It was less than a year ago that Merck’s board scrapped a policy that CEOs must retire at the age of 65 in a move designed to keep Ken Frazier around longer. Now, the company is scouting replacements for the long-tenured helmsman, Bloomberg reports.
Merck is preparing for Frazier’s exit and has kicked off a search for potential replacements with a preference for an internal candidate, the news service says, citing sources familiar with the process. The drugmaker is also preparing for the exit of R&D head Roger Perlmutter, according to the report.
A Merck representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from FiercePharma.
Frazier joined Merck in 1992 and has served as CEO since 2011; he’s also the board’s chairman. Last year, the company’s board did away with a rule requiring CEOs to retire at the age of 65, allowing Frazier to stay on past his birthday in December.
In recent years, Frazier has presided over a period of growth fueled partly by the megablockbuster cancer drug Keytruda, sales of which passed $7 billion for 2018. But recently, some analysts and investors have questioned how Merck plans to grow beyond the successful med. Merck’s sales last year grew 5% to $42.3 billion.
One Bloomberg source listed the drugmaker’s chief commercial officer Frank Clyburn, its chief financial officer Robert Davis and its chief marketing officer Michael Nally as potential CEO replacements.
Wednesday’s report comes after the company parted ways with global human health head Adam Schechter, who led a three-decade career at the drugmaker. He’s set to become CEO of LabCorp.
The development also comes amid a series of executive moves in biopharma. Roche’s former pharma head Daniel O’Day recently jumped to lead Gilead Sciences, and Sanofi this month said its CEO Olivier Brandicourt is retiring. Replacing Brandicourt will be former Novartis executive Paul Hudson.
Meanwhile, Merck is hosting an investor day Thursday—its first in five years—and will talk up plans to bolster M&A activity, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The company has inked some bolt-on deals in Peloton and Tilos.
By Eric Sagonowsky
Source: Fierce Pharma
The companies will explore opportunities to apply Flagship’s innovative bioplatforms – an ecosystem that currently comprises 41 companies – to scientific challenges in disease areas within cardiometabolic and rare diseases and initiate research programmes based on these.
BD is expanding its long-running partnership with the blood collection company Babson Diagnostics. The two companies have been working together since 2019 on a device that can gather small volumes of blood from the capillaries in the fingertip without requiring any specialized training, and beginning with a focus on supporting primary care in retail settings.
Wednesday, Australian biotech CSL said (PDF) the regulatory review of its $11.7 billion acquisition of Switzerland’s Vifor Pharma will take “a few more months,” suggesting it won’t be able to close the transaction by June 2022 as previously expected.