PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals has named James Birchall, a former Genentech franchise head, as chief commercial officer.

The clinical-stage company is preparing for the U.S. launch of its lead asset, bentracimab, and Birchal is tasked with building the commercial team.

Bentracimab, now in Phase III testing, is a novel reversal agent for AstraZeneca’s blood-thinner Brilinta (ticagrelor), and Birchall’s 25-year track record includes building and leading sales teams in the cardiovascular area.

He spent 12 years at Genentech where, most recently, he was VP and U.S. head of the company’s thrombolytics franchise. Before that, Birchall served as lifecycle lead for the global launch of breast cancer drug Kadcyla and also served as marketing director and national sales director in the respiratory franchise. 

That followed his 15-year stint at Sanofi Aventis, where he initially worked as a sales rep in the U.K. before ultimately becoming head of the U.K. business unit.