AstraZeneca Nabs Pfizer Exec For R & D Unit

LONDON (AP) -- AstraZeneca PLC says it has hired Pfizer Inc. executive Martin Mackay for the British drug maker's newly created position of president of research and development.

AstraZeneca said Wednesday that Scottish-born Mackay, currently president of PharmaTherapeutics Research & Development at Pfizer, will take up his new role on July 1.

AstraZeneca Chief Executive David Brennan says that Mackay's appointment to the new role "will provide a single point of senior accountability as we continue to make the changes necessary to improve the productivity and efficiency of our research and development organization."

AstraZeneca has embarked on a major cost-cutting program, including axing thousands of jobs, as it faces increasing competition from generic drug makers.