Innate Pharma woos Mondher Mahjoubi away from AstraZeneca’s cancer research ops to take the helm

Mondher Mahjoubi

Mondher Mahjoubi

France’s Innate Pharma has recruited AstraZeneca’s top cancer specialist to its helm. Mondher Mahjoubi, who’s been the therapeutic area head of oncology, global product and portfolio strategy at AstraZeneca, is taking over from Hervé Brailly, who becomes chairman of the supervisory board.

Mahjoubi has been operating at AstraZeneca’s big MedImmune subsidiary in Gaithersburg, MD for the past three years, where it’s been hard at work on durvalumab, a PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor likely destined to be the fourth or fifth such immuno-oncology program to hit the market.

Mahjoubi had earlier worked as SVP of global product strategy – oncology for Genentech, which gained an approval for Tecentriq in i/o.

His departure marks the slow and steady exodus of top execs out of Big Pharma players like AstraZeneca, which has suffered a series of setbacks in R&D this year, in favor of new jobs in the biotech field. One of AstraZeneca’s top research execs, Briggs Morrison, left last year to take the CEO job at Syndax.

Innate (EPH:IPH) has had its own setbacks, taking a hit last month after a combination of its drug lirilumab and Bristol-Myers’ Opdivo failed to impress analysts. Innate struck up a collaboration with Sanofi at the beginning of this year on new bispecifics, focusing on natural killer cells. And it is also partnered with AstraZeneca, studying a combination of monalizumab and durvalumab.

Laure-Hélène Mercier, meanwhile has been appointed as chief financial officer at Innate.

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