AstraZeneca’s head of cancer research José Baselga dies at age of 61

AstraZeneca’s head of cancer research José Baselga dies at age of 61

March 22, 2021 Off By Dino Mustafić

AstraZeneca has confirmed that their Executive Vice President Oncology R&D, and member of Senior Executive Team, José Baselga has passed away.

The Company didn’t reveal the cause of death, but according to Bloomberg’s sources cause of death was Creuzfeldt-Jacob Disease, a rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disorder.

José Baselga’s role in AstraZeneca was discovery through late-stage development of large and small molecules.

Baselga has started his engagement with AstraZeneca in 2019, after being involved in scandal over receiving payments from the pharma industry while his engagement as physician-in-chief at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The scandal was reported and written as a collaboration of The New York Times and ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative journalism organization.

The company stated:  “We are deeply saddened by the news that José Baselga, Executive Vice President Oncology R&D, and member of our Senior Executive Team, has passed away. An outstanding scientific leader, José leaves a lasting legacy in the scientific community and here at AstraZeneca. He set our Oncology R&D function on a remarkable trajectory, and his visionary leadership, deep scientific expertise and strategic insight have delivered so many achievements that we can all be proud of and that will benefit patients’ lives in the years to come.

José championed our transformative collaborations with Daiichi-Sankyo in relation to the clinical development of Enhertu (trastuzumab deruxtecan) and datopotamab deruxtecan, two medicines which have demonstrated great potential to benefit cancer patients. He led a team to accelerate other exciting new science in antibody-drug conjugates, cell therapy, epigenetics, as well as new cancer treatments. He also championed the use of real-world evidence and digital tools to transform the way we design and implement clinical trials.

José built a world-class Oncology R&D team who will miss him dearly, just as all his colleagues will throughout our entire Company.”

In 2017. he was rewarded with Lifetime Achievement Award from European Society for Medical Oncology.