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Merck chairman and CEO to lead pharmaceutical trade group

Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck & Co. Inc.-(FILE PHOTO)

PhRMA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America trade group, announced some changes at the top Thursday that include the election of some officers with New Jersey ties.Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and CEO of Kenilworth-based Merck & Co. Inc., was elected chairman of the board, while Joaquin Duato, worldwide chairman, pharmaceuticals, for New Brunswick-based Johnson & Johnson, was elected board treasurer.

“PhRMA is pleased to welcome Ken Frazier as chairman, and we extend our thanks and gratitude to (former Chairman) Ian Read (of Pfizer Inc.) for his invaluable contributions over the last year,” CEO and President John J. Castellani said in a prepared statement. “… Ken’s proven leadership ability and deep experience in the biopharmaceutical industry will be incredible assets for our organization and its member companies.”

In addition, the Washington, D.C.-based organization elected George A. Scangos, CEO of New York-based Biogen, as its chairman-elect, and announced the retirement of Castellani, effective Jan. 1, 2016.

“Our industry is poised to translate our most promising scientific breakthroughs into meaningful treatments capable of tackling the most urgent and vexing medical challenges of our times,” Frazier said in a statement. “… I am honored to step into this role, and congratulate George and Joaquin as they take on new leadership roles.”

“The global scale of our businesses enables us to attack the global scale of disease more quickly, and more powerfully, than ever before,” Duato added in a statement. “It also gives us greater insight into the changing nature of disease, too, helping us evolve and expand our pipelines to ensure that patients in the U.S. and around the world can fight back with the strongest treatment arsenal possible.”

Frazier also thanked Castellani, who has led the organization since 2010, for his service.

“On behalf of the PhRMA Board of Directors, I want to thank John for his steadfast leadership at PhRMA over the past five years,” he said. “He has been a strong advocate on behalf of the biopharmaceutical research industry and for the millions of patients we serve all around the world.”

He added that the search for a replacement would begin immediately, under the auspices of the board’s Nominations and Compensation committee. Korn Ferry has been retained to conduct the search.

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