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More than a year after Al Sandrock was pushed out as Biogen’s R&D chief, the company has set permanent plans to replace him into motion.

Biogen announced Thursday that it will be splitting the head of R&D role into two, with Priya Singhal being named as the new head of development. The company has initiated a search for a new research chief, it said in a press release. Both positions will report directly to new CEO Chris Viehbacher.


This is the first significant change to the C-suite that Viehbacher has made. It also marks a shift in Biogen’s approach to the R&D chief role: Sandrock was known as a brilliant scientist with the ability to spot promising drug candidates. By splitting the role in two and making Singhal — whose background is in clinical trials and portfolio strategy — head of development, it leaves a spot open for Biogen to bring in another scientific mind like Sandrock.

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