Bristol-Myers Squibb appoints new R&D head

Bristol-Myers Squibb announced that Thomas J. Lynch has been appointed as chief scientific officer, effective March 16, replacing Francis Cuss, who will retire from the company. Bristol-Myers Squibb indicated that Lynch will step down from the drugmaker's board of directors prior to assuming his new role.

The appointment of Lynch follows a number of recent setbacks at Bristol-Myers Squibb, including an announcement in January that it will not seek an accelerated regulatory pathway for the combination of Opdivo (nivolumab) plus Yervoy (ipilimumab) in first-line lung cancer in the US based on a review of current data. The company previously reported that a Phase III study of Opdivo in patients with previously untreated advanced non-small-cell lung cancer failed to hit its main goal.

However, CEO Giovanni Caforio explained that the appointment of Lynch was "really about the future," rather than past performance. Caforio added "it's about the capabilities we need, the skills we need in order to deliver on the extraordinary value of" Bristol-Myers Squibb's pipeline of drugs. Caforio noted that Lynch "has made significant contributions to the field of targeted therapies" for lung cancer, adding that he "brings deep industry knowledge and a sophisticated understanding of the Bristol-Myers Squibb research and development programme from his experience as a member of our board."

For related analysis, read ViewPoints: Bristol-Myers Squibb concedes more ground in PD-1 lung cancer race.

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