The commercial carousel continues to spin: Gilead's head of commercial departs



Gilead Sciences' head of commercial operations, Paul Carter, left the company, the drugmaker announced Tuesday.

The company named Kevin Young, a senior advisor, as its new chief operating officer and said he will take responsibility for Gilead's worldwide commercial business. Gilead also named Martin Silverstein as its new EVP, strategy.

Young led the company's commercial operations from 2004 to 2014, the decade during which Gilead acquired and brought to market Sovaldi and Harvoni, its blockbuster hepatitis-C therapies.

See also: Competition may threaten Gilead as market leader

Gilead stated in a release that Carter left to “pursue other opportunities.” The drugmaker did not immediately respond to requests for additional comment.

Carter's departure was “unrelated to the commercial challenges within Gilead's HCV franchise,” Jefferies analyst Brian Abraham wrote in an investor note.

He added that Young's “strong familiarity,” with HIV and the hepatitis-C market dynamics will smooth the transition and also noted that Silverstein's appointment should help the company “navigate a dynamic payer environment in HCV,” given his background in drug reimbursement and strategy.

See also: The Medicines Company appoints former Biogen exec to lead commercial activities

The management changes at Gilead are the latest in a series of commercial departures at large pharmaceutical manufacturers.

In the past five months, top commercial executives have left Biogen, Gilead, Novartis, and Sanofi. Tony Kingsley — previously Biogen's EVP of global commercial operations — was appointed president and COO of the Medicines Company.  

More recently, Novartis said that Christi Shaw, its U.S. lead, and David Epstein, the drugmaker's head of commercial, left the company in January and May, respectively. Sanofi announced in May that Pascale Witz — the head of the company's diabetes and cardiovascular franchise and the executive behind the strategy for the French drugmaker's prescription drug and consumer products division — will leave the company.

See also: Astellas reshapes commercial leadership team

Tokyo-based drugmaker Astellas Pharma also announced it would reshape its commercial leadership team in March, making three new appointments. James Robinson, head of operations for Astellas Americas, said the moves were driven by consolidation in the provider world and the shift to value-based healthcare.