Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline is bolstering scientific expertise on its board by establishing a new science committee, charged with overseeing research, as a new chief executive prepares to take over.
Incoming CEO Emma Walmsley, the first woman to lead a top global drugmaker, stands out among Big Pharma bosses as a consumer brands specialist rather than a prescription medicines expert.
Since her appointment in September she has spent much of her time learning about GSK’s prescription drug research and development (R&D), according to company insiders. She takes over from Andrew Witty at the end of March.
Britain’s biggest drugmaker said that its new science committee would be chaired by non-executive director Jesse Goodman, a former chief scientist for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Patrick Vallance, president of R&D, will also join the GSK board as an executive director on Jan. 1, ahead of the retirement of current research head and board member Moncef Slaoui on March 31.
Despite GSK’s diversified structure, which includes vaccines and consumer health products, drug discovery remains a core activity and the company expects important clinical results for between 20 and 30 experimental medicines by the end of 2018.
Walmsley herself has described R&D as “the beating heart” of the group.