Verastem taps board director and Eli Lilly vet Brian Stuglik to right the commercial boat
When Verastem parted ways with CEO Robert Forrester days ago, the board indicated that they would be looking for a successor with the commercial chops to brighten up the future of its PI3K drug duvelisib.
Turns out they had a candidate right among them.
Brian Stuglik — a director of two years — has now been installed at the helm. The Eli Lilly vet began taking a strategic oversight and advisory role to Verastem’s commercial group in May, the company added, in addition to chairing the compensation committee.
Throughout his time at the pharma giant Stuglik oversaw the transformation of the portfolio “from a single approved product to a portfolio of marketed or late-stage compounds across more than 10 cancer types” — a feat the Boston biotech clearly wants to replicate. His last role there was global vice president and chief marketing officer in oncology.
Lead director Michael Kauffman — who also finds himself managing a new commercial operation as CEO of Karyopharm — praised Stuglik’s track record of a “clear strategic vision, focused teams and excellent execution.”
Dan Paterson will resume his COO position after 10 days in charge, while also taking up new duties as president. CFO Rob Gagnon will double as the business development chief.
They form part of the executive team who Stuglik will lead in carving out a piece of the cancer market for Copiktra, which given accelerated approval last fall for third-line cases of follicular lymphoma. The company says it’s staying on track to gross about $10 million to $12 million in revenue from sales of the drug this year — not the kind of numbers likely to trigger enthusiasm in the booming oncology field.
Aside from the lead program, Verastem is also working on the inhibition of FAK, or focal adhesion kinase. Defactinib is being studied as an add-on to checkpoints in pancreatic cancer, NSCLC, ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.
Verastem $VSTM closed at $1.47 just before the news came out, a deep plunge from its $10 peak last summer and a further slide since Forrester departed. The market cap now sits at $105 million.