LONDON--After a six-month search, SmithKline Beecham has named David U'Prichard to head the international pharmaceutical giant's research and development operations, succeeding George Poste, who is now the company's chief science and technology officer. U'Prichard came from Zeneca Group, where he had been head of international research for the pharmaceutical company since 1994. He will report to Jean-Pierre Garnier, COO and head of SmithKline's pharmaceutical division.
SmithKline employs almost 5,000 scientists worldwide in its research efforts, which rely heavily on strategies derived from genetic data--an approach championed by Poste. The company has recently been in the process of doubling the size of its bioinformatics staff and, in 1993, signed a 10-year, $125 million deal with Human Genome Sciences that gives it preferential access to the biotech company's sequence libraries.
"This is critically important to us; I can't imagine a more important job," remarked Jan Leschly, SmithKline's CEO. "Research and development is the engine, the future of the company."