While the focus of most biotech investments is primarily the company’s lead compound, R&D pipeline and/or technology platform, the Chief Executive plays a very important role. While most CEOs have impressive resumes and CVs, we decided to offer our own brief Insight as to what relevant experience makes these leaders the right person to run their respective company.
Interim CEO: Steve Davis
Stephen R. Davis is President and CEO of ACAD. Mr. Davis joined ACAD in July 2014 as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Business Officer. He was appointed Interim CEO in March 2015 and President and CEO in September 2015. Mr. Davis brings over 20 years of executive-level experience in the pharmaceutical industry and more than 20 years of experience on the boards of directors of publicly held biopharmaceutical companies. Previously, Mr. Davis served as Executive Vice President and COO at Heron Therapeutics, Inc., Executive Vice President and COO at Ardea Biosciences, Inc., and in numerous executive roles at Neurogen Corporation, including CEO. Mr. Davis currently serves on the Board of Directors of Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Early in his career, Mr. Davis practiced as a Certified Public Accountant with a major accounting firm and as a corporate and securities attorney with a Wall Street law firm. Mr. Davis received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Southern Nazarene University and a J.D. from Vanderbilt University. Mr. Davis has begun to show his operational skills as his experience has helped lead a strong launch for the Company’s first drug Nuplazid.
CEO: Richard Pops
Richard Pops joined Alkermes as CEO back in 1991, when we first met him. He has taken the company from a start-up of 25 employees to a global emerging biopharmaceutical firm with over 1,200 employees. With over 25 years experience, Pops is well-regarded as a strategic thinker with financial strengths, including his ability to form various key collaborations and make smart acquisitions. As a result, Alkermes’ commercial, R&D and financial condition all appear extremely solid.
CEO: Jean-Jacques Bienaimé
A staunch proponent of shareholder value, Mr. Bienaimé joined BioMarin as Chief Executive in 2005. With more than 25 years of industry experience, JJ has been at the helm and subsequently sold two successful biotech companies at significant valuations (Genencor sold to Danisco in 2005, and Sangstat sold to Genzyme in 2002). We first met Bienaime in 2009 after a rare BioMarin quarterly earnings miss and takeover rumors were swirling at the time. After that meeting, we realized that he was the ideal CEO and steadfast in his position to keep the Company independent. MTSL recommended the stock at that time – and Bienaime was the main reason for our call. Bienaime has been undoubtedly correct, as BioMarin has been the preeminent leader in the development of Orphan Drugs– a corporate strategy that many imitators have adopted of late.
Chairman & CEO: Mark J. Alles
Mr. Alles serves as Celgene Corporation’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer and joined Celgene’s Board of Directors on March 1, 2016. The role of Chairman was added on February 6, 2018. Mr. Alles served as Executive Vice President and Global Head of Hematology and Oncology from December 2012 until July 2014, and was also Celgene’s Chief Commercial Officer. Mr. Alles joined Celgene in April 2004 and was Vice President, Global Hematology Marketing until March 2009 when he was promoted to President of the Americas Region. Responsibility for commercial operations in Japan and the Asia Pacific Region was added in July 2011. Before joining Celgene, he was Vice President of the U.S. Oncology business unit at Aventis Pharmaceuticals and served in other senior commercial management roles at Aventis (Rhône-Poulenc Rorer) from 1993-2004. After earning his B.S. Degree from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania and serving as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, Mr. Alles began his thirty-year career in the pharmaceutical industry at Bayer and worked at Centocor before its acquisition by Johnson & Johnson. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the European Federation of the Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), and serves on the Board of Gilda’s Club NYC, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families of people living with cancer.
CEO: Tim Mayleben
Tim Mayleben is ESPR’s President and CEO and has been a member of the Board of Directors since February 2010. Prior to joining ESPR, Tim was President, CEO and a Director at Vericel Corporation, formerly Aastrom Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: VCEL). Previously, Tim was President, Chief Operating Officer and a director of NightHawk Radiology Holdings, Inc. Prior to joining Nighthawk, Tim was the COO of the original Esperion, until its acquisition by Pfizer in 2004. Tim earned an MBA, with distinction, from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, and a BBA from the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business. We have a long track record working with Tim and have always been impressed with his ability to create shareholder value. Our previous recommendation of the original Esperion was bought by Pfizer for over a billion dollars and was a big winner for MTSL subscribers. Tim’s ability to attract a first class management team has allowed ESPR to create a comprehensive development program, for their lead drug candidate, BA. ESPR’s huge BA development program has been executed exactly how a Big Pharma would, and in our view, increases the drug candidate’s chance for success.
