Sarepta announces Allergan veteran as next CEO

Sarepta has announced former Allergan president Doug Ingram will be its new CEO.

Ingram will be the company’s third CEO in less than three years, but his experience could help it maximise the success of its controversial Duchenne treatment Exondys 51.

Ingram will replace Edward Kaye, who announced in April that he plans to step down. Kaye had been appointed as interim chief executive in April 2015, but succeeded in steering Exondys 51 to FDA approval, despite a paucity of trial data supporting its efficacy.

Kaye took over when its former chief exec Christopher Garabedian resigned, his reportedly aggressive manner leading to clashes with the FDA and other Sarepta execs.

Ingram comes with a solid background, having been president of Allergan until it was acquired by Actavis in 2015. Prior to his election as president, Ingram was located in London as Allergan’s president Europe, Middle East, and Africa and before that ran various functions at Allergan, including legal affairs, regulatory affairs and pharmacovigilance, IT, and public relations, among others.

Most recently Ingram was as president and chief executive officer of Chase Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on new treatments for neurodegenerative disorders, which was acquired by Allergan.

Sarepta specialises in treatments for the rare muscle wasting disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and only this week announced the grand opening of a state-of-the-art research and manufacturing centre in Andover, Massachusetts.

By the end of the year, Sarepta said that it hopes to have up to seven investigational DMD treatments in the clinic.

Doug_Ingram

Doug Ingram

Sarepta’s Exondys 51 (eteplirsen) was approved by the FDA last year, despite expert regulatory advisers raising concerns about efficacy data.

With other companies such as PTC Therapeutics also striving to find more effective treatments to DMD, Ingram’s appointment is seen as key to keeping Sarepta to stay ahead of competitors.

Sarepta’s technology is based around RNA technology, which instructs the body’s protein-making machinery to “skip” the mutant section of DNA that causes the misfolded dystrophin protein that leads to DMD.

Chair of Sarepta’s board, Kathleen Behrens, said: “This is a transformational period in Sarepta Therapeutics’ evolution, and Doug is an exceptional executive with the vision, experience, and leadership skills required to realise the company’s full potential during its next phase.”

Analysts were also impressed by the appointment, citing Ingram’s commercial expertise, which they said was needed after Kaye’s leadership from a more scientific standpoint.

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