David Hung makes a quick, abrupt ex­it at Ax­o­vant af­ter hu­mil­i­at­ing set­backs

David Hung

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A month af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing one of the most hu­mil­i­at­ing set­backs in biotech, David Hung is bow­ing out as CEO of Ax­o­vant $AX­ON.

Hung, you’ll re­call, had on­ly re­cent­ly com­plet­ed a $14 bil­lion deal to sell Medi­va­tion to Pfiz­er when he agreed to take the helm at Vivek Ra­maswamy’s Alzheimer’s com­pa­ny just 10 months ago. His new deal gave him a di­rect line to a po­ten­tial for­tune, pro­vid­ed the drug — once tout­ed as “a great drug can­di­date” by Roivant founder Vivek Ra­maswamy — ac­tu­al­ly worked.

But their 5HT6 drug failed to make a mark on symp­toms of the dis­ease, and the one pos­i­tive piece of da­ta the com­pa­ny could re­port turned out to be an am­a­teur­ish sta­tis­ti­cal er­ror — some­thing that pro­fes­sion­als around the world cringed at.

Ax­o­vant’s al­ready bru­tal­ized shares tum­bled more than 20% in pre-mar­ket trad­ing Mon­day morn­ing, shov­ing its mar­ket cap down even fur­ther. Once val­ued at more than $2 bil­lion, the vast ma­jor­i­ty of that has been shred­ded.

Pa­van Cheru­vu

Along with Hung went his whole camp: Mar­i­on Mc­Court — the for­mer COO at Medi­va­tion — re­signed to “pur­sue an­oth­er op­por­tu­ni­ty, and di­rec­tors Kate Fal­berg, Tony Ver­non, and Patrick Macha­do have re­signed as mem­bers of the com­pa­ny’s board of di­rec­tors.”

Ex-McK­in­sey con­sul­tant and Har­vard Med grad­u­ate Pa­van Cheru­vu is tak­ing Hung’s place. George Bick­er­staff, the for­mer CFO of No­var­tis Phar­ma, joined Ax­o­vant’s board of di­rec­tors along with ex-Unit­ed Ther­a­peu­tics CEO Roger Jeffs.

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