Merck announced that Simon Sturge will join the company from Boehringer Ingelheim effective March 1, to head the biosimilars unit. In his new role Sturge will report to Stefan Oschmann, member of Merck’s Executive Board and responsible for the company’s pharmaceutical businesses.
The biosimilars unit is part of Merck’s pharmaceutical businesses alongside with Merck Serono, Consumer Health and Allergopharma. In early 2012, Merck decided to set up the biosimilars unit to develop molecules for oncology and inflammatory disorders through in-house research and development expertise in biologics, as well as through partnerships with other biosimilars players, such as Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories.
The unit is located in Canton de Vaud, Switzerland, where it makes use of Merck’s state-of-the-art biologics manufacturing facilities of Aubonne and Corsier sur Vevey with support from other European sites of the company.
With its investments in the evolving biosimilars market, Merck expects to benefit from rising demand for biotechnology solutions to address unmet medical needs and transform patients’ lives with innovative specialty medicines.
“Merck has all the capabilities to compete in biosimilars and we expect significant growth of this market by the end of the decade,” said Oschmann. “Simon Sturge is ideally suited to develop our biosimilars unit and to be among the important players in this field.”
Sturge joins from Boehringer Ingelheim where he, as head of biopharmaceuticals (including biosimilars), reported to the board of the company. Prior to Boehringer Ingelheim Sturge was CEO of Dutch biotech-company OctoPlus NV and before that position he acted as CEO of Vernalis. Sturge also held several roles of increasing seniority, from business development, marketing and operations, to positions as CEO at Lonza Biologics, Celltech Biologics and Astra.
Sturge, a British native, holds a BSc Hons in Biology from the University of Sussex in the U.K. He was awarded UK Mediscience CEO of the year in 2005.
Sturge succeeds Thierry Hulot, who created the biosimilars unit and took over responsibility for Global Manufacturing & Supply for the Merck Serono division at the end of last year.
Date: February 20, 2014
Filed Under: Drug Discovery