Just one month after Portola won a long-awaited FDA approval of its bleeding antidote for blood thinners, the company’s chief executive is relinquishing the reins to retire.
CEO William Lis, who’s been leading the company since 2008, will stay on until August 1, then exit both the company and the board. Portola $PTLA has appointed the company’s EVP of R&D John Curnutte and CFO Mardi Dier as interim co-presidents, along with their current positions.
The executive hunt that will soon be underway follows a big milestone for the company. Last month Portola’s anti-anticoagulant Andexxa won the FDA’s OK, following a rejection and some delays. The company first submitted an NDA for Andexxa in late 2015, only to be caught off guard with an FDA rejection. At the time, the South San Francisco biotech said the agency was looking for more information on manufacturing and how the antidote works in other blood thinning drugs, such as edoxaban (Savaysa) and enoxaparin (Lovenox).
The company plans to launch an early supply program of “Generation 1” Andexxa in June, with broader commercial launch anticipated in early 2019. Now, they’ll be prepping for launch while finding a new chief executive.
“Portola is at an important inflection point in its history as the company turns its focus to the successful launches of Andexxa and Bevyxxa, and a potential third medicine progressing to late stage development,” said board chairman Hollings Renton in a statement. “We are committed to bringing on board a new CEO with strong global commercial experience and the demonstrated expertise to build on our excellent foundation and lead Portola through its next exciting chapter.”
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