&D side will see some personnel changes, too, with recently resigned Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center physician-in-chief José Baselga set to preside over the oncology research unit and Mene Pangalos, previously responsible for AZ’s early development unit, taking over BioPharma R&D.

Fredrickson, Dobber, Baselga and Pangalos will all report directly to CEO Pascal Soriot.

RELATED: Ironwood swipes AZ commercial hotshot Mark Mallon to fill its CEO chair

The moves follow shortly after an announcement from Ironwood that longtime AZ exec Mallon, who most recently served as the Big Pharma’s executive vice president of global product and portfolio strategy, would come over to serve as Ironwood's chief. As Soriot framed it, though, the operational revamp was designed to accommodate “what we expect will be a period of sustained growth.”

More closely aligning R&D and commercial “will support growth and sharpen the focus on our main therapy areas, speeding up decisions and making us more productive in our mission to bring innovative medicines to patients,” he said in a statement.

RELATED: AstraZeneca gets back to growth, but can it hit $40B by 2023? CEO says yes—again

It’s been a long few years for AstraZeneca, which has been working to claw its way back to growth after a big fall off the patent cliff. It finally turned things around in the third quarter and returned to growth, but it’ll have to keep that momentum going—big time—if it wants to meet the lofty sales targets Soriot has laid out for 2023.