A fortnight of changes at thetop of big pharma has continued with the resignation of Marc Cluzel, Sanofi’sR&D chief, who will be replaced by Elias Zerhouni (pictured).

Dr Cluzel is stepping down asexecutive vice president, R&D but will continue to work closely with DrZerhouni as a “scientific expert”. The latter was brought in as scientific advisor to Sanofi by chief executive Chris Viehbacher in February 2009 and thecompany says he has been instrumental in “redesigning the R&D model tofoster increased innovation, the first pillar of the group’s strategy”.

Sanofi added that its recentshift to looking more at external collaborations in R&D “has strengthenedthe creativity and the flexibility of the company and brought a trulyentrepreneurial approach to research”.

Dr Zerhouni, 59, served asdirector of the US National Institutes of Health from 2002 to 2008. FromAlgeria, his academic career was spent at the Johns Hopkins University andHospital where he is currently professor of radiology and biomedicalengineering.

The changes comedays after Olivier Charmeil was named as the new boss of the Sanofi Pasteurvaccines division, taking over from Wayne Pisano who will retire in February. Inthe past couple of weeks, Merck & Co, Pfizer and Merck Serono have allchanged their chief executives.