CEO: Aron Knickerbocker
Mr. Knickerbocker has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Five Prime since January 2018. Prior to this, he served as Chief Operating Officer since September 2016 and as a member of the Board of Directors since October 2013. He previously served as the Company’s Chief Business Officer from April 2012 to September 2016, as Executive Vice President from August 2015 to September 2016, and as Senior Vice President from April 2012 to August 2015. Prior to that, he was Vice President, Business Development from September 2009 to April 2012. From 2001 to September 2009, Mr. Knickerbocker served at Genentech in positions of increasing responsibility most recently as Senior Director, Business Development from 2005 to September 2009. Prior to 2001, Mr. Knickerbocker served as Director of Commercial Development at ALZA, a pharmaceutical company acquired by Johnson & Johnson, as Senior Manager, Corporate Development at Amgen, and as a scientist at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Mr. Knickerbocker received an A.B. in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan.
CEO: Hervé Hoppenot
Hervé Hoppenot joined Incyte in 2014 as President and Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining Incyte, Mr. Hoppenot was the President of Novartis Oncology, where he was responsible for translational medicine, development, approval and commercialization, which included $11 billion in global sales, the largest oncology pipeline in the industry, and 8,000 employees in 50 countries. Mr. Hoppenot joined Novartis in 2003 and, in addition to his role as President, served as Chief Commercial Officer, Head of Global Product Strategy & Scientific Development, and Senior Vice President, Head of Global Marketing. He started his career in 1983 with Rhone Poulenc, later known as Aventis, where he served in several senior roles of increasing responsibility, including Vice President of Oncology and Head of the U.S. Oncology business unit. Mr. Hoppenot holds a Diploma from ESSEC International Business School.
CEO: Randal J. Kirk
Randal J. Kirk “RJ” is the CEO and Chairman of the Board for XON since February 2008. RJ provides a wealth of strategic, operational and management experience having founder of New River Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Shire plc in 2007) in 1996, and was President and CEO between October 2001 and April 2007. Mr. Kirk currently serves in a number of additional capacities including as a member of the Board of Directors of Halozyme since May 2007 and as a member of the Board of Directors of ZIOP since January 2011. Previously, Mr. Kirk served as a member of the board of directors of Scios (acquired by Johnson & Johnson) between February 2000 and May 2002, and as a member of the board of directors of Clinical Data (acquired by Forest Labs in April 2011) from September 2002 to April 2011, and was Chairman of the board of directors from December 2004 to April 2011. RJ received a B.A. in Business from Radford University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia. RJ is a controversial figure within the biotech world as his bold vision is not always shared by Wall Street. In our view, the huge wealth his has created at his previous three endeavors, that were all acquired at large premiums, speaks for itself. The bottom line is that RJ is a serial entrepreneur with a proven track record of creating value time after time for his shareholders.
CEO: Stanley Crooke
Dr. Stan Crooke is the Founder of IONIS and has been Chief Executive since its inception in the late-1980s. He is a one of the more prominent and also controversial figures in the biotech sector, and we have known Stan since IONIS went public in 1990. There are very few CEO’s who have built companies based on their own patents, remained CEO for over 25 years and have brought a drug from bench to bedside. The “Crooke” patents lie at the core of IONIS’ value, and the management team has done an impressive job of leveraging their strong IP into a slew of lucrative partnerships.
Chairman & CEO: Paul A. Friedman, M.D.
Dr. Paul Friedman has been MDGL’s CEO since July 2016. Previously, Dr. Friedman served as the Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Incyte Corporation from November 2001 until his retirement in January 2014. From 1994 to 1998, Dr. Friedman served as President of R&D for the DuPont-Merck Pharmaceutical Company; and from 1998 to 2001 as President of DuPont Pharmaceuticals Research Laboratories, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the DuPont Company. From 1991 to 1994, he served as Senior Vice President at Merck Research Laboratories. Prior to his tenures at Merck and DuPont, Dr. Friedman was an Associate Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Friedman currently sits on the boards of Cerulean Pharma, Verastem, Incyte, and Gliknik. Dr. Friedman is a serially entrepreneur and has created significant value within the biopharma space multiple times. Specifically his unique ability to read and understand small molecule scaffolding has led to many successful drugs and drugs in development including Sustiva, Jakafi, Bari, IDO and the rest of INCY’s impressive early stage pipeline.
THE MEDICINES COMPANY
CEO: Clive A. Meanwell
Clive Meanwell has run MDCO since before it went public in May 2000 (despite a short stint as Chairman when Pacira’s Dave Stack was CEO). A long-time executive at Hoffmann-La Roche, Clive’s experience with the Angiomax clinical trials, regulatory process and intellectual property has, in our view, been one of the most challenging and yet widely biotech stories. We know Clive since his early MDCO days – Jay Silverman was the sell-side analyst at Robertson, Stephens that covered MDCO stock and led its initial public offering. Since then, we have admired Meanwell from a professional and personal view, and believe he represents an ideal leader for both start-up and established biopharmaceutical companies.
