UCB to Promote Tellier to CEO as Test Results Awaited

UCB SA appointed Jean-Christophe Tellier as chief executive officer to succeed Roch Doliveux, putting him in charge of Belgium’s biggest drugmaker as the company prepares to add products.

Tellier, the 54-year-old head of UCB’s biopharmaceutical brands, will take over as CEO on Jan. 1, the Brussels-based company said in a statement today, three days after the shares rose to a record. Doliveux, 58, plans to spend more time on philanthropic activities and will be available for Tellier and UCB if needed, the drugmaker said.

Doliveux has spent the past decade shifting UCB’s focus away from chemicals and films. In addition to disposals of those businesses, he oversaw the integration of Celltech Group Ltd., which brought in the Cimzia rheumatoid arthritis treatment that analysts predict will become the company’s best-selling product this year, and the acquisition in 2006 of German drugmaker Schwarz Pharma that added neurological treatments.

UCB expects test results in the first half of 2015 on epratuzumab, for lupus, and in the first half of 2016 on romosozumab, an experimental treatment for post-menopausal osteoporosis.

“Whether the company does reach another level or not is going to be largely dependent on the success of romosozumab and epratuzumab in the pipeline,” Peter Welford, an analyst at Jefferies International Ltd. in London, said by phone.

Tellier, a French national and rheumatologist by training, joined UCB in 2011 after previous jobs at European drugmakers Ipsen SA and Novartis AG.

UCB fell 2.3 percent to 53.75 euros in Brussels. The stock closed at 55.74 euros on Feb. 17, the highest price since the shares began public trading in 1928.

Doliveux cut 17 percent of UCB’s workforce in 2008 as patents were about to expire on the company’s biggest-selling products. The Vimpat epilepsy treatment, Neupro drug for Parkinson’s disease and Cimzia will generate $2.6 billion in revenue next year, according to analyst estimates.

“As a manager, what more can you do?” said Jan De Kerpel, an analyst at KBC Securities in Brussels. “I see it as ‘mission accomplished.’”

(Corrects fourth paragraph of story published Feb. 20 to show trial results expected in 2015 and 2016.)
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