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Hardy returns to Genentech as CEO

In other news, Vertex fires chief operating officer

A familiar face is set to return to Genentech after the company announced that it has found a new chief executive officer.

Alexander Hardy (pictured below) will take the helm of Genentech in March, having previously held several senior management positions at the Roche-owned company, including head of patient access services.

Alex

He also led its commercial operations for a range of medicines in various therapeutic areas including cancer and neuroscience.

After his nine-year stint at Genentech, Hardy moved to Roche where he became head of the Asia Pacific region and was subsequently promoted to head of global product strategy.

The hiring was necessary after Bill Anderson (pictured below) vacated the Genentech lead role to head up Roche's pharma division at the start of 2019.  This move was in turn caused by Daniel O'Day leaving Roche in December to be the new chief executive of Gilead.

Bill Anderson

Commenting on Hardy’s appointment, Anderson said: “[Hardy] brings significant global expertise in the delivery of breakthrough medicines and a deep connection to the company culture. I look forward to seeing Genentech’s scientific excellence, employee experience and dedication to patients thrive under his leadership.”

Both Hardy and Anderson have their work cut out for them though, as the companies are currently trying to navigate through an onslaught of biosimilars, which are threatening to offset sales of its top selling drugs, including cancer blockbuster Herceptin.

In the US, the FDA has already approved three Herceptin copycats – Celltrion and Teva’s Herzuma, Samsung Bioepis’ Ontruzant and Myland’s Ogivri, however the companies will have to wait until mid-June for a launch date as Herceptin is still protected by patent laws.

It’s a slightly different story for the EU however, where Ontruzant became the first Herceptin biosimilar to be approved in late 2017, closely followed by several others.

This triggered a 12% drop in Herceptin sales during the first nine months of 2018, and analysts at Credit Suisse are predicting a 21% dip in Herceptin sales in 2019, along with a further five approved biosimilars by 2022.

Vertex dismisses COO after misconduct

Meanwhile, Vertex has a much less happy boardroom reshuffle to announce. It  has fired long serving executive Ian Smith after the company announced his personal behaviour violated its code of conduct.

The move was prompted by an independent investigation carried out by law firm WilmerHale.

Smith, who was the company’s chief operating officer, initially joined the company in 2001 from Ernst & Young.

He was also interim chief officer following the abrupt exit of Thomas Graney, who jumped ship to join start-up Generation Bio as its CFO.

Although the company is being tight lipped with the details, CEO Jeffrey Leiden (pictured below), said: “At Vertex, we are deeply committed to our culture of diversity, inclusion and respect, and we insist that all of our employees, regardless of their seniority, live our values and adhere to our Code of Conduct.”

Leiden

He adds: “Vertex has a strong management team in place, as well as a deep bench. In 2019 and beyond, I am confident that we will continue to successfully execute the company’s long-standing strategy to bring transformative treatments to all people living with cystic fibrosis (CF) and advance our diverse pipeline of medicines for other serious diseases.”

He also insisted that the decision is completely unrelated to its financial and business performance, with Q4 results expected to be announced on 5 February.

Meanwhile, the company’s senior vice president and chief accounting officer Paul Silva, has been appointed interim CFO while the company searches for a permanent replacement.

Article by
Gemma Jones

28th January 2019

From: Sales

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