AstraZeneca loses another executive to biotech, as Badrul Chowdhury moves to Savara
Another executive is migrating from the echelons of Big Pharma to the corridors of small biotech.
In April 2018, Badrul Chowdhury took his more than two decades of experience at the FDA to AstraZeneca, where he took on the role of senior vice president and chief physician-scientist for respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity late-stage development in biopharmaceuticals R&D.
After about a year and a half in this role, Chowdhury is moving to a small Texas biotech called Savara, where he will serve as chief medical officer.
Its lead drug, Molgradex, is being tested for a plethora of orphan lung diseases. Months ago the company’s shares $SVRA took a hit after the drug failed to help patients with a rare respiratory disease called autoimmune pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (aPAP) in a pivotal study.
“His appointment comes at a critical time as we continue discussions with the FDA and EMA on the best path forward for the Molgradex aPAP program,” said Savara chief Rob Neville in a statement.
“With two decades of regulatory leadership experience at the FDA’s Pulmonary Division, where he presided over numerous approvals of medicines for pulmonary and orphan diseases, Dr. Chowdhury brings a unique perspective to the Company and we believe he will be instrumental in helping us achieve our goals.”
Chowdhury’s move from AstraZeneca may have something to do with some big changes implemented under chief Pascal Soriot early in 2019. A sweeping restructuring of its R&D engine delineated the company’s oncology effort from everything else and eradicated the subsidiary structure. The process stripped senior executives from the top ranks of AstraZeneca’s big biologics subsidiary MedImmune, which is where Chowdhury started out.
Chowdhury is the latest name in the executive exodus from AstraZeneca. David Berman, who was head of I/O research at AstraZeneca, has taken the top R&D job at Immunocore, a biotech that also lured MedImmune chief Bahija Jallal to take on the CEO role. Berman left AstraZeneca ahead of the restructuring that also included the departure of CMO Sean Bohen.