CEO: Howard Robin
Howard Robin joined Nektar as CEO in 2007. The NKTR he inherited in 2007 was suffering from the failed launch of the inhaled insulin product, Exubera. Mr. Robin has subsequently transformed the company into a strong platform technology play. He has leveraged NKTR’s second-generation PEGylation technology into a broad pipeline of partnered, and more recently, wholly owned drug development candidates to successfully complete the Company’s turnaround. Mr. Robin has a strong track record of creating shareholder value as his previous company, Sirna Therapeutics, another proprietary platform firm, was sold to Merck for $1.1 billion in 2006.
CEO: Stanley Erck
Stanley C. Erck was named President and CEO of Novavax in April 2011. Mr. Erck has relevant career experience at companies developing infectious disease and vaccines. Under Stan, NVAX has broadened its clinical program, brought in upper management that have RSV development expertise through their development of MedImmune’s RSV drug, Synagis, and managed the BARDA and PATH contracts. That being, said the jury is still out for Stan as he builds his potential legacy at Novavax.
CEO: David Stack, M.D.
Dave Stack joined Pacira as CEO in 2007. Stack is evolving Pacira from a sustained-release injectable technology company into a fully integrated, acute care pharmaceutical company. From September 2001 to August 2004, Mr. Stack was President, CEO and a Director of the The Medicines Company (MDCO). The MDCO experience is quite relevant here – Stack successfully launched Angiomax into a competitive hospital marketplace. Like Exparel, Angiomax was a higher-priced alternative to existing therapies, but over time offered similar patient/physician and pharmacoeconomic advantages as Exparel. And likewise, Angiomax’s launch strategy was tiered with customer target groups, staggered published clinical data and subsequent acceptance by insurance providers. One big difference – the potential market for Exparel is sizably larger than that of Angiomax. Previously at Roche, Mr. Stack also remains President and General Partner of Stack Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a firm assisting emerging healthcare companies in the commercialization of their products since 1998.
CEO: Sandy Macrae
Sandy Macrae, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D., has served as Sangamo’s President and Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors since June 2016. He has twenty years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry most recently serving as the Global Medical Officer of Takeda Pharmaceuticals, from 2012 to March 2016, where he established and led the Global Medical Office, which encompasses medical affairs, regulatory affairs, pharmacovigilance, outcomes research and epidemiology, quantitative sciences and knowledge and informatics. From 2001 to 2012, Dr. Macrae held roles of increasing responsibility at GlaxoSmithKline, including Senior Vice President, Emerging Markets Research and Development (R&D), from 2009 to 2012. In that position, he provided expertise and resources to create a first-of-its-kind group to expand GSK’s global reach by providing R&D strategies, clinical development and regulatory resources to enter emerging markets and Asia-Pacific. From 2007 to 2008, he was Vice President, Business Development. In that position, he was responsible for scientific assessment and business development project leadership for the neurology, psychiatry, cardiovascular and metabolic therapeutic areas. Earlier in his career, he worked for SmithKline Beecham, where he was responsible for clinical development in the therapeutic areas of neurology and gastroenterology. Dr. Macrae received his B.Sc. in pharmacology and his M.B., Ch.B. with honors from Glasgow University. He is a member of the Royal College of Physicians. Dr. Macrae also earned his Ph.D. in molecular genomics at King’s College, Cambridge.
CEO: Laurence J.N. Cooper
Dr. Laurence Cooper is the CEP of ZIOP and came to the company with a reputation as one of the world’s leading pediatric oncologists from the prestigious M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Prior to becoming the CEO of ZIOP in May 2015, Dr. Cooper was a tenured Professor at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC), with joint appointments in the Division of Pediatrics and Department of Immunology. He also served as Section Chief of Cell Therapy at the Children’s Cancer Hospital at MDACC where, as a Visiting Scientist at MDACC, he will continue to lead scientific efforts to develop new treatment approaches which pair genetic engineering with immunotherapies. Dr. Cooper has coauthored dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles, abstracts, and book chapters. He has initiated multiple trials under INDs infusing T cells and NK cells. He is undertaking the first protocols using a new approach to gene therapy based upon the Sleeping Beauty transposon/transpoase system and has helped develop clinical-grade artificial antigen presenting cells for numerically expanding and activating lymphocytes. Dr. Cooper has impressed us with his ability to translate exciting conceptual preclinical gene therapies into human clinical trial development. In our view, Dr. Cooper is an ideal CEO for ZIOP as he navigates the company’s cutting edge gene therapy technologies to treat cancer towards the market.