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Lundbeck CEO resigns after rule breach

Ulf Wiinberg accepted gift of shares in Stratified Medical
Ulf Wiinberg Lundbeck

Lundbeck is searching for a new CEO after Ulf Wiinberg resigned his position following a breach of the company's rules.

The Denmark-based pharma company said Wiinberg departed at his own request after he omitted to request approval from Lundbeck's board of directors to receive shares in the biotech company Stratified Medical as a gift from its founder last year.

The issue was compounded further by a subsequent decision by Lundbeck to invest in Stratified Medical, a biotech company focused on using predictive analytical capabilities to make drug development more efficient.

Wiinberg apologised for this breach of the company's code of conduct, saying it was not intentional.

"I am sincerely sorry for the course of events, which on my part was unintentional, and of which I myself informed [company chairman] Håkan Björklund,” said Wiinberg. “However, based on these events, I have found it in both parties' best interests that I resign from my position today.”

Wiinberg's departure is immediate and Lundbeck's chairman Björklund - former CEO of Nycomed - will act as day-to-day leader of the company until a successor is found.

Björklund commented on his colleague's departure: “Ulf Wiinberg has not only acknowledged but also apologised for his erroneous actions, but this does not change the fact that Lundbeck has a clear and unmistakable Code of Conduct for all employees.”

Wiinberg's resignation adds to what has been a difficult couple of years for Lundbeck, which has been hit hard by the loss of patent protection for its big-selling antidepressant Cipralex (escitalopram).

This has led to a fall in revenues that has not been filled by new products, while the company has also implemented cost-cutting measures that include the loss of hundreds of jobs.

Compounding this has been a legal battle with the European Commission, which ruled that Lundbeck collaborated with several other companies to delay the entry of generic competition for Celexa/ Cipramil (citalopram). As a result Lundbeck was fined €93.8m.

24th November 2014

From: Sales, Regulatory

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