1:30 PM
Mar 13, 2018
 |  BC Extra  |  Company News

Optum names Witty CEO, launches fund

Andrew Witty will succeed Larry Renfro as CEO of the Optum health services unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH), effective July 1.

Before retiring as CEO of GlaxoSmithKline plc (LSE:GSK; NYSE:GSK) last year, Witty advocated "de-linkage" of R&D costs from drug prices and a model in which pharma companies pre-specify their target rate of return (see BioCentury Extra, March 17, 2016).

Roger Longman, CEO of reimbursement consultancy Real Endpoints LLC, told BioCentury that Witty might help Optum leverage its data resources and build collaborations with biopharmas to help them "understand the value of their drugs."

Optum already has a data and consulting group, but Longman believes Witty will expand and build upon it. Witty "will certainly be looking very closely at that, since that is what he knows," Longman said.

Witty is stepping down from UnitedHealth's board, which he joined in August 2017.

Renfro will be managing partner of Optum Ventures. On Tuesday, UnitedHealth Group announced Optum Ventures' $100 million Global Fund, which will invest in "emerging and advanced technology, data analytics and health care services companies."

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