Biogen shows CEO Michel Vountasos the door after Aduhelm’s collapse. As the company searches for a new leader, one skill stands out in the eyes of investors as the most desirable skill they look for in a new captain.
Nearly 40% of Biogen investors said they wanted a CEO with a track record of successful business development through in-house licencing deals or acquisitions. In comparison, R& D’s expertise and experience in savings were rated lower.
The results reflect perceptions of low expected earnings from Biogen’s current pipeline and underscore the importance of the foreign deal to boost the company’s value and restore confidence in the biotech business, RBC analysts said in a note on Wednesday.
A senior Johnson & Johnson scientist recently emerged as the top candidate to become Biogen’s CEO, according to people familiar with the discussions.
The Alzheimer’s drug won controversial approval from the FDA but failed on the market, forcing it to scale back commercial deployment, and it hurt. restructuring But things have changed dramatically since then, with Biogen and Eisai partners recently reporting positive data for lekenamab, a late-stage Alzheimer’s drug.
Vounatsos has been promoted from commercial director to CEO, while Mammen, who stepped down from running JandJ’s large Rand group for what he says will be “my next leadership role,” would bring a scientific background to the job. And that’s exactly the change Biogen is looking for, STAT reports, citing sources familiar with the search.
A founding member of Theravance, Mammen served for many years as Vice President of Biotechnology at R&D before moving to Merck and then to JandJ. During his five years there—first as head of R&D at Janssen and then promoted to the top rungs of the pharmaceutical giant earlier this year—Mammen made some pretty bold bets. One prominent example was the decision to partner with China Legend, then an obscure player in the BCMA CAR-T, which received FDA approval.
Mammen—or whoever Biogen eventually names CEO—will be tasked with reviving the biotech giant, whose reputation was damaged by the Aduhelm fiasco. And maybe make some trades that analysts have been calling for a long time.