HR violation pushes Revance co-founder out, vaulting former Zeltiq chief to the helm
Months after Revance amended the terms of its Botox biosimilar collaboration with Mylan, the Newark, California-based drug developer disclosed its co-founder Dan Browne is stepping down, in what appears to be mysterious circumstances.
The company — which is also developing a rival to Allergan’s formidable Botox franchise — on Monday said Browne is departing “due to misjudgment in handling an employee matter,” that has also culminated in his resignation from Revance’s board of directors.
Board member Mark Foley, former chief of Zeltiq Therapeutics, will take over the reins as Revance CEO and president, the company said.
“While the change is sudden and unexpected, Revance is still in good hands. Mark Foley, who’s replacing Dan Browne, has a long track record in aesthetics the former Chairman and CEO of Zeltiq Aesthetics, which was acquired by Allergan for ~$2.5B in 2017,” Needham analyst Serge Belanger told Endpoints News.
Endpoints has contacted Revance for comment.
Browne has been instrumental in creating Revance — he helped nab its first venture capital injection in 2006 and steered the company to its public debut in 2014.
“The departure of Dan Browne was due purely to an HR violation and was in no relation to the DAXI product or BLA timing, which is still on track for ‘the Fall.’ Although it is disappointing to learn of Dan’s departure given all of his efforts over his 17 years with the company, it does not appear to be at all related to the core asset,” Cowen’s Ken Cacciatore wrote in a note.
The company’s lead product, DaxibotulinumtoxinA for Injection (DAXI), is positioned as a direct competitor to Allergan’s Botox franchise — a product that is approved for 13 indications and generated close to $3.6 billion last year, despite the emergence of rivals: Ipsen’s Dysport and Merz Pharma’s Xeomin. Another rival, Evolus scored FDA approval for its product, Jeuveau, in February this year.
Revance expects DAXI to win US approval in 2020 as a treatment for frown lines — the product is also under development for use in forehead lines and crow’s feet, as well as in three therapeutic indications: cervical dystonia, adult upper limb spasticity, and plantar fasciitis.
Botox and its competitors typically work for 3-4 months, but DAXI has a potential 6-month duration claim — which could be disruptive current injectable botulinum toxin treatment paradigm, Cacciatore said. He expects DAXI could eventually represent a $1 billion+ product in the United States, and eventually a potential equal size in the ex-US markets.
Revance $RVNC also has a collaboration with Mylan $MYL to develop a Botox biosimilar, although Allergan $AGN — which is in the process of being acquired by AbbVie $ABBV in a $63 billion mega-deal — has a contingency plan for its prize Botox franchise. Brent Saunder’s company has in-licensed a Botox follow-on called MT10109L — which is currently in late-stage development.