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ImClone CEO to take over at Savient

Former ImClone CEO John H Johnson, who this week said that he was leaving his post at Lilly, will take over as CEO at Savient Pharmaceuticals

Former ImClone CEO John H Johnson, who earlier this week announced that he was leaving his post at Lilly for personal reasons, will take over as CEO at Savient Pharmaceuticals effective January 31.

Johnson became president of Lilly Oncology when Lilly acquired ImClone in 2008. He had been CEO of ImClone since 2007, having earlier served as company group chairman of Johnson & Johnson's worldwide biopharmaceuticals unit, where he had responsibility for the biotechnology, immunology and oncology commercial businesses.

Savient president Paul Hamelin, currently the company's most senior officer, will stay on through a transition period and then will be leave to pursue other interests. Hamelin became president of the company in November 2008.

Savient is in the process of bringing its gout drug Krystexxa (pegloticase) to market in the US. The drug, which was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in September, will be the first treatment on the US market that offers significant clinical improvement within six months of the start of therapy.

Savient's management team had hoped to find a buyer for the company once the gout drug was approved but announced in October that they had failed to do so and that the company would go forward with the launch of the drug itself.

In the US, the drug will be marketed under a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy and will carry a boxed warning regarding the risk of anaphylaxis and infusion reactions. As part of the approval requirements, Savient is required to conduct a one-year post-approval observational safety study in 500 patients.

Johnson said in a statement that his initial focus would be on "successfully launching Krystexxa globally in order to build value for all our stakeholders."

26th January 2011

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