J&J science head to step down

Oct. 12, 2021

J&J’s science lead, Paul Stoffels, announced his plans this week to step down from his post by the end of the year.

The 59-year-old chief scientist said he wants to retire to spend more time with his family in Europe. His departure marks the second time this year that the biggest drugmaker in the U.S. announced it has major shoes to fill.  

In August, J&J said that its CEO, Alex Gorsky, will also be stepping down. Gorsky plans to depart in the first week of 2022 and Joaquin Duato, a longtime exec at J&J, has been named as his replacement. But in its press release about Stoffels’ departure, the company did not say who will take over the top science position.

Stoffels’ tenure at J&J was marked by the development of a strong R&D pipeline and, the company says, a “relentless focus on treating and eliminating HIV, tuberculosis and Ebola, the most devastating infections on earth. 

“Under Paul's leadership, the Janssen R&D teams developed more than 25 new medicines across multiple therapeutic areas. Seven of these medicines have been added to the Essential Medicines List of the World Health Organization, a recognition for the huge impact these medicines are making for patients worldwide," Duato said in a release.

Of course, Stoffels also oversaw the development of J&J’s one-and-done COVID-19 vaccine. Although it was approved in February and has contributed to the U.S.’s vaccination efforts, its rollout has also been hampered by blood clot worries and manufacturing challenges.