Wake is the second senior PRO to quit AstraZeneca’s public affairs department this year.
AstraZeneca government and industry affairs manager Hilary Rutherford left in January after eight years with the firm to join Swiss-based pharma giant Roche as head of public affairs (PRWeek, 9 January).
Wake joined AstraZeneca as PR manager from Hill & Knowlton four years ago before moving to the role of brand communications manager shortly after.
He is understood to have been headhunted for his latest role. He joins the rival drugs manufacturer at a time when Lilly is facing a civil probe in the US into the way it has promoted its osteoporosis drug Evista.
The investigation may also include its market-leading schizophrenia treatment Zyprexa and anti-depressant Prozac.
It is understood the outcome of the US civil investigation could have serious financial consequences for the company if it criticises the firm’s marketing practices.
Wake will take up his new role on 20 April, according to a source. Lilly and AstraZeneca declined to comment.