Sector News

David Apelian jumps ship from Achillion

December 18, 2017
Life sciences

David Apelian, M.D., Ph.D., has handed in his notice as EVP and chief medical officer at Achillion.

In a brief SEC filing, the biotech said he had “delivered his resignation […] effective December 28, 2017.”

The brief update said he was leaving to “pursue another professional opportunity,” though that was all she wrote on details. A retained search for a new CMO has begun, with help from Russell Reynolds Associates.

This comes three months after Janssen, the biotech unit of Johnson & Johnson, said it was ditching work with Achillion on a cocktail hep C program, citing a crowded market of innovative meds in this area, namely those from Gilead.

Achillion, with a market cap of around $400 million, was hit hard by the decision as the biotech was working with Janssen on its NS5A inhibitor, odalasvir, for this program in a potential $1 billion biobucks deal before the plug was pulled.

Some had seen Gilead or J&J as potential buyers of the company, but this has not come to fruition, and its shares have taken a hit since J&J’s decision to terminate its hep C deal.

Achillion is also now working on a midstage med, ACH-4471, in patients with untreated paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH).

By Ben Adams

Source: Fierce Biotech

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