Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Sanofi Picks Off AstraZeneca Scientist

Sanofi has recruited one of AstraZeneca's top scientists to head its research division, Reuters reports.

Yong-Jun Liu, an immunologist who currently oversees research at AstraZeneca's MedImmune biotechnology division, will report to Elias Zerhouni, the president of global research and development at Sanofi. Zerhouni says that the addition of Liu to the team will strengthen Sanofi's early-stage pipeline and biotech presence as well as help shift the drug maker from a pharmaceutical company to a biopharmaceutical company.

"He fits perfectly for us at this time," Zerhouni tells Reuters. "We have the luxury of a full late-stage pipeline and therefore we can step back and invest for the long term." He adds that Liu's experience in immunology, oncology, and translational medicine are "vital assets."

FierceBiotech notes that "Sanofi has been something of a mixed bag in recent years" since former CEO Chris Viehbacher left in 2014.

Further, Reuters notes that Liu's departure comes on the heels of Briggs Morrison, the company's former chief medical officer and head of late-stage drug development, and James Ward-Lilley, the head of respiratory and inflammatory medicines head, leaving.