People, R&D

GlaxoSmithKline’s Hal Barron poaches Genentech’s top cancer drug dealmaker for his new R&D team

Anyone looking for fresh hints about GSK’s upcoming move on the cancer front needs to check out the pharma giant’s latest hire.

New GSK R&D chief Hal Barron has recruited Kevin Sin, the longtime oncology BD chief at Genentech, to the top job on the deal side of the company. His new official title is head of worldwide business development. And he’ll be moving into Barron’s new office being set up in San Francisco.

Barron and Sin worked together at Genentech, where Sin had a hand in more than 100 transactions, according to a spokesperson for GSK.

Hal Barron

GSK has been marshaling its forces for a move on oncology ever since Emma Walmsley was promoted to the CEO slot. The first clue came when Dana-Farber chief Laurie Glimcher was brought on to the board after Walmsley poached her from Bristol-Myers. Hal Barron, a legend in cancer research circles from his own stint at Genentech, then took the top research spot. And Barron raised a few eyebrows with GSK’s decision to let him stay in the Bay Area, even though GSK’s research ops are clustered around Philadelphia and Stevenage in the UK.

GSK’s cancer research in particular is in the Philadelphia area, where Axel Hoos has been in charge of shepherding the early-stage work that was left at the pharma giant after they swapped out their cancer drug portfolio with Novartis in exchange for some vaccines.

Luke Miels

GlaxoSmithKline has been a notorious laggard on the drug development side of the business, failing to achieve the kind of landmark approvals needed to grow a portfolio. Walmsley — who also wrestled Luke Miels away from AstraZeneca as the top pharma chief — has now set out to change things with a brand new team.

Sin had this to say about the new job hunting down fresh collaborations for GSK:

The incredible pace of scientific and technical innovation that is happening around the world is significant and presents an abundance of opportunities to combine GSK’s strengths and capabilities with that of others to pursue big ideas in science and medicine. I look forward to working with the team to explore collaborations that can accelerate the discovery and development of new medicines with the potential to significantly improve human health.


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