Dr. Roy Baynes, head of global clinical development and chief medical officer, Merck Research Laboratories, will retire from Kenilworth-based Merck this summer, the company announced March 23.
Effective April 1, Dr. Eliav Barr will succeed Baynes, who will continue to report to Merck Research Laboratories President Dr. Dean Li until his retirement. Also reporting to Li, Barr will lead all late-stage clinical development for Merck’s human health portfolio and pipeline in the new position.
“Roy is one of the world’s pre-eminent oncologists and clinical development experts, and his masterful spearheading of the development of KEYTRUDA leaves an indelible mark on Merck, on oncology and on the lives of patients and their families,” Li said in a statement. “As textbooks are updated to reflect the era of immuno-oncology, Roy’s contributions cannot be overstated, and will persist far beyond his eight years with Merck.”
In 2021, Merck reported sales for KEYTRUDA grew 20% to $17.2 billion.
Baynes came on board in 2013. According to the company, since that time Merck has received more than 140 medicine and vaccine approvals worldwide. Merck said he was also responsible for leading the expansion of the company’s research and development in China and Japan.
Barr, currently senior vice president, Global Clinical Development, has been with the company for more than 20 years, holding positions of increasing responsibility, including leadership roles in oncology and infectious disease development. Most recently, that included leading MRL’s Global Medical Affairs organization.
“Eliav’s career at Merck has been marked by roles spanning infectious diseases, oncology and vaccines involving the development of several first-of-their-kind medicines and vaccines that have since been used by millions of people around the world. Most notably, he led the development of Merck’s human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, which have become key tools in the global effort to reduce the burden of certain cancers and diseases caused by HPV,” Li said. “Eliav’s expertise in global clinical development combined with his unwavering commitment to patients and Merck’s purpose to save and improve lives make him well qualified to be the next chief medical officer for Merck and the ideal leader for our industry-leading global clinical development team.”