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Mitchell Gold steps down as CEO and president of Dendreon

Former Savient CEO and Lilly senior VP John Johnson replaces Gold who remains at Dendreon as executive chair

Mitchell Gold is to leave his position as CEO and president of Seatle, US-based biotech Dendreon after eight years in charge.

He will be replaced by former president and CEO of New Jersey, US company Savient Pharmaceuticals, John Johnson, who has been a member of Dendreon's board since August, 2011.

Gold will remain at the cancer-focused biotech after being elected Dendreon's executive chair, a role he will hold until June 30, 2012.

At that point, Johnson will take over as chair in addition to his other positions, with Gold to continue to serve as a director.

Gold had been CEO and president since 2003, prior to which he was vice president of business development and chief business officer at the company.

During his time as CEO, Gold oversaw the development and approval of Dendreon's Provenge (sipuleucel-T) – the first FDA approved cancer vaccine.

He was also awarded the Oliver R Grace Award by the Cancer Research Institute and named a runner-up for Smartest CEO by Fortune Magazine in their Smartest People in Tech issue.

"As Dendreon continues its evolution into a global oncology company, I am pleased to hand over the reins to John, whose drive and significant global oncology expertise will advance our continued growth as a leading biotechnology company, benefiting our customers, our employees, our shareholders and, most importantly, patients with advanced prostate cancer," said Gold.

Johnson, who has worked in the healthcare industry since joining Pfizer in 1983, had served as Savient's CEO since January 2011.

Prior to this role he was senior vice president of Eli Lilly & Company and president of Lilly's oncology business unit.

He also served as CEO at ImClone Systems, which Lilly acquired, and spent over 15 years at Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries.

Commenting on his latest appointment he said: "I am honoured to take on this important role to help lead Dendreon into the next chapter of growth, and I have great respect for all that Mitch has accomplished over the past decade in ushering in a new era in medicine for patients with cancer.”

3rd February 2012

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