Novartis appoints John Tsai Head of Global Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer

Basel, April 19, 2018 - Novartis announced today the appointment of John Tsai, M.D. as Head of Global Drug Development (GDD) and Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Tsai will join Novartis on May 1, 2018, and will be based in Basel, Switzerland. He will report to Vas Narasimhan, M.D., CEO of Novartis and will become a member of the Executive Committee of Novartis (ECN). He succeeds Dr. Narasimhan who became CEO of Novartis on February 1, 2018. Dr. Rob Kowalski, who led GDD ad interim since February 1, 2018, will resume his responsibilities as Head of Global Regulatory Affairs for GDD.

Dr. Tsai has been Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Global Medical at Amgen Inc., since May 2017 and oversees all clinical and medical functions across multiple sites worldwide. At Novartis, he will be responsible for advancing the company’s industry-leading pipeline of innovative medicines and biosimilars. Dr. Tsai will also lead the GDD organization’s ongoing transformation embracing the power of advanced data sciences and digital technologies to create a more agile model for drug development.

"I am delighted to welcome John to Novartis," said Dr. Narasimhan. "As we continue to reimagine drug development, his expertise across multiple therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular, oncology and neuroscience combined with his background in electrical engineering will be a source of great strength for Novartis. John has a great track record in nurturing talent across clinical development, medical affairs and development operations and shares our commitment to build an empowered and inspired organization. I also want to express my sincere gratitude to Rob Kowalski for his excellent ad interim leadership of the GDD organization."

Dr. Tsai said: "I feel honored to have the opportunity to lead the Novartis Global Drug Development organization and do my part in bringing forward the company’s strong pipeline of medicines that address some of humanity’s biggest health challenges. I am also excited to work with my colleagues at Novartis to pioneer novel paradigms for drug development with data and digital technologies at the core." 

Prior to joining Amgen, Dr. Tsai spent eleven years with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), where he served as Global Head of Clinical Development for marketed products and global clinical operations. He also played a leadership role in advancing the company’s late-stage pipeline across multiple therapeutic areas including cardiovascular, oncology and neuroscience.  As the company’s Chief Medical Officer, Europe and prior to that, as Head of U.S. Medical and Vice President of Cardiovascular Medical, Dr.Tsai played a critical role in driving multiple transformation initiatives within the development and medical organizations.  Before joining BMS, he was a cardiovascular group leader at Pfizer where he led the strategy development and execution of over 26 pivotal trials for a major cardiovascular medicine. He started his career at GE as an electrical engineer before returning to school to study medicine. 

Dr. Tsai holds a medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. He completed his residency at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco, California, where he then served as a physician in internal medicine, Chief Resident and as a member of the hospital’s faculty.

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