In May, Biogen (Nasdaq:BIIB) CEO Michel Vounatsos announced his resignation following a precipitous decline in its share price after failing to achieve material sales of its Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm (aducanumab). Roughly half a year later, Biogen has installed the German-Canadian executive Christopher Viehbacher to lead the company.
Viehbacher will assume the role of president, CEO and board member starting on November 14.
The new CEO has a diverse background. In 2015, he co-founded the Cambridge, Massachusetts–based investment firm Gurnet Point Capital. The investment firm has supported Radius Health and the oncology company Naveris.
Viehbacher is also a board member of Crossover Health and Before Brands, and is the board chair at Vedanta Biosciences and PureTech Health.
He was the CEO of Sanofi (Nasdaq:SNY) from 2008 to 2014. In that time frame, the company’s share price grew considerably as Viehbacher worked to transform the French company into more of an international Big Pharma. The Sanofi board, however, fired him in 2014.
Before Sanofi, he worked at GlaxoSmithKline for two decades. Viehbacher began his career as a certified public accountant working for PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
Viehbacher was won the Légion d’Honneur from France.
After announcing the news, Biogen’s stock was up 3.02% in afternoon trading to $290.84.
In a statement, Biogen’s board chair Stelios Papadopoulos noted that Viehbacher has “a keen understanding of the complexities involved in running a multibillion-dollar global pharma business as well as a deep appreciation for the value of innovation.”
Papadopoulos attributed those traits as pivotal in helping “turn around Sanofi and leave behind a much better company compared to the one he inherited.”
Biogen has faced a string of challenges in recent years related to Aduhelm, which it believed would be a blockbuster drug.
In the third-quarter results of 2022, the company’s finances exceeded the expectations of Wall Street analysts, increasing its full-year guidance. The company generated $2.5 billion in that quarter, more than tripling its bottom line. Its top line, however, was down 10% compared with Q3 2021.
Filed Under: Neurological Disease