AstraZeneca names Genentech's Bohen as chief medical officer

The logo of AstraZeneca is seen on medication packages in a pharmacy in London April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) - British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca named Sean Bohen as its chief medical officer, in an appointment that it said could help accelerate the development of new oncology and immunology medicines. AstraZeneca, Britain's second biggest drugmaker behind GSK, has pinned its future on cancer drugs, where it is vying with rivals such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck & Co and Roche in the hot area of immunotherapy treatments, which boost the immune system to fight tumors. Bohen joins AstraZeneca from Genentech, a biotech company that was bought by Roche in 2009. He will report to Pascal Soriot, the chief executive who last year staved off a mega-merger approach from Pfizer. "(Bohen's) impressive expertise in key areas of our exciting pipeline, including oncology and immunology, will further strengthen and accelerate the delivery of new medicines for patients," Soriot said in a statement on Monday. (Reporting by Sarah Young, Editing by Paul Sandle)