Gilead locks in Daniel O'­Day as CEO, tap­ping the Roche vet to re­ju­ve­nate growth

The sus­pense over who will suc­ceed John Mil­li­gan at Gilead has fi­nal­ly end­ed.

Daniel O’Day, cur­rent CEO of Roche’s Phar­ma di­vi­sion, has been tapped for the top job, Gilead an­nounced days be­fore Mil­li­gan is set to de­part from his cor­ner of­fice.

John Mil­li­gan

O’Day’s ap­point­ment ush­ers in a new era for the Fos­ter City, CA-based big biotech, which Mil­li­gan and his pre­de­ces­sor, John Mar­tin, ran for near­ly three decades, cre­at­ing an HIV pow­er­house and an in­dus­try-dom­i­nat­ing he­pati­tis C fran­chise. In re­cent years, how­ev­er, it’s seen its rev­enue shrink as com­pe­ti­tion heats up and the pain­less cure ef­fec­tive­ly down­sized the mar­ket.

Mar­tin has pre­vi­ous­ly an­nounced his de­par­ture as board chair­man, amid an ex­ec­u­tive ex­o­dus that al­so claimed R&D head Nor­bert Bischoberg­er, CMO An­drew Cheng and com­mer­cial chief James Mey­ers (who is re­tir­ing).

Be­fore O’Day as­sumes his role on March 1, 2019, Gregg Al­ton — a 20-year vet­er­an of the com­pa­ny who’s served as gen­er­al coun­sel and, most re­cent­ly, chief pa­tient of­fi­cer — will man the fort as in­ter­im CEO.

In­vestors wel­comed the news, send­ing Gilead shares $GILD up 2.5%.

O’Day, who Jef­feries’ Michael Yee de­scribes as “pret­ty straight down the road” in terms of risk tak­ing with­out a his­to­ry of big M&A deal­ing, grad­u­ates from Roche as a 30-year vet­er­an of the Swiss phar­ma gi­ant, hav­ing start­ed with com­mer­cial and sales roles in 1987. Since tak­ing con­trol of the phar­ma unit in 2012, he’s over­seen the launch of sev­er­al po­ten­tial block­buster drugs in­clud­ing Hem­li­bra and Tecen­triq.

Baird’s Bri­an Sko­r­ney, mean­while, of­fers a de­cid­ed­ly glow­ing re­view of the new CEO:

(I)n his role at Roche, we think he has done a phe­nom­e­nal job at nav­i­gat­ing the com­pa­ny in­to a next gen­er­a­tion of prod­ucts (Ocre­vus, Hem­li­bra, po­latuzum­ab are just a cou­ple of prod­ucts we see as new, im­pact­ful block­buster drugs). Most im­por­tant­ly, we be­lieve the long his­to­ry at Roche makes him a choice that isn’t like­ly to break an al­ready good com­pa­ny. While we ex­pect that re­plac­ing the head of one of the strongest man­age­ment teams ever seen in biotech to be a chal­leng­ing role, we think that O’Day is high­ly qual­i­fied and should ease in­vestor con­cerns lead­ing in­to Mil­li­gan’s re­tire­ment.

While in­vestors keen­ly await a strate­gic plan and vi­sion from O’Day, an­a­lysts at Jef­feries laid out a pos­si­ble sce­nario:

We be­lieve O’Day will look to de­vel­op a strat­e­gy over the course of 2019 and it will in­clude a view on de­ploy­ing GILD’s cur­rent cash of ~$32B to­wards more on­col­o­gy as­sets and oth­er key ar­eas, such as in­flam­ma­tion and liv­er dis­eases. Note’s GILD’s cur­rent debt-to-EBIT­DA ra­tio stands at rough­ly ~2.6x so the com­pa­ny could still lever up to do more deals. (…) we can as­sume his plan-of-ac­tion for 2019 is to en­sure that: (1) HCV sta­bi­lizes and be­comes more “pre­dictable”, (2) HIV grows as Bik­tarvy con­tin­ues to reach record rev­enues, and (3) Yescar­ta grows each quar­ter as the com­pa­ny con­tin­ues to ex­pand its pres­ence in hema­tol­ogy (e.g. al­lo­gene­ic CAR-T) and sol­id tu­mors (neo-anti­gens).

Faced with a wan­ing hep C fran­chise, Gilead has swal­lowed Kite Phar­ma in a bid to be­come a leader in CAR-T, snap­ping up new tech­nolo­gies along the way. It is now up to O’Day to gal­va­nize the sales of Kite’s CAR-T ther­a­py Yescar­ta, which de­spite im­pres­sive sur­vival rates gen­er­at­ed a pal­try $183 mil­lion for the first nine months of 2018.

Mean­while in Basel, Genen­tech CEO Bill An­der­son will fill O’Day’s shoes.


Im­age: Daniel O’Day. ROCHE

Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Getty Images)

Sanofi CEO Paul Hud­son has $23B burn­ing a hole in his pock­et. And here are some hints on how he plans to spend that

Sanofi has reaped $11.1 billion after selling off a big chunk of its Regeneron stock at $515 a share. And now everyone on the M&A side of the business is focused on how CEO Paul Hudson plans to spend it.

After getting stung in France for some awkward politicking — suggesting the US was in the front of the line for Sanofi’s vaccines given American financial support for their work, versus little help from European powers — Hudson now has the much more popular task of managing a major cash cache to pull off something in the order of a big bolt-on. Or two.

