Celgene Names Alles as CEO; Hugin to Be Executive Chairman

  • Jacqualyn Fouse to take over as chief operating officer
  • Drugmaker climbed to about $80 billion valuation under Hugin

Celgene Corp. promoted Chief Operating Officer Mark Alles to chief executive officer, with Bob Hugin remaining at the drugmaker as executive chairman after almost six years as CEO.

The changes are effective March 1, Celgene said Monday in a statement. Jacqualyn Fouse will replace Alles as COO.

Under Hugin, Celgene developed a strategy of pursuing more partnerships with biotech startups than any of its rivals, striking deals with upfront payments and fees for drugs that hit clinical and regulatory milestones. The deals helped Celgene become one of the world’s biggest drugmakers, with a market value of about $80 billion.

The shares fell 7.2 percent to $101.18 at 11:41 a.m. in New York trading after Celgene reported preliminary 2015 results. Earnings were about $4.71 a share, and sales rose about 21 percent from a year earlier, Celgene said. Analysts had estimated $4.80 a share in adjusted earnings.

The drugmaker last month settled a patent dispute with Natco Pharma Ltd. over Revlimid, sending Celgene shares higher. Under the agreement, Hyderabad, India-based Natco can begin selling the drug as a generic in the U.S. in 2022 with some restrictions on volume. Working to diversity its product line, Celgene has led large biotechnology companies in licensing deals for three years -- including 11 in 2015 -- spending on new approaches to autoimmune diseases and cancer.

Sales of Revlimid, which make up almost two-thirds of the company’s revenue, will climb to as much as $6.7 billion in 2016, Celgene said at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. That’s in line with analysts’ estimates. Revlimid is approved to treat cancers including multiple myeloma and types of lymphoma, and is being tested in combination with many other therapies.

Alles has been COO since 2014. Prior to that, he led Celgene’s hematology and oncology business, overseeing the introductions of Revlimid and Pomalyst. He has been at the company since 2004. A former U.S. Marine, he worked at Bayer AG, Centocor and Aventis before joining Celgene.

Alles said his agenda as the new CEO will be “to continue the track record of success" at Celgene. “It’s not about legacy building, it’s about continuity of purpose," he told investors at the health-care conference.

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