Pfizer Appoints New Leaders for BioTherapeutics Research & Development and Rinat


Pfizer announced 2 strategic appointments in the leadership of the Worldwide Research and Development organization effective immediately.


Pfizer Inc. announced today two strategic appointments in the leadership of the Worldwide Research and Development organization effective immediately. Michael D. Ehlers, M.D., Ph.D., has been selected as Group Senior Vice President and Head of BioTherapeutics Research & Development and Site Head for Pfizer’s Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts locations. Dr. Ehlers will report directly to Mikael Dolsten, M.D., Ph.D., President of Worldwide Research & Development. In addition, John Lin, M.D., Ph.D., has been selected as Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Rinat. Dr. Lin will report directly to Robert T. Abraham, Ph.D., Group Senior Vice President for Oncology-Rinat Research & Development.

Dr. Michael D. Ehlers to Lead BioTherapeutics R&D

In his expanded role as Head of BioTherapeutics Research & Development, Dr. Ehlers will continue to be Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer’s Neuroscience and Pain Research Unit and he will oversee the entire BioTherapeutics Research & Development organization. In connection with this appointment, the Inflammation and Immunology Research Unit will move to Pfizer’s PharmaTherapeutics Research & Development organization. Dr. Ehlers will be based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“It’s a privilege to see extraordinary scientific talent rise to the opportunity to grow within our organization and lead the future of Pfizer’s key R&D areas” said Dr. Dolsten. “Mike is a world-class talent who has made significant contributions in advancing our neuroscience research efforts and is now poised to lead BioTherapeutics Research & Development into the next era of potential breakthroughs for patients, not only in neuroscience and pain, but in rare diseases, and also at Pfizer’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation.”

Prior to joining Pfizer in 2010, Dr. Ehlers spent 12 years as the George Barth Geller Professor of Neurobiology and as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at Duke University. He holds M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Ehlers is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2013 Thudichum Medal from the Biochemical Society in the U.K., 2003 Eppendorf & Science Prize in Neurobiology, the 2007 John J. Abel Award in Pharmacology, the 2007 Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award, and the 2009 National Alliance for Schizophrenia and Depression Distinguished Investigator Award. Dr. Ehlers has authored more than 90 scientific papers, has served on the Editorial Boards of Annual Reviews in Medicine, Annual Reviews in Pharmacology and Toxicology, the Journal of Neuroscience, the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, and sat on advisory committees of the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Ehlers will succeed José-Carlos Gutiérrez-Ramos, Ph.D., who has decided to return to the biotech sector in the Cambridge area.

Dr. John Lin to Lead Rinat

Rinat is Pfizer’s biotechnology unit within the Worldwide Research & Development organization, located in South San Francisco, California.

“John’s expertise in advancing differentiated antibody programs in both oncology and non-oncology indications is at the core of Rinat’s proven track-record of bringing potential therapies such as tanezumab, ponezumab and bococizumab into the clinic,” said Dr. Abraham. “I am fully confident that he will continue to leverage Rinat’s unique entrepreneurial culture to help us build a strong portfolio of cancer immunotherapeutics, and to help optimize their development in combinations with targeted therapies. These contributions from Rinat will be critical to our overarching goal of delivering potential durable or even curative therapies to cancer patients.”

Dr. Lin joined Rinat in 2002 and continued in his role when the biotechnology company was acquired by Pfizer in 2006. Since 2011, he has served as Vice President of Experimental Medicine at Rinat with responsibility for overseeing immuno-oncology and discovery and validation biology efforts with particular expertise in cellular, molecular and in vivo neurobiology. Dr. Lin received his medical and doctoral degrees from National Taiwan University and Harvard University, respectively, and also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Genentech Inc. He has authored 25 peer-reviewed journal articles and reviews, and serves on the Grant Review Committee for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

Dr. Lin is succeeding Dr. Jaume Pons who left Rinat earlier this year to become President and CEO of Alexo Therapeutics.

Dr. Charles Mackay Joining Pfizer as Head of Inflammation and Immunology Research Unit

As previously announced, Charles Reay Mackay, Ph.D., will join the company as Chief Scientific Officer for Pfizer’s Inflammation and Immunology Research Unit. Professor Mackay will report directly to Rod MacKenzie, Ph.D., Group Senior Vice President of PharmaTherapeutics Research & Development, and will be based in Pfizer’s R&D hub in Cambridge. Professor Mackay will join Pfizer from Monash University in Australia, where he is a research fellow, and the Charles Perkins Center within the Faculty of Medicine at Sydney University, where he was Chair of Diabetes.

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