In his new role, John Reed will head up Roche’s pharma research and early development and join the company’s corporate executive committee.
Kristiina Vuori, president of Sanford-Burnham, will take over all leadership responsibilities on an interim basis.
The La Jolla-based nonprofit is known for its world-class capabilities in stem cell research and drug discovery technologies.
Reed has led Sanford-Burnham through a decade of success and growth, particularly in translational research, noted M. Wainwright Fishburn, Jr., chairman of Sanford-Burnham's Board of Trustrees.
"We have a strong foundation for continued growth, and we have complete confidence in Kristiina's ability to lead through the management transition,” said Fishburn.
Reed hinted at possible partnerships between his former and future employer.
“While I am sad to be leaving the Institute, I look forward to the potential for collaborations in the future between the two organizations,” said Reed.
Reed will retain his association with the Institute through an adjunct professor appointment.
Under Reed’s leadership, the institute became a bi-coastal operation when it opened a second research campus as part of the Medical City in Orlando, Fla.
He leaves on the heels of the strongest year of grant revenue in the institute’s history.
The institute ranked number one worldwide for scientific impact, as measured in citations per publication, in the field of biology and biochemistry for the decade spanning 1999 to 2009.
It also became the third-largest recipient of NIH funding among all laboratory research-based organizations in the nation, and second most efficient in innovation, based on patents issued per grant dollars awarded.
In 2010, it received its largest single donation of $50 million from T. Denny Sanford, for whom the Institute was renamed.
"This institute has become a world-leader in research and early-stage drug discovery, with Dr. Reed overseeing the expansion of our research centers and collaborations with industry, research and government partners," said Malin Burnham, Honorary Trustee of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.
Last year Roche reorganized its research unit and embarked on a search to replace the position held by Jean-Jacques Garaud (which was filled by Reed).
In June it announced plans to shed 1,000 jobs and shut down its research site in Nutley, N.J., to save money.