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Alexion leadership uncertainty ends as ex-Baxalta CEO steps in

Published on: 28/03/17

Alexion had been left in leadership limbo for the beginning of the year, as former CEO and CFO left under a cloud regarding sales practices under the their leadership, but has now found a new CEO: Ludwig Hantson, formerly of Baxalta.

Hantson enters the position with Alexion in a particularly difficult place, after turbulence at the top and an $8.4 billion acquisition of Synageva Biopharma that is struggling to justify its price tag. The latter was an attempt to broaden its revenue-generating products beyond Soliris, its key drug being responsible for 91% of Alexion’s revenue, but that attempt looks to have fallen flat.

Hantson has prior experience with rare diseases, having shepherded Baxalta for a year before its takeover by Shire. Prior to this, he had built an impressive working history during ten years working at Novartis, including being CEO of Novartis Pharma North America, CEO of Novartis Pharma Europe and President of Novartis Pharma Canada.

“I am honoured and proud to join Alexion, an innovator and pioneer in rare diseases and a company that shares my commitment to serving patients and families,” said Dr. Hantson. “I believe Alexion is in a strong position to continue to advance the science and build upon its global capabilities to serve even more patients with devastating and rare diseases in over 50 markets. Alexion is on-track to achieving its near-term priorities, including: growing its complement and metabolic franchises; obtaining approval of Soliris in refractory gMG; and advancing its pipeline programs including ALXN1210 and eculizumab in relapsing NMOSD. I also look forward to building our future R&D and commercial growth strategies which will be guided by the Company’s long-standing goal of transforming lives.”

R. Douglas Norby, Alexion’s Lead Independent Director, explained the decision behind the apppintment: “After a comprehensive search process, the Board is very pleased to appoint Ludwig, a seasoned executive and inspirational leader who will help us advance our pipeline and commercial growth initiatives while maintaining Alexion’s mission to serve patients with life-transforming therapies.”

Current interim CEO, David Brennan, will remain on Alexion’s board before being appointing Chairman on 10 May.

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