After a 12-year stint at Sanofi, Bill Sibold is leaving Big Pharma to join the Pennsylvania-based biotech Madrigal Pharmaceuticals as CEO. Sibold, no stranger to ground-breaking launches, having brought the blockbuster Dupixent to market, will be coming onboard just ahead of what looks to be a pivotal moment for Madrigal. The biotech’s NASH treatment may be the first to achieve FDA approval and Sibold will be tasked with taking the biotech to the next level as it becomes a fully-fledged commercial organisation.
With a long career that includes stretches at Avanir, Biogen and most recently at Sanofi where he was executive vice president of specialty care and president of the pharma giant’s North American operations, Bill Sibold has a track record of significant product launches. About Dupixent, a first-in-class therapy for atopic dermatitis (AD) and asthma that has become an industry-leading therapy, Sibold said it was “a once-in-a-career type of product” in a 2020 PharmaBoardroom interview.
But as CEO of Madrigal, Sibold may once again get the chance to launch a major breakthrough. The company’s lead candidate, resmetirom, has been submitted to the FDA for accelerated approval in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a liver disease for which there are currently no approved therapies. NASH, the most severe form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition in which the liver accumulates excessive fat deposits, has a worldwide prevalence of 1.5-6.4 percent according to the NASH Education Program.
Resmetirom is among only four NASH treatments that have reached phase III development and is expected to be the first to hit the market. The FDA decision anticipated in March could represent a major turning point for Madrigal. “I am excited to join Madrigal at this pivotal moment. We have a unique opportunity to build on the company’s legacy of scientific innovation, strengthen our partnerships with the healthcare community, and most importantly deliver a first-in-class, transformational therapy for patients with NASH. It is a great honour to join a company that is taking on a significant unmet need in medicine today,” said Mr. Sibold.
Next Phase of Growth
Sibold also brings to Madrigal his vast experience in growing business operations, having turned specialty care into Sanofi’s largest global business unit. This skillset will be an essential asset when it comes to leading the biotech through the process of becoming a fully-fledged commercial operation. “Bill Sibold is an ideal leader to guide Madrigal into its next phase of growth. His extensive experience launching specialty medications in new therapeutic categories will be invaluable as Madrigal transitions from a clinical development-stage company to a fully integrated commercial organization,” said Julian Baker, Madrigal’s Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Concern for Unmet Needs
The former Sanofi exec has long expressed his concern for rare diseases and unmet medical needs. As Executive Vice President and Head of Sanofi Genzyme, Sibold marked the company’s Rare Humanitarian Program’s 30th anniversary in 2021 by outlining the persistent obstacles facing people with rare diseases. “While much has been accomplished over the past 30 years, today, 95 percent of known rare diseases still lack an approved treatment.”
Bringing innovative therapies forward to treat these diseases is a major motivator for Sibold. “We have advanced to a point where science can work on targeted solutions for exceptionally complicated and serious diseases, he said as VP of Sanofi Genzyme. “I believe there are so many exciting opportunities to work on breakthrough therapies and cutting-edge science.” As the new CEO of Madrigal Sibold may have an opportunity to bring another significant therapy to market and reach patients suffering from NASH and who currently do not have treatment options.
Sibold is taking over from Paul Friedman, who led Madrigal over the course of seven years. At Sanofi, Brian Ford, current head of specialty care in North America, will take on Sibold’s former position until the company finds a permanent replacement.