UPDATED: Takeda appoints new vaccine development head as Novartis' Oswald heads for the door

John Boslego

There's change at the top of a couple of vaccinemakers, with a pair of companies this week announcing upcoming roster moves. For Takeda, that means signing on a new head of vaccine development, while Novartis' ($NVS) vaccine division head will hit the road.

John Boslego will assume the new post at Takeda on Dec. 1, joining the company from PATH, where he directed the Vaccine Global Development Program. Prior to that, he served as the executive director of biologics clinical research at Merck ($MRK). At Takeda, he'll be responsible for speeding up development activities, with a focus on the company's dengue, norovirus and seasonal influenza programs.

"John brings a wealth of vaccine development and global health experience to Takeda at an important time," Rajeev Venkayya, president of Takeda's vaccines unit, said in a statement. "He takes the helm of an outstanding development team that was built by Ralf Clemens, and I have the utmost confidence in their ability to deliver our exciting pipeline."

With Sanofi's ($SNY) dengue shot widely expected to beat Takeda's out of the gate, Takeda's prospect could use any speed boost Boslego can provide. Analysts say the company's DENVax has the potential to advance on the French drugmaker's jab quickly, with GlobalData predicting 37% market share--compared with Sanofi's 42%--by 2020.

Novartis Vaccines head Andrin Oswald

In contrast with Takeda's young vaccines unit, launched in 2012 after buyouts of LigoCyte and Inviragen, Novartis is gearing up to kiss its own unit goodbye. After picking up Chiron in 2006, the unit struggled for years before the Swiss pharma in April agreed to send most of it to rival GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) in a $7.1 billion deal.

And when that transaction closes--sometime in the first half of next year, the companies expect--vaccines head Andrin Oswald will be on his way, too. Oswald "will be leaving Novartis to pursue other opportunities," Novartis said in a Wednesday statement.

- read Takeda's release
- read Novartis' release

Special Report: The top 5 vaccine makers by 2013 revenue - Novartis

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include Boslego's position at PATH.

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