An exodus of top Gilead execs continues as newly named CMO Andrew Cheng heads for the exit

The exodus of top execs out of a high-performing Gilead is continuing Tuesday evening.

The biotech, which has been the most productive drug developer over the past 5 years, noted Tuesday night that Chief Medical Officer Andrew Cheng is leaving the company “to pursue another opportunity.”

Andrew Cheng

As of now, we don’t know what that other opportunity is, but Gilead $GILD has recently seen the departure of chief R&D exec Norbert Bischofberger (to a startup) as well as the announced exits of CEO John Milligan and longtime company exec John Martin, executive chairman.

Cheng plans to stay on to September 7 to help with the transition, according to Gilead. Meanwhile Gregg Alton has been appointed to the newly created position of chief patient officer while Diana Brainard was promoted to Senior Vice President, HIV and Emerging Viral Infections.

Cheng joined Gilead 19 years ago to lead the company’s development-stage programs in HIV/AIDS. He was named Executive Vice President in 2015 and Chief Medical Officer in March.

As we reported recently, Gilead has had the best record over the past 5 years in advancing new blockbusters to the market, even after the phenomenal rise and fall of its hep C franchise, where the company provided a painless cure for the disease and then watched the franchise melt away. Gilead remains the leader in HIV drug development, where finding simpler combination therapies remains the primary task in the field.

We’re trying to ferret out where Cheng is headed. In a field bristling with new opportunities, though, that’s no easy task. I’m still working on Sean Harper.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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