Ex-Purdue Pharma chief Mark Timney, named in dozens of opioid lawsuits, nabs another biotech CEO gig
Facing hundreds of lawsuits over its role in fueling the US opioid epidemic, Purdue Pharma is in the midst of full-scale teardown — but that doesn’t mean its former leaders aren’t making off well. Coming off a stint driving RNAi therapy inclisiran to a buyout, former Purdue CEO Mark Timney has found a new home at the helm of a small biotech.
On Monday, Attralus Therapeutics announced Timney’s hire as CEO amid a flurry of additions to the biotech’s brain trust.
As the CEO driving Purdue during some of the worst years of the opioid epidemic, Timney has been named in dozens of lawsuits against the OxyContin maker. He joined The Medicines Company as its CEO in December 2018 after four years as the president and CEO of Purdue. In 2019, he snagged an $84 million windfall when that company was bought by Novartis for $9.7 billion.
In a statement, Timney said that he was excited about Attralus’ pan-amyloid removal therapies for patients with systemic amyloidosis, citing the extensive unmet needs surrounding the disease. Neither he nor Attralus mentioned anything about his time at Purdue in the press release, except for a brief mention that he held a senior role there.
The statement touted his years of experience in the industry and his leadership of The Medicines Company through late-stage clinical development and maximized the potential for inclisiran, a siRNA cholesterol lowering therapy.
“These actions increased shareholder return more than three-fold within one year and culminated in the company’s acquisition by Novartis,” the statement said.
During his time at Purdue, Timney allegedly directed sales reps to promote OxyContin’s “abuse-deterrent properties,” even though he didn’t disclose that those properties didn’t help with overconsumption of the drug, the AP said. Timney and his predecessor John Stewart were accused of participating directly in deceptive practices and allegedly gave presentations that acknowledged that the anti-abuse technology was unlikely to work. He is named as a defendant in more than 30 lawsuits against Purdue from over 1,000 cities and states, including Colorado, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
So far, Purdue has reached a number of settlements, including one in March 2019 for $270 million with the state of Oklahoma. The company is currently mired in a court-supervised restructuring.
Neither Attralus nor Timney responded by press time.
“We are pleased to welcome Mark Timney as CEO of Attralus, as he brings a track record for delivering value for patients, health care systems and investors,” Attralus board member Richard Gaster said in the release.
Rahul Kakkar, a biotech entrepreneur and the CEO of Pandion Therapeutics before it was acquired by Merck, was named as an Attralus board member Monday. Gregory Bell comes to the company to fill the role of CMO from KAI Pharmaceuticals. Glen Firestone was named the CBO, Krishna Gorti was named the head of corporate development and Michael Klein was named the head of chemistry, manufacturing and controls.
Attralus’ pan-amyloid removal therapeutic is designed to directly bind and remove toxic amyloid in organs and tissues, and has the potential to treat patients with all types and stages of amyloidosis.