Change at the top at Recipharm as strategy shifts

Greg Behar

Nestlé Health Sciences’ chief executive Greg Behar

Swedish contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO) Recipharm has appointed former Nestlé Health Sciences’ chief executive Greg Behar as its new CEO, replacing Marc Funk who is moving to a board position at the company.

Behar announced in September he would be stepping down as CEO of the Nestle nutritional health unit at the end of this year, after nine years at the helm. Prior to that, he held a number of positions within the pharma and biotech industry, including at Novartis and Boehringer Ingelheim.

The change in leadership comes as Recipharm has announced that it will continue a revamp of the company with the spin-out next year of its inhaler business unit – Advanced Delivery Systems (ADS) – into a separate, independent company.

The decision stems from “a commitment to sustainability and a progressive shift towards eco-friendly propellants,” said Recipharm, and will “empower ADS to focus intently on achieving operational excellence and realising its strategic goals.”

In the last few months, Recipharm has already announced the closure of a manufacturing facility in Sheppey in the UK by the end of this year, as well as a site in Monts, France, that was used to manufacture Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine during the pandemic, but is due to shut down by the middle of 2025. The sites employ around 100 and 225 workers, respectively.

Last year, it closed the acquisitions of Arranta Bio, Vibalogics, and GenIbet to boost the capacity of its new biologics CDMO ReciBioPharma with new capacity for advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) like viral vectors, RNA, and microbiomes, as well as to increase its presence in the US market.

It also set up NewBiologix, a venture to develop a novel approach to cell line engineering, and Funk will remain on the board of that company, as well as continue to serve as CEO of MarBio, Recipharm’s vaccine sterile fill and finish joint venture with the Kingdom of Morocco.

Recipharm’s chairman, Richard Ridinger, said that Funk “achieved significant developments towards [the company’s] long-term strategy,” which is “an important achievement, given the headwinds felt by the CDMO industry.”

He also said Behar “brings with him an extensive background in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. His leadership acumen, [and] operational and transformation experience make him the ideal leader to steer Recipharm into its next chapter.”

Local press reports in France suggest that Recipharm will have to repay around €15 million in state aid provided to keep the Monts facility open and fund a production line for the Moderna vaccine. A buyer is being sought for the facility in an attempt to keep it open and minimise job losses.