J&J poaches Bayer exec Jim Swanson as chief information officer
James Swanson, who helped lead crop sciences at Bayer $BAYN, is joining J&J $JNJ as chief information officer, jumping into a pharmaceutical industry embracing by fits and starts modern digital tools like artificial intelligence.
The move comes a little over a month after Bayer recruited longtime J&J dealmaker Marianne De Backer to lead business development. Swanson replaces Stuart McGuigan, who this year jumped over to the State Department after seven years as J&J CIO.
Swanson led Bayer and Monsanto programs centered around data science, helping integrate data science across their supply chain, track their agricultural combines’ performance in crops and launch their cloud analytics ecosystem. That latter innovation helped win him the 2017 Forbes CIO Innovation Award.
Data science, along with AI, is becoming an ever more important field for pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson and Johnson. Last year, in what now looks like a prelude to their new large AI collaboration with Microsoft, Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan wrote that he wants to reimagine the drug giant as a “medicines and data science company.”
That integration is likely coming and fast for top players as they seek new methods to analyze and make sense of the deluge of data being collected and AI stretches its penumbra from the earliest stages of drug development to physicians.
McGuigan was recently lauded by CIO Magazine for pushing a “need for speed” culture, noting J&J’s recent developments in 3D printing and data analytics on patient history and treatment. Janssen has invested research on AI that can scan biological images for clues into new drug candidates, among other areas.