EMD Serono, Inc., a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, announced today the recent appointments of Gary Zieziula as the company’s Chief Commercial Officer, Allene Diaz as Senior Vice President of Managed Markets, Lisa Buffington as Vice President of US Communications, Alexander Kuta as Vice President and Head of US Regulatory Affairs, and Michael Ruggiero as Vice President of US Government Affairs and Policy.

“We are committed to being an organization dedicated to patients and customers, and our leadership team is critical to our mission,” said Paris Panayiotopoulos, President and Managing Director of EMD Serono. "Each of these talented individuals brings a wealth of knowledge and industry experience to our team that I am confident will help strengthen EMD Serono as a leading, specialty care biopharmaceutical company in the US.”

Gary Zieziula, Chief Commercial Officer, is responsible for maximizing the growth of the US organization by driving the performance of our franchises. He has more than 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and in specialty care, most recently serving as an independent consultant focused on opportunity assessments for development-stage products, and mergers and acquisitions.

Previously, Mr. Zieziula held several senior leadership positions at Roche, Bristol Myers Squibb, AMAG Pharmaceuticals, and Merck & Co. He brings significant expertise across commercial strategy, including managed markets, market analytics, sales, marketing and health economics.

Allene Diaz, Senior Vice President, Managed Markets, is responsible for developing and executing Managed Markets marketing, sales, and contracting strategies and tactics to ensure optimal market access and pull through for EMD Serono products. She is also responsible for developing and executing Specialty Pharmacy patient adherence and retention strategies and tactics. She oversees four departments, including Account Management, Managed Markets Marketing and Contracting Strategy, Contracting Operations and Business Operations.

Ms. Diaz brings more than 25 years of both US-based and international industry experience to her new role with the organization, most recently serving as EMD Serono’s Senior Vice President, Head of US Oncology. Prior to joining EMD Serono, Ms. Diaz served in senior leadership roles in marketing, new product planning and portfolio management at Amylin Pharmaceuticals, CancerVax Corporation, Biogen Idec and Pfizer.

Lisa Buffington, Vice President of US Communications, is responsible for driving and executing all aspects of the company’s communications strategy, including external and employee communications, media relations, corporate reputation, product communications, community relations, as well as meetings and events.

Ms. Buffington brings nearly 20 years of industry and communications experience to EMD Serono, most recently serving as Vice President of Corporate Communications at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Ironwood, she was Vice President of Communications at Sanofi, where she led communications for the North American business.

Alexander Kuta, PhD, Vice President and US Head of Regulatory Affairs, is responsible for driving the strategic direction of EMD Serono’s regulatory efforts with the FDA, overseeing regulatory submissions in the US and strengthening interactions with the FDA.

Mr. Kuta joins EMD Serono with nearly 25 years of regulatory experience, most recently from Lantheus Medical Imaging, where he was Vice President of Global Regulatory Affairs and a member of the Executive Leadership Team. His previous experience includes leadership positions at the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Genzyme Corporation, and AMAG Pharmaceuticals.

Michael Ruggiero, Vice President of US Government Affairs and Policy, is responsible for federal and state legislative, policy, political, and advocacy strategy and execution for EMD Serono’s business. He will also serve as a member of the Global Government Affairs and Policy (GA&P) Leadership Team.

Mr. Ruggiero joins EMD Serono as a seasoned executive in the biopharmaceutical industry with more than twenty years of experience in government strategy, advocacy, and government relations. He most recently served as Vice President of Government Strategy for Astellas Pharma US, Inc., and prior to that counseled pharmaceutical and medical device companies as an attorney in Washington, D.C. with the law firms of Arnold & Porter LLP and Kind & Spalding LLP.