Teva names former Novartis exec as its new CEO in preparation of Kare Schultz’s retirement later this year
Who: Richard Francis, the former head of Novartis’ soon-to-be-sold generics business Sandoz, will take the helm of the Israeli pharma Jan. 1, upon the retirement of its current CEO Kare Schultz at the end of the year.
Background: Having clocked close to three decades in the industry, mostly in commercial, strategy and CEO positions, Francis’ wide-ranging experience will be vital in helping Teva navigate the challenges ahead. His current position as the head of two small biotechs, including gene therapy-focused Purespring Therapeutics and the cardiovascular company Forcefield Therapeutics, along with his experience steering Novartis’ generics division Sandoz from 2014 to 2019, will go a long way in helping him chart a new course for Teva. Lessons from his 13-year tenure at Biogen, where he helped launch the blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera, could also guide his work in the new role.
Why it matters: News of Francis’ appointment comes just weeks after Teva publicly announced it was searching for a new CEO. The company also faces a slew of legal and economic pressures, including a $4.35 billion national settlement for its role in the U.S. opioid epidemic and an ongoing patent lawsuit with GSK. The company recently won a similar infringement case against Eli Lilly over migraine drug Ajovy.
Francis is set to inherit Teva’s $19 billion of debt, which Schultz worked to decrease throughout his tenure by slashing the company’s workforce and closing facilities, among other provisions. During a third-quarter earnings call, Schultz said this is the “first time in many years” the company’s debt is below $20 billion. But inflationary pressures, compounded by energy and supply chain issues caused by the war in Ukraine, continue to dog the generics manufacturer and will likely remain a key challenge in the year to come.
On the bright side, Schultz said he’s “very optimistic” the FDA will accept a refiled application for Teva’s long-acting extended-release formulation of the schizophrenia drug risperidone.
“We did a complete quality check of all our clinical data, it looked good, and we refiled it with FDA, and hope to be able to launch this product sometime during the first half of next year,” at the beginning of Francis’ tenure, he said during the earnings call.
“This is the right time for a transition, and Francis’ proven track record in the industry makes him the right person to serve as Teva’s next CEO,” Schultz said in a release announcing the appointment.
Learn more: In a recent report, Teva warned rising energy costs across Europe this winter are likely to exacerbate supply chain shortages, like those seen early this year with Adderall, and may expedite the growing movement of generics manufacturing to Asia.
Eversana names 2017 PharmaVoice 100 honoree Sy Pretorius head of outsourced solutions operations
Who: Earlier this month, the commercial services company Eversana tapped former Parexel exec Sy Pretorius as its new COO and president of outsourced services.
Background: The role is a change for the trained physician, whose two decades-plus of experience in the life sciences has mostly focused on clinical research and drug discovery, rather than commercial endeavors. Prior to joining Eversana, Pretorius worked his way through the ranks at Parexel, ultimately serving as chief medical officer and president of clinical development, where he led all aspects of trials from patient engagement to data organization and logistics. The sector may be different, but those organizational skills are bound to come in handy at Eversana, where he is tasked with growing the company’s outsourced division, including compliance services and field deployment solutions, as well as its information technology and business transformation departments. Pretorius also teaches at Harvard Medical School, was named an honorary fellow of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine and was a 2017 PharmaVoice 100 honoree.
Why it matters: Eversana describes itself as “a pioneer of next-generation commercial services” that provides a single-point solution for all post-development processes from pricing to access, promotion, adherence and product delivery. Since its founding in 2018, the company has worked to make commercialization more efficient and cost-effective so that drug manufacturers could invest more in innovation.
In a statement, Jim Lang, Eversana’s CEO said, Pretorius’s “deep experiences and knowledge of clinical development, coupled with an unprecedented ability to lead large organizations, will shepherd “the company’s growth,” and added that he “continues to be on the leading edge of innovation — first within CROs and now as we lead commercialization service excellence."
Learn more: A 2022 PharmaVoice Red Jacket honoree, Lang further discussed in an exclusive interview how Eversana’s novel commercialization model is disrupting the status quo and why he believes it’s the company’s “obligation to get big.”