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New Alexion CEO recruits from Baxalta, Pfizer for C-suite

June 3, 2017

After conducting a purge of its leadership team, Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) Chief Executive Officer Ludwig Hantson is bringing in some new blood to flesh out his management team, including former colleagues from Baxalta (BXLT).

Hantson, the former president and CEO of Baxalta, took over the reins of embattled Alexion in March. Alexion and its management team has been under a cloud as lawmakers have looked into company sales practices surrounding its blood-disorder drug Soliris. In January, the company admitted that unnamed members of its senior management team used “inappropriate business tactics” to market the drug. Investigations into the company sparked the resignation of the former CEO David Hallal, as well as Vikas Sinha, the company’s chief financial officer.

Shortly after Hantson took over the top spot at Alexion, he shook up the C-suite team and initiated plans to bring in his own team, including tapping former Baxalta executive Brian Goff as the new chief commercial officer.

On Thursday, Hantson announced more additions to the leadership team including a new head of research and development. Hantson tapped another former Baxalta executive, John Orloff, as the new R&D head. Orloff most recently served as head of R&D at Novelion. He also brought in Ann-Marie Law as the head of human resources. Like Hantson and Orloff, Law also served in an executive role at Baxalta. More recently she worked for Hyatt. Lastly, Hantson tapped Indrani Lall Franchini as the company’s chief compliance officer. Franchini spent nearly 10 years with Pfizer (PFE), most recently as chief compliance counsel for its pharmaceutical business.

Hantson said each of the new C-suite leaders brings “deep industry experience” and a proven track record to Alexion.

“These experienced leaders join our team of exceptionally skilled and dedicated employees around the world and will be key partners as we build upon Alexion’s solid foundation to drive continued growth and deliver long-term value for all of our stakeholders.”

Investors are reacting positively to the announcement. Share prices of Alexion have been steadily climbing. They are currently trading at $102.92 as of 9:58 a.m.

As Orloff steps into his new role, his focus will be strengthening the company’s pipeline and research program. In his statement announcing Orloff’s hiring, Hantson said the two are “aligned on the highest priority development programs, including the gMG registration filings and the ALXN1210 development programs.”

One key that some investors will be looking to, according to Endpoints’ John Carroll, is to see if Hantson and Orloff begin to look at striking deals to acquire new treatments to bolster the company’s pipeline, as they had done at Baxalta.

Some are not too impressed by Hantson’s hires. Carroll noted that Geoffrey Porges of Leerink was critical of the hires, calling it the “Baxter-ization of the management suite.” Porges said the joyful reunion of the Baxalta executives “does little to reassure us the business outlook at the company is not impaired, or that growth can be maintained, at anything comparable to our prior expectations.”

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