September 13, 2018 / 12:00 PM / 7 months ago

Bayer's pharma unit head Weinand quits to join Sanofi

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Bayer, which is revamping its drug development activities, is losing the head of its pharmaceuticals division Dieter Weinand, who will join Sanofi to stem a decline in prices in the French drugmaker’s anti-diabetics and established drugs.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Sanofi is pictured during the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

In a statement on Thursday, Germany’s Bayer said Weinand would be succeeded by Stefan Oelrich, currently a member of Sanofi’s executive committee in charge of diabetes and cardiovascular businesses.

For Bayer, the job swap comes in the midst of talk on job cuts and outsourcing as part of a review of its drug research and development operations, which investors say has produced few promising products.

Bayer, which has acquired U.S. seed maker Monsanto, is looking to bolster its development pipeline because revenue from its top two drugs, blood thinner Xarelto and eye drug Eylea, peak over the next six years.

At Sanofi, Weinand will head a Primary Care unit that will comprise diabetes and cardiovascular treatments as well as established products in Western markets, both businesses with declining revenue due to strong competition and price pressure from healthcare systems.

He will be based in Bridgewater, New Jersey, and report to Chief Executive Olivier Brandicourt.

“(Weinand) has a proven track record in change management and helping challenged businesses reach their full potential,” Brandicourt said in a statement.

Bayer added that Hartmut Klusik, its labour director and board member responsible for technology, was given a contract extension by one year until the end of 2019, confirming a Reuters report.

Two sources familiar with the company have said an extension of Klusik’s contract had been in doubt because drug production at Bayer’s Leverkusen plant in Germany was found to be substandard by U.S. regulators in February and this fell under his remit.

But Bayer hung on to him to have an experienced head of personnel oversee the “very tangible” overhaul of the R&D operations, one said. First results of the review are expected as early as November.

Bayer said that Weinand, who was based in Germany, is leaving for family reasons.

Liam Condon, who was recently picked to lead Bayer’s enlarged Crop Science unit and oversee the integration of seeds maker Monsanto, would get a new five-year contract, Bayer added.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; editing by Thomas Seythal and David Evans

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