Eli Lilly appoints Christi Shaw to head bio-medicines business

Eli Lilly said Thursday that Christi Shaw will lead the company's bio-medicines business beginning April 3, succeeding David A. Ricks, who became the drugmaker's president and CEO on January 1. Shaw, who worked at Eli Lilly from 1989 to 2002 in sales and marketing roles, most recently served as president of Novartis USA.

The appointment comes alongside a number of organisational and leadership structure changes announced by Eli Lilly, which the company said are designed to "better align them with...growth opportunities." As part of these changes, the drugmaker indicated that Lilly Diabetes president Enrique Conterno will assume additional responsibilities as president of the company's US business, replacing Alex Azar, who is leaving to pursue other opportunities.

Additionally, Eli Lilly is combining its emerging markets business with its European unit to form Lilly International, which will lead commercialisation of its portfolio in these markets. The newly formed division will be led by current head of the drugmaker's emerging markets business Alfonso Zulueta.

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Eli Lilly said the changes are intended to increase productivity and streamline its global commercial organisation, while some leadership positions will be eliminated in the process. The organisational changes come after the company recently unveiled plans to reduce its US workforce ahead of patent expiries and following the failure of the experimental Alzheimer's disease drug solanezumab in a late-stage study (for related analysis, see ViewPoints: Solanezumab's demise means painful but necessary 'reset' for Eli Lilly).

"The adjustments we are announcing...to pharmaceutical therapeutic and geographic business areas are designed to maximise the potential of our late-stage pipeline and newly launched medicines, while improving productivity," Ricks commented. The CEO added "I'm confident that these changes will help to increase the flow of innovation from our pipeline and maximise opportunities in priority therapeutic and geographic areas."

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