January 4, 2017 / 11:12 AM / in 3 years

Gilead poaches Novartis cancer specialist Riva

ZURICH (Reuters) - Gilead Sciences has hired a top cancer specialist from Swiss drugmaker Novartis as the U.S. healthcare group sharpens its focus on oncology.

Alessandro Riva will become a Gilead senior vice president and head of its haematology and oncology therapeutic area, the U.S. company announced late on Tuesday.

Riva joins from Novartis Oncology, where he was global head of oncology development. He was responsible for developing more than 20 cancer compounds, including targeted and immune-oncology therapies.

He also oversaw regulatory approvals of new medicines in both solid and haematological malignancies, Gilead said.

During his 12-year tenure at Novartis Riva was involved in several worldwide drug approvals, it said.

“I have always admired Gilead for its scientific focus and data-driven approach to drug development, Riva said in a statement.

Novartis shares were down 1.1 percent by 1055 GMT while the Stoxx European healthcare sector index was barely changed.

Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Jason Neely

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