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The Advance Clinical leadership team: CEO Yvonne Lungershausen, Sandrien Louwaars - Director Business Development Operations, Gabriel Kremmidiotis - Chief Scientific Officer, Ben Edwards - Chief Strategy Officer

How Aus­tralia De­liv­ers Rapid Start-up and 43.5% Re­bate for Ear­ly Phase On­col­o­gy Tri­als

About Avance Clinical

Avance Clinical is an Australian owned Contract Research Organisation that has been providing high-quality clinical research services to the local and international drug development industry for 20 years. They specialise in working with biotech companies to execute Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials to deliver high-quality outcomes fit for global regulatory standards.

As oncology sponsors look internationally to speed-up trials after unprecedented COVID-19 suspensions and delays, Australia, which has led the world in minimizing the pandemic’s impact, stands out as an attractive destination for early phase trials. This in combination with the streamlined regulatory system and the financial benefits including a very favourable exchange rate and the R & D cash rebate makes Australia the perfect location for accelerating biotech clinical programs.

Dan O'Day, Gilead CEO (Andrew Harnik, AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Gilead leas­es part­ner rights to TIG­IT, PD-1 in a $2B deal with Ar­cus. Now comes the hard part

Gilead CEO Dan O’Day has brokered his way to a PD-1 and lined up a front row seat in the TIGIT arena, inking a deal worth close to $2 billion to align the big biotech closely with Terry Rosen’s Arcus. And $375 million of that comes upfront, with cash for the buy-in plus equity, along with $400 million for R&D and $1.22 billion in reserve to cover opt-in payments and milestones..

Hotly rumored for weeks, the 2 players have formalized a 10-year alliance that starts with rights to the PD-1, zimberelimab. O’Day also has first dibs on TIGIT and 2 other leading programs, agreeing to an opt-in fee ranging from $200 million to $275 million on each. There’s $500 million in potential TIGIT milestones on US regulatory events — likely capped by an approval — if Gilead partners on it and the stars align on the data. And there’s another $150 million opt-in payments for the rest of the Arcus pipeline.

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Roger Perlmutter, Merck R&D chief (YouTube)

UP­DAT­ED: Backed by BAR­DA, Mer­ck jumps in­to Covid-19: buy­ing out a vac­cine, part­ner­ing on an­oth­er and adding an­tivi­ral to the mix

Merck execs are making a triple play in a sudden leap into the R&D campaign against Covid-19. And they have more BARDA cash backing them up on the move.

Tuesday morning the pharma giant simultaneously announced plans to buy an Austrian biotech that has been working on a preclinical vaccine candidate, added a collaboration on another vaccine with the nonprofit IAVI and inked a deal with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics on an early-stage antiviral.

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Fabrice Chouraqui, Cellarity CEO-partner (LinkedIn)

Drug de­vel­op­er, Big Phar­ma com­mer­cial ex­ec, now an up­start biotech chief — Fab­rice Chouraqui is ready to try some­thing new as a ‘CEO-part­ner’ at Flag­ship

Fabrice Chouraqui’s career has taken some big twists along his life journey. He got his PharmD at Université Paris Descartes and jumped into the drug development game for a bit. Then he took a sharp turn and went back to school to get his MBA at Insead before returning to pharma on the commercial side.

Twenty years later, after steadily rising through the ranks and journeying the globe to nab a top job as president of US pharma for the Basel-based Novartis, Chouraqui exited in another career switch. And now he’s headed into a hybrid position as a CEO-partner at Flagship, where he’ll take a shot at leading Cellarity — one of the VC’s latest paradigm-changing companies of the groundbreaking model that aspires to deliver a new platform to the world of drug R&D.

via Shutterstock

Ex-biotech chief pleads guilty in col­lege ad­mis­sions scan­dal, faces a 10-month prison stretch in plea deal

The ex-CEO of Harmony Biosciences — as well as former board member for Biohaven — has agreed to plead guilty to two counts of mail fraud after getting caught up in the college admissions scandal.

Charged with paying Georgetown University’s former tennis coach more than $50,000 to get his daughter admitted to the university as a new recruit for the team, Bob Repella took the plea deal, which comes with a recommended sentence of 10 months in prison, with a year of supervised release and a $40,000 fine.

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Stymied by the pan­dem­ic, Im­munomedic­s' new CEO bows out, tak­ing a mil­lion bucks plus perks as he heads out the vir­tu­al ex­it

Just a little more than a month since taking over as the latest CEO to helm Immunomedics, $IMMU Harout Semerjian is exiting the company after being confronted by “logistical” obstacles thrown up by the pandemic that made it impossible for him to move from London to carry out the job. And he’s getting a little over a million dollars in cash plus perks to grease the skids on the way out.

Word of the changeup arrived right after the market closed Wednesday.

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Bryan Roberts, Venrock

Ven­rock sur­vey shows grow­ing recog­ni­tion of coro­n­avirus toll, wan­ing con­fi­dence in ar­rival of vac­cines and treat­ments

When Venrock partner Bryan Roberts went to check the results from their annual survey of healthcare leaders, what he found was an imprint of the pandemic’s slow arrival in America.

The venture firm had sent their form out to hundreds of insurance and health tech executives, investors, officials and academics on February 24 and gave them two weeks to fill it out. No Americans had died at that point but the coronavirus had become enough of a global crisis that they included two questions about the virus, including “Total U.S. deaths in 2020 from the novel coronavirus will be:”.