GERMANY – Bayer has hired an oncology leader from GlaxoSmithKline for the second time this year, appointing Tara Frenkl, to lead oncology development for its oncology strategic business unit.

Tara Frenkl has been named head of oncology development at Bayer’s oncology strategic business unit,

Tara’s leadership style is characterized by expertise and innovative thinking,” Roth said in a prepared statement.

She brings experience from all aspects of research and development, including clinical development, regulatory and global development strategy.”

Frenkl will report directly to Christine Roth, a previous GSK transfer who is now the head of Bayer’s oncology strategic business unit for the pharmaceuticals division.

Roth left GSK’s global oncology therapy area earlier this year and joined Bayer on March 1. She took over for Robert LaCaze, who left Bayer for an unspecified location.

Frenkl, the company’s newest hire, previously served as senior vice president and head of medicine development leaders in oncology. Prior to that, she spent more than 13 years at Merck in a variety of roles.

Bayer, which is best known for its cardiovascular drugs, has been beefing up its oncology department in recent years, and Frenkl’s hiring only adds to that effort.

By poaching two GSK scientists, the pharma gains the added benefit of knocking its rival down a notch or two.

The moves come as Bayer seeks to expand the market for its prostate cancer drug Nubeqa, particularly after the therapy passed a metastatic survival test in February.

Bayer, long known as a major player in cardiovascular disease, appears to be expanding its presence in oncology.

GSK has been doing the same thing since 2019, when it acquired Tesaro, the maker of the PARP inhibitor Zejula, to reestablish itself in the commercial cancer market.

Bayer reported two months ago that Nubeqa combined with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and the chemotherapy docetaxel reduced the risk of death by 32.5% when compared to ADT/docetaxel alone.

Despite the study’s success, Nubeqa has struggled to make money as Bayer entered the crowded prostate cancer market late.

 In 2021, the drug earned approximately US$239 million as it competed with several other prostate cancer medications, including Pfizer and Astellas’ Xtandi and Johnson & Johnson’s Erleada.

However, Bayer maintains high expectations for the drug, raising its peak Nubeqa sales forecasts from 1 billion euros (US$1.2 billion) to 3.4 billion euros (US$3.6 billion) in February.

Bayer also sells the prostate cancer radiotherapy medicine Xofigo, and it recently acquired Noria Therapeutics and its subsidiary PSMA Therapeutics, gaining control of two investigational radiotherapies in the field.

Liked this article? Sign up to receive our regular email newsletters, focused on Africa and World’s healthcare industry, directly into your inbox. SUBSCRIBE HERE