Change at the top at BioMarin as CEO Bienaimé steps down


After 18 years in charge, BioMarin Pharma’s chief executive and chairman, Jean-Jacques Bienaimé, has announced his retirement, with a high-powered replacement already lined up.

Genentech CEO Alexander Hardy (55) has been selected to replace Bienaimé when he steps down at the start of next month, taking on the dual roles of CEO and president and bringing 30 years of experience in the biopharma and healthcare sectors. He has been CEO at Genentech since 2019 and joined the Roche unit in 2005, having earlier held positions at Novartis, GSK and PathoGenesis.

Hardy will take the helm of BioMarin at a pivotal time for the company, shortly after it claimed FDA approval of Roctavian (valoctocogene roxaparvovec), the first gene therapy for haemophilia A to reach the market.

The $2.9 million one-shot therapy has been cleared in Europe since 2022, but so far, commercial sales have been minimal, pending the outcome of reimbursement negotiations with health systems. This week, a second commercial patient was treated with the therapy in Germany, but sales are expected to be below $10 million this year.

Hardy said he is “excited by the tremendous value potential of BioMarin’s portfolio,” highlighting Roctavian as well as achondroplasia therapy Voxzogo (vosoritide), which recently saw its label extended to include children of all ages with open growth plates in their bones.

Jean-Jacques Bienaimé
Jean-Jacques Bienaimé

During his tenure, Bienaimé (70) has steered BioMarin from a company with a single product and annual revenues of $26 million to a company with eight brands on the market, and revenues predicted to approach $3 billion in 2024.

“It has been a privilege leading BioMarin’s exceptionally talented team…as we’ve worked together to deliver medicines that have transformed care for people with genetic diseases, building BioMarin into the successful company it is today,” he said.

“Alexander brings an impressive track record of successfully commercialising new products for patients and prioritising operational efficiency,” he added, pointing to Hardy’s recent track record of more than 10 new medicine launches in oncology, neuroscience, haemophilia and ophthalmology.

Richard Meier, who is currently BioMarin’s lead independent director and will become chair of the company from 1st December – said that the handover resulted from a “multi-year succession planning process and a comprehensive search, seeking a leader who could build on the company’s success.”

He thanked Bienaimé for his “exceptional leadership over the past 18 years in growing BioMarin into a leading, diversified genetic disease company.”