Ex-Sanofi chief Olivier Brandicourt, current Blackstone advisor, jumps on Alnylam board
Former Sanofi chief Olivier Brandicourt, who departed his post with an unexpected early retirement last year, has made his move — as most C-suite executives inevitably do — to become a director on the board of a biopharma company.
RNAi player Alnylam is Brandicourt’s destination. Meanwhile, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based drugmaker — which pioneered the first approval in the field — also disclosed the retirement of Alnylam co-founder Dr. Paul Schimmel from its board.
Brandicourt, who served in leadership positions at Bayer and Pfizer, took over the reins of the French drugmaker in 2015 — and was known for his quiet, unassuming presence.
At the time, Sanofi was already struggling with the loss of patent protection on some of its key products, among other challenges. Brandicourt implemented a sweeping restructuring plan, cutting costs and jobs; bolstered the company’s presence in the lucrative rare disease field with the buyouts of Ablynx and Bioverativ (although the company lost out on Medivation and Actelion); and swapped its animal health unit to take charge of Boehringer’s consumer healthcare business.
His tenure was marred by the launch of the controversial dengue vaccine Dengvaxia in late 2015 — a few years following the launch, the company was forced to admit the shot could cause more serious infections when administered in people who haven’t experienced a prior infection. Following a decline in sales in 2018, Brandicourt took a hefty pay cut — by 25% to €7.28 million ($8.2 million) — making him one of the lowest-paid big pharma CEOs, but Sanofi’s fortunes didn’t quite perk up.
His successor, Paul Hudson, inherited a company with a slipping stock price, a diabetes arm largely in decline due to US pricing pressures and an R&D department lagging behind its compatriots, particularly after some key hiccups in oncology.
Now, Brandicourt will grace the board of Alnylam, following his migration to private equity. In December, he was appointed as a senior advisor at Blackstone, which has earmarked $4.5+ billion for a life sciences fund.
A quick scan of the compensation received by Alnylam’s non-employee board members in 2018 suggests Brandicourt could earn between $640,000 and $1.2 million in cash and stock options.