Kenilworth-based Merck has announced that Dr. Roy D. Baynes, head of Global Clinical Development (GCD) and chief medical officer, Merck Research Laboratories (MRL), will be retiring from Merck in July. Dr. Baynes will be succeeded by Dr. Eliav Barr, effective April 1.
“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. 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,” said Dr. Dean Y. Li, president, Merck Research Laboratories. “I know there are many who join me in thanking Roy for his efforts and wishing him well in his next chapter.”
Dr. Baynes joined Merck in 2013. Under his leadership, Merck has become a leading oncology company and achieved more than 140 medicine and vaccine approvals globally across numerous therapeutic areas. This includes the development of KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), WELIREG™ (belzutifan), VAXNEUVANCE™ (Pneumococcal 15-valent Conjugate Vaccine), ZEPATIER® (elbasvir and grazoprevir), LAGEVRIO® (molnupiravir), ZERBAXA® (ceftolozane and tazobactam), RECARBRIO™ (relebactam), PREVYMIS® (letermovir), BRIDION® (sugammadex) among others and, in collaboration with AstraZeneca, Eisai and Bayer, the development of Lynparza (olaparib), Lenvima (lenvatinib) and VERQUVO™ (vericiguat), respectively. He also led the expansion of Merck’s research and development in China and Japan.
“It has been a privilege to have led the global clinical development organization during my tenure at Merck,” said Dr. Baynes. “I am immensely proud of the team’s accomplishments and the difference we are making in the lives of patients worldwide. I look forward to continuing to work with Eliav in the coming months to ensure a smooth transition.”
Dr. Baynes will be succeeded by Dr. Eliav Barr, senior vice president, Global Clinical Development. During his more than two decades at Merck, Dr. Barr has held positions of increasing responsibility including leadership roles in oncology and infectious diseases clinical development. Dr. Barr oversaw the company’s Vaccines/Infectious Disease area during a period of high productivity, including the development of novel therapies for chronic hepatitis C and HIV-1 infections. Most recently he led MRL’s Global Medical Affairs organization from 2018 to January 2022, significantly expanding Merck’s scientific engagement and implementation efforts in oncology, vaccines and more. In his new role Dr. Barr will lead all late-stage clinical development for Merck’s expansive human health portfolio and pipeline and will report to Dr. Li.
“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,” said Dr. Li. “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.”
Dr. Barr is a cardiologist by training. He received his undergraduate degree from Penn State University and his medical degree from Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University. He completed his Internal Medicine residency and Cardiology Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, and subsequently pursued post-doctoral training at the University of Michigan. Prior to joining Merck in 1995, he held a faculty position at the University of Chicago. In 2019, he was a proud recipient of a Penn State Alumni Fellow Award for his dedication to the development of medicines and vaccines that treat and prevent infectious diseases.
“I am honored to assume the role as head of Merck’s industry-leading clinical development organization,” said Dr. Barr. “I am grateful to Roy for his mentorship and excited by the opportunity to build on Merck’s proud legacy of delivering breakthrough medicines and vaccines for the patients we serve.”
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