AstraZeneca appoints Sharon Barr as Executive Vice President BioPharmaceuticals R&D

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AstraZeneca today announced the appointment of Sharon Barr as Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D. Sharon will succeed Mene Pangalos, who is retiring and will step down from his role early next year, after almost fourteen years with the company and an illustrious 35-year career.

Sharon will be responsible for discovery through to late-stage development across Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism and Respiratory & Immunology. She will report to Chief Executive Officer, Pascal Soriot and become a member of AstraZeneca’s Senior Executive Team (SET) as of 1 August.

Sharon has been Senior Vice President, Head of Research and Product Development of Alexion, AstraZeneca’s rare disease group, since 2013. In this role she has been responsible for drug discovery, process development and clinical supply as well as clinical biomarkers and bioanalytical discovery, rare disease diagnostics and bioinformatics supporting Alexion’s industry-leading rare disease pipeline from target discovery through post-marketing. With more than 18 years of industry experience she has previously led teams spanning translational research, precision medicine and global development.

Pascal Soriot, CEO, said: “I am delighted that Sharon will join the AstraZeneca Senior Executive Team at a very exciting time for our company. She brings outstanding experience essential to the advancement of our leading BioPharmaceuticals pipeline and a track record of driving productivity, innovation and delivery of medicines for patients. This experience coupled with her leadership style and passion for developing people, places her perfectly to take over the reins from Mene and help us to write the next chapter of success.”

“I also want to take the opportunity to thank Mene for his remarkable contribution to AstraZeneca. He is always quick to praise others, but he must take credit himself for all he has done to transform how we approach R&D, delivering a greater than five-fold improvement in productivity, driving deeper collaborations with academic, biotech and peer organisations, pioneering programs to promote open innovation, and championing innovation and use of new technologies and modalities. In particular, I would like to pay tribute to the role he played in AstraZeneca’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in overseeing the creation of the DISC – our new R&D Centre in Cambridge, UK. The quality of the medicines he has brought to patients, and pipeline and capabilities he has built will be his legacy for many years to come.”

Sharon Barr, EVP Biopharmaceuticals R&D, said: “I am honoured to carry forward the work of this world class BioPharmaceuticals R&D team as it advances an ambition to transform care for people living with chronic diseases. We are at an exciting moment as remarkable science and collaboration across our organization drive forward opportunities to translate early discovery into meaningful medicines that can slow or even stop disease progression, improve prevention, and potentially cure disease. I look forward to the next chapter with this team, as we continue to expand our portfolio and work together to deliver life-changing medicines for patients.”

Mene Pangalos, retiring EVP Biopharmaceuticals R&D, said: “Working at AstraZeneca for nearly 14 years has been an absolute privilege and by far the highlight of my career. I especially wanted to thank Pascal, SET and the Board for their support through the years. The transformation we have made to the pipeline, helping bring many innovative new medicines to patients around the world has been incredible. This is thanks to the amazing and talented teams I am so proud to have worked alongside.

Whilst moving on is always difficult, I know I leave the company in great hands with Sharon and am personally really looking forward to spending more time with my family at home in the UK and in Greece. I will be cheering everyone on from the side-lines excited about the new innovations I know you will deliver while turning great science into great medicines.”

Sharon Barr was appointed as Executive Vice-President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D in August 2023. Sharon is responsible for discovery through to late-stage development across CVRM and Respiratory & Immunology. Prior to this role, Sharon served as Senior Vice President, Head of Research and Product Development of Alexion, AstraZeneca Rare Disease having joined in 2013. With more than 18 years of industry experience she has previously led translational research, precision medicines, and global drug development teams. Sharon received her PhD in molecular biology from New York University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship focused on mechanisms of DNA Damage and Repair at Stanford University. In 2022, Sharon was recognised as a Healthcare Businesswoman’s Association Luminary in recognition of her transformational leadership and passion for mentoring those around her.

Mene Pangalos was appointed as Executive Vice-President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D in January 2019. Since joining AstraZeneca in 2010, Mene has led the transformation of R&D leading to a greater than fivefold improvement in productivity. Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Mene held senior R&D roles at Pfizer, Wyeth and GSK. Mene holds Honorary Doctorates from Glasgow University and Imperial College, London, is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Society of Biology and Clare Hall, University of Cambridge and is a Visiting Professor at The Wolfson Centre at Kings College. He co-chairs the UK Life Sciences Council Expert Group on Innovation, Clinical Research and Data and is a member of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Implementation Board. He is also on the Boards of The Francis Crick Institute, The Judge Business School, Cambridge University and Dizal Pharma, and is a member of the Life Sciences Vision Advisory Group. In 2019, Mene was awarded a knighthood from The Queen and the Prix Galien Medal, Greece. In 2021, Mene was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the British Pharmacological Society.


AstraZeneca (LSE/STO/Nasdaq: AZN) is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialisation of prescription medicines in Oncology, Rare Diseases, and BioPharmaceuticals, including Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism, and Respiratory & Immunology. Based in Cambridge, UK, AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. Please visit and follow the Company on Twitter @AstraZeneca